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Books & Brews #2

Make Me Fall

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Enemies make the worst neighbors, but the best lovers

After losing her job, her home, and her friends in her divorce, Nora Pitts is determined not to make the same mistakes when she starts over in the small town of Shadow Creek, Washington. No more slaving away in the lab at the expense of her social life, and definitely no more men. Ever. But making friends in her thirties is so much harder than she anticipated. And when it comes to her gorgeous yet obnoxious neighbor, it’s a whole lot easier to make enemies.

Eli Hardin doesn’t have a lot of sympathy for his uptight neighbor, until he overhears her so-called new friends making fun of her un-datable status. Suddenly he finds himself volunteering for a date with a woman who’s been leaving angry hate-notes in his mailbox, and in way over his head. Because all it takes is one disastrous date with Nora for Eli to fall hard.

But falling for Eli isn’t something Nora’s ready for—not when he’s her complete opposite, and especially not when he turns out to be the best friend she’s made in Shadow Creek. But as her attraction and her feelings for Eli grow hotter, resisting him might just lead to heartbreak anyway.

261 pages, Kindle Edition

First published September 24, 2018

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About the author

Sara Rider

7 books233 followers
Sara Rider writes contemporary romances full of heart and heat about strong heroines and the men who can’t resist them. Growing up, Sara dreamed of becoming a professional soccer player. When that dream was squashed by her extreme dislike of running, she decided to do the next best thing: write about professional soccer players. By day, Sara spends her time working in the field of research ethics and daydreams about plotlines and character arcs. She spends far too much time at public libraries and never leaves the house without a paperback or an e-reader stuffed into her purse.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 64 reviews
Profile Image for em.
367 reviews
November 5, 2018
Now this is what I call a sweet surprise.

Quick story folks. During my misadventures in the airport, or what I like to call "a tale of delays and missed connections", I was browsing through my goodreads feed when I saw someone's update about this book. As soon as I saw the cover of Make Me Fall, I just knew I had to the blurb, which led me to amazon to send a free sample of the book to my phone and well, the rest is history.

I seriously wish I remembered who this goodreads user was, because my oh my, did she made my day. (please comment if you are my savour to receive a box of online hugs)

I didn't expect to resonate so much with book.
A chemistry professor that specialises in materials science?! THAT IS LITERALLY MY JOB. Although I am not a professor, but I do work in academia so... not that literally but ANYWAY. Isn't it that refreshing tho?
But there's more. A love interest whose career is BREWING CRAFT BEER? Yo, that is literally what I do when I am not in the lab. Except maybe for the fact that I am the one drinking the craft beer and not brewing and well, I do spend more time reading that drinking so maybe I am not being accurate but hey.
This brings me to my next point. A bookclub gone wrong and the introduction to the, let's call it the second chance bookclub, which is called BOOKS AND BREWS. Seriously, this book was written for me. Or the author is my long lost twin. Hey Sara Rider, do you have brown eyes and a serious love for baklava and sweet romance, because in that case, I think we are the same person.

Anyway, you can see my enthusiasm (because I can't stop babbling). What I am trying to say is that, for some reason, I ended up loving this story. I could relate with the heroine in many many aspects and struggles of her life and I fell for the hero just as hard.

This book was quick, sweet, tender and the right amount of steamy.

And seriously, who doesn't like that?
Profile Image for Jess.
2,864 reviews5 followers
July 14, 2019
The hero being so incredibly respectful of the heroine's boundaries re: cleanliness, order, etc, was SO GREAT. This is a dude who brews beer and owns a brewpub, who steals her wine so that she'll have something she wants to drink and yeah. It was great.
Profile Image for Amanda.
578 reviews62 followers
October 1, 2018
4.5 stars, rounding up

Oh, this book was written for me, I swear. I loved it so much. I liked the first book in this series, too, but this might be my favorite book by this author yet.

I related to so many parts of this book. Nora and I are the same age. She's a total type A personality who loves everything CLEAN and neat and organized. I think she comes off a bit aloof at first, but that's because she's actually kinda shy and a bit awkward. She married young and pretty much lost all her friends in her divorce, except her two best friends who live in Toronto waaaay far away from Washington. She's starting over at a new job in a new town after the divorce--which was all the way on the east coast, and a real blow because she left Toronto and a tenured position at a university for her husband--and she just wants to make friends. She hopes a book club she finds advertised online (I think?) will be a place to make friendships only to find a bunch of catty women who never actually read the pretentious, boring books and only want to gossip in a mean-spirited way. Just want to note, although a few of the secondary characters are nasty--like the book club women you meet in the opening chapters--by no means is this book Female Protagonist vs. All Other Women. She eventually joins a romance book club and makes other friends and there are lots of depictions of healthy female friendships in this book. (Another thing I related to--finding friends at a romance book club!)

This book does start off a bit "enemies-to-lovers," at least from Nora's perspective. She thinks her neighbor, while hot, is an inconsiderate jerk who is always working on his home reno at all hours of the night. Eli, by contrast, thinks it's a friendly rivalry of sorts and it's not until too late that he realizes she actually thinks he's a dick. He overhears her book club friends making fun of her and how she is "frigid" and can't get a date, so he offers to take her out to prove them wrong. Nora doesn't have any desire to date him or enter a relationship. She goes along to humor him. There's an immediate physical attraction, but they also develop a friendship. He's the one who introduces her to the romance book club that his sister helps run, since it's held each month in his pub.

Eli is also dealing with the 10th anniversary of his mother's death and all of the grieving that entails as he and his sister plan a remembrance ceremony for her. I totally empathized with the roller coaster of emotions he has. He misses his mom and he's also honestly kind of angry about her death. Grief isn't always sadness... it's a whole mix of emotions. (Side note, the author is so lovely that she told me before I read the book about this storyline so that it wouldn't come a surprise to me. SHE IS SO NICE.)

Nora and Eli have so much chemistry and Eli falls for her so hard. I loooove a smitten hero. The issue is that Nora, recently divorced, doesn't want to enter into a new relationship since she just wants to focus on making friends and getting settled in her community after being there for 6 months. Her parents, total opposites, also recently separated after being married for over 30 years. So the conflict keeping them apart felt realistic and understandable to me, even though it's mostly just resistance from Nora. I appreciate that the author treated her desire to forms deep platonic relationships in her 30s as something worthwhile and equally as important as a romantic or sexual relationship. It's not that you can't have both--which Nora learns, of course--it's that sometimes you have to prioritize. I think Nora came around to it all in good time.

Such a lovely book. Highly recommend.
Profile Image for Blackjack.
424 reviews143 followers
December 31, 2018

I pretty much disliked this book and if I wasn't disciplined in my reading, I might have set it aside and moved on. But, it features a persnickity, type A, divorced college professor and being one myself, I wanted to read Nora's story. Nora is trying to start over in a small town after a depressing break up with her ex-husband. She is socially awkward though and so trying to build new friendships is challenging for her. Her neighbor, hunky Eli, ends up helping her by introducing her to his sister and his sister's romance reading club. Before Eli can assist Nora though, the two of them have to work through their prickly hostility, and this is how the book went off the rails for me from the start.

I have been reading a number of "slow burn" romances lately, and that may explain why it annoys me when a romance leaps from inexplicable dislike/hate to hot romance without doing the work to get us there, or even explain why the hostility exists at all. On the very first page of the book, we meet Nora and witness her writing a snarky note to her noisy neighbor to leave at his home. For some odd reason, Nora can't communicate verbally with her neighbor about the havoc Eli's home renovations are causing to her life. Instead, she finds mean notes a better option, which is weird given that she is an intelligent and educated woman, much less an adult. I suspect we're supposed to find this cute; I found it annoying. Also, for the first chapters of the book, Eli's spectacular ab muscles are introduced to readers as a stand-in for Eli, the actual person. He's shirtless for a number of initial scenes, including a small party Nora is hosting, and that annoyed me as well. Yes, Nora has a hunky neighbor and they apparently "hate" each other, despite a believable reason or plot development. Then Eli accepts a challenge to take prickly Nora on a date and finds himself almost immediately drawn to her, if not falling in love, even though she is mostly unfriendly and difficult to please.

We learn quickly in the book that Nora suffers from commitment phobia, which is the primary obstacle to a romance with Eli after the love/hate set up evaporates. My biggest complaint here though is that Nora's commitment phobia is attributed to too many things: she thinks she and Eli are opposites and incompatible (even though they clearly have much in common); her adult parents have split up and Nora worries that as their offspring, she too will be unsuccessful at love; and she's divorced, which clearly means she is unsuccessful with lifelong relationships. I would not have minded if the author could narrow the list and pick one clear obstacle rather than all of the above, but having said that, I find all of them to be pretty flimsy and trite. I'm especially annoyed by the adult child who believes there is a cause and effect relationship between one's parents separating and one's own ability to form a lasting love. Children may think that way, but do adults, really? Despite all the obstacles though, Nora and Eli hop into bed in the first quarter of the novel. And, halfway through the book, Eli declares his love for her. Then they break up over a completely avoidable misunderstanding when Eli overhears Nora make a negative comment that was not even about him at all.

So many developments in the book felt rushed and underdeveloped, as if the book was more of an outline than a finished product. I did not hate it, but I disliked it and wanted to get it out of the way quickly so that I could move on to a better book.

Profile Image for Sue.
947 reviews2 followers
August 8, 2018
Nora, a divorced chemistry professor, moves in next door to the co-owner of the Holy Grale brew pub, Eli. Reading the first chapter, you get the impression that holy cow that book is going to be wacky! While the first chapter is very neighbors/enemies-to-lovers trope-y, the rest of the book mostly moves past the trope--and this is not a complaint. Like Real Kind of Love, Rider's characters are well fleshed out people. The heroine, Nora, is very type A and I don't know if she is OCD but she is a pretty extreme germophobe--and I think Rider's treatment of her and her relationships is really excellent. I would definitely recommend this book to people who enjoyed the first in the series or as a stand-alone.

My thanks to the author for providing an ARC free of charge. My opinions are my own.
Profile Image for Isha Coleman.
7,004 reviews135 followers
September 24, 2018
Make Me Fall (Books & Brews, #2) by Sara Rider  
Nora Pitts may be dreaming with a broken heart, but when this beauty allows herself to let go of the heartbreak is when the sparks start to fly. Rider takes an empathetic look at love with a comedian's eye and a human touch. Make Me Fall speaks to that insecurity we all know is there, but try our best to ignore. Starting over is never an easy thing to do, but there at times when it's for the best. After a broken heart, Nora is learning how to be the best person she can be. A new town spells an awkward start that could be a perfect fit for her heart. A sassy presentation of a sweet romance that proves to be an irresistible find.
Profile Image for Elaine.
3,363 reviews103 followers
September 23, 2018
This is a delightful, fun and steamy contemporary romance that I thoroughly enjoyed escaping into. Nora Pitts is somewhat OCD in her need for cleanliness and order in all aspects of her life. Discovering her husband was unfaithful, she lost not only her job but her home and friends when they divorced. She moved to Shadow Creek, determined to focus on chemistry in her lab and to have nothing more to do with relationships and men. However, her next door neighbour is Eli Hardin and he's working hard on restoring his home - and to Nora he's a handsome and attractive but very noisy, inconsiderate nuisance. He had no sympathy for Nora until he heard the women in her book group making fun of her behind her back. That's when he comes to her rescue, volunteering to go on a date with her . . . . and one date leads to much more. However, even though their feelings grow she still determined not to be heartbroken again and he's never been in a serious relationship. Can they find their way to help heal each other and give their love a chance?

There are some scenarios in this story that had me grinning and laughing out loud, whilst others had me wanting to console the characters and give them a big hug. The story explores relationships with family members and with friends in a manner that makes it easy for the reader to empathise with. Nora is desperate to find friends in her new community but the ones she initially connected to were anything but supportive. Eli proves much better at helping her meet true friends and proves to be one of them himself. I liked how they were able to help each other, showing great understanding and caring despite their differences. This is the second story in the Books and Brews series and I enjoyed the opportunity to catch up on what has happened to some of the characters in that story but believe this would also work well as a stand alone for anyone who hasn't read 'Real Kind of Love'. Both are heartwarming and endearing stories that I have no hesitation in highly recommending.

I requested and was given a copy of this book which I have chosen to read. This is my honest review after doing so.
Profile Image for Mel González.
464 reviews64 followers
September 24, 2018
A lot of what Sara Rider did with this book was absolutely amazing. It was such an enjoyable and beautiful romance with characters that had a lot of layers that they had to let go in order to be what they wanted to be and to be completely happy. I really enjoyed the first book, but this one topped it. I felt like everything was more complex and interesting and the situations felt like they had more dimensions and I was super happy to see that. I went into this book thinking that it was going to be something and it surprised me being something completely different. When you begin the book, you think it's going to be rivals to lovers, because they're neighbors who hate each other. But then you realize that the real meat of the story is in their developing friendship, in seeing them accepting and caring about each other and then falling for each other. Normally, with friends to lovers you get friends that when the book starts they already know one another but here you get to see it grow from the beginning and it's wonderful.

Like it happened with Real Kind of Love, the characters in this book felt like real people. The descriptions of their feelings and their interests made me care about their happiness and that's what you want in a romance. Also, the fact that they were complete opposites was so refreshing because they united in things that could complement them but also disagreed a lot and at the end worked things through and grew as people because of it. Additionally, I loved seeing a divorced heroine in her 30s struggling to make friends in a new town since that's a very real thing that people go through since they usually don't have the setting of a school or university to make long lasting friends. Nora has extreme germophobia and I loved that Eli always respects her feelings and boundaries and never questions what she has to do in order to feel ok. I thought that was very thoughtful of the author.

I have to say that even though I liked a lot of things, I was still disappointed at the lack of representation. It was an entirely white, straight, cis, allo book without characters with marginalized identities and that never lets me like a book completely. There was a little LGBT+ rep coded and a lot of mental health coded but it was never talked about at all on text and I think this book would have been amazing if those things would have been included and talked about because Nora had a lot of reflections about her germophobia but it never went further than that, even when it got really bad. But that is a choice that the author made for her character. Even though those things affected my overall enjoyment, I loved the plot and the characters!
Profile Image for Krista.
181 reviews
April 25, 2019
This was a really sweet story that was low on the dramatics while still having enough tension to propel the story forward. This also might contain the first story epilogue I can get 100% behind.
Profile Image for Lena.
277 reviews
September 25, 2018
4 stars! A wonderful book from beginning to end.
I adored the simplicity of the story (I mean that in the best way, as in without unnecessary drama) and the reality of the conflict between the main characters and the struggles of making friends in a new town.
Both main characters are fully fleshed, multidimensional, with ups and downs and a lot of kindness and respect for each other in between.
I loved the idea of opposites attract and that neither of them has to change, that is more about accepting each other and finding common ground.
A 10/10 rec, for sure

more details under the cut for spoilers
Profile Image for Tracy.
684 reviews20 followers
September 23, 2018
Unique and fun, Make Me Fall is a great enemies to lovers romance. It is the second book of a series, but reads perfectly on its own.

Nora, recently divorced and new to town, ends up next door to Eli. She’s an independent woman and struggling to make friends. She was strong and determined, but flawed and relatable as well. She and Eli embark on a tentative friendship and sparks begin to fly between them.

Overall, I really enjoyed Make and Fall. Nora and Eli are relatable and easy to root for. It’s a slow burning story, that’s paced evenly and holds your attention. It’s low angst, but still can hit you right in the feels.

*review copy requested and reviewed on behalf of OMG Reads*
Profile Image for Ruthie Taylor.
3,545 reviews37 followers
September 27, 2018
~~I received a free copy of this book to read and review for Wicked Reads ~~

This is the second book in the series, and given how much I enjoyed the first, I was delighted to be given this one to review. And it is another winning read.

Once again the male lead is part of the Holy Grale brewery and pub team - this time Eli, the genius behind the microbrewery's popular brews. He may have a Masters in Chemistry, but his forte is getting the blend and taste just right. He has always been a happy go lucky type with women, but he has realised that his best friend and partner, Jake has something very special with Clem. Readers of the first book will be delighted at how we get to see how their relationship is developing.

Nora has already had a failed marriage, and having moved away from everyone she knows to make a clean start, she is however finding friendships hard to make. The most contact she has with anyone is the angry messages she sends her neighbour Eli ... perfect set up for a funny, sweet and sexy romance. Throw in some major insecurities, and issues of independence and control, and we get a really lovely story.

I love the discussions about beers, and the tour round the microbrewery was both incredibly romantic in a nerdy way, but also enlightening. To pull it round with a meeting or two in Clem's wonderful library upstairs just was the icing on the cake.

Very much looking forward to reading the next installment!

Wicked Reads Review Team
Profile Image for Erin Lewis.
4,228 reviews134 followers
September 26, 2018
5 Star Review of Make Me Fall (books & Brews #2) by Sara Rider

The second book in the series and just as enjoyable as the first book n the series. After her divorce Nora moves to Shadow Creek hoping to make a fresh start and take back her life.

Moving in next door to Eli, one of the owners of the Holy Grale Brew Pub she finds it hard to fit in and is frustrated by all the noise Eli makes whilst renovating .

I liked both Eli and Nora easy to relate to and the characters were strong and engaging. I found myself smiling throughout the story even though Nora and Eli started off as enemies and soon morphed into so much more.

Eli and Nora are totally opposites but as they say opposites do attract and these two certainly prove that as you read the book. When Eli introduces Nora to the Books & Brews Book Club he hopes that she will make some friends and feel more welcome.

This is most certainly a stand alone but as it is only book two I would recommend you also purchase book one as the quirkiness of Shadow Creek and it’s inhabitants will draw you in.

This book was so good that I really didn’t want to put it down. I loved this book from start to finish; it was a fabulous read, full of great moments that really brought a smile to my face.

I cannot wait for the next release in this series.
Profile Image for Mary.
1,048 reviews17 followers
September 24, 2018
I received a free copy of this book to read and review for Wicked Reads.

I enjoyed this book and can't wait for the next book in the Books and Brews series.

Nora and Eli meet under unusual circumstances. She moves into the rental house next door and before long her annoying neighbor, Eli, starts renovating his house seemingly from top to bottom and at all hours of the day and night.

Eli doesn't particularly care for his uptight neighbor, but when her supposed book club friends start talking badly about her, he takes it upon himself to ask her out on date. He doesn't know who's surprised more when Nora agrees.

Getting to know Nora and what prompted her move to Washington, Eli's guilt over his mother's death brings each of them closer together. Its Nora who still has reservations about being in a relationship and there's nothing that Eli can do to make Nora realize that with love you have to rist the pain.

~~Wicked Reads Review Team~~
Profile Image for LowBrowReader.
289 reviews9 followers
November 19, 2018
I liked that the heroines' first priority was settling in and making new friends in a new town, not plunging into a new romance / finding a man to complete her. I also liked that her job and career was a very important thing for her and was given a serious consideration. There are few things that piss me off in books more than assumptions that woman sacrificing her career and goals to the altar of a relationship is a given thing.
554 reviews
April 14, 2021
2.5 stars

I appreciated Nora and Eli's personalities. The story goes into some details about Nora and Eli's respective careers, which was interesting. Eli was a stellar guy from page one - respectful, not pushy, asked for consent, thoughtful, considerate, kind. Eli did the sweetest things for Nora. He anticipated her worries and offered his support. I could empathize with a lot of the things that Nora did and thought. Nora's overthinking and anxiety was relatable. However, I felt like she needed to be a lot more self-aware. I felt like there was not enough self-reflection even though part of the story is from her POV. Then I realized that there is "self-reflection", but it's so unselfaware and mostly telling (not showing) that it didn't add anything substantial (her flow of feelings/thoughts) to the story.

A problem I had with this story is that there was not enough communication before and after sex. Consent was explicit (Eli asked and Nora gave a definite Yes), but they had already begun doing things before they exchanged these lines. There was basically no communication after Nora and Eli had sex. Considering the first few times they had sex were when they're supposedly platonic friends, it was weird how after they slept together, it was like nothing happened. It wasn't even particularly awkward between the two. There needed to be conversations about what they did and what that meant for their friendship for their dynamics to be believable. They were good at talking about other things and getting to know one another, so the lack of communication after something so intimate felt strange. The first time that they barely addressed sex was after the second time and Eli said a few sentences: "What happened earlier doesn’t have to mean anything other than that. You didn’t promise me anything. It’s okay.” I'm glad that the two appeared to be on the same page regarding the lack of expectations for a relationship, but they really should've openly talked about it.

I was really engaged in the story until I hit the 40% mark when Nora thinks about how she's wary about entering a relationship in which she isn't sure she's compatible with the guy.
She’d watched her parents’ marriage dissolve around the same time her own had fallen apart. If anything, she ought to be grateful that a man as demanding and dedicated to his work as her dad and a woman who couldn’t hold an interest longer than the length of a single television commercial lasted for thirty-five years before calling it quits. Her mom had put her foot down and insisted her dad retire within twelve months so they could travel the world like she’d always wanted to. When that deadline came and went, she cheated on him and then she left. Now she was living on a boat somewhere on the West Coast of Canada, signing up for silent yoga retreats and communing with the orcas, while her dad spent so much time in his office, he was starting to fuse to his leather chair. Nora had promised herself she wouldn’t make the same mistake of falling for a guy she wasn’t compatible with.
A marriage falling part is not completely one person's fault, but it can be primarily one person's fault. Cheating is not okay, so the problem with her parents' marriage isn't compatibility but rather a difference in shared values (or in other words, the lack of shared important values). I didn't like the choice to add her mother cheating to the plot was a good idea because it underscores Nora's concern of compatibility. As mentioned earlier, this is no longer an issue about compatibility but about values. But I doubt that the author is going to make the lesson of the story about the importance of shared values because there has been no mention of values up until this point.

Up until now, I could see where she was coming from or at least empathize with her in that she doesn't want to be come invested and get her heart broken, when she should've seen all along that she was incompatible with whoever she's with. However, she keeps drawing conclusions from her parents' marriage that don't directly address how cheating is wrong and her mom was wrong to do that. Nora's interpretation of this situation is very different from mine and this is what made me initially think about DNFing this book.

The writing was easy to read, but it felt more like telling not showing. I think the story would've been more successful with fewer pages in a novella format. If it were shorter, I wouldn't have thought so much about DNFing this book because I would've been alright to spend the small amount of time reading it. I have higher expectations for the quality of the story from longer stories.

Ultimately, I started skimming at 60%. Nora's continuous insistence on the two being opposites got frustrating. Sure they didn't share the same likes and hobbies, but those were little things. She emphasized this unimportant things too much. Instead, she should've found their contrasting likes/dislikes amusing. They spent quite a lot of time together, got along well, and shared important values. They respected one another. Eli treated her incredibly well. I felt bad for Eli because Nora wasn't giving him a chance. Eli fought so hard for her, but she didn't.

Memorable Quotes:
Everything Eli had done for her since their first date—from the picnic under the stars to teaching her how to order beer without making a fool of herself—was a million times kinder and sweeter than anything Gavin ever did. (90)
The following is a good example of how understanding and empathetic Eli is. He's incredibly emotionally intelligent.
Even though she’d given her body to him twice now, she’d kept her heart and her mind firmly guarded. He understood why. She was focused on making friends, not finding a lover. (97)
Another example of Eli's emotional maturity. There needs to be more male love interests in romances that are emotionally available.
Nora had turned him completely upside down, and the weirdest part was he didn’t even hate it. He’d never felt this way about a woman before, but that didn’t mean he couldn’t recognize a good thing when it moved into the house next door. He just had to find a way to make her see that. (98-99)
He knew she wasn’t going to change something so fundamental about who she was, and he didn’t expect her to. He wanted her to feel comfortable in her own skin when she was around him. He wanted every quirk, every oddity, every wish—just not the shame and embarrassment that accompanied it. (100)
She didn’t have the words for what she felt. It was more than love. It was life-shattering, earth-shaking, blinding love. The kind where she could lose herself completely to him. The kind that could crush her identity and independence into dust. The kind that was too strong to deny any longer. (210-211)
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for Lisa Mandina.
1,869 reviews418 followers
September 28, 2018
I enjoyed this romance with its quirky female lead, and the annoying guy next door. There were a lot of things about Nora that I totally connected with. Not feeling comfortable going to a book group with people she didn't already know. Now, I'm not quite the neat freak she is, but I do have things around my house that bother me. Like, I want the light switches to all be facing the same way if they're all off. Stupid little things like that. I also have probably put up with friends that might not have been that nice to me in the past, just so I'd have someone to do things with. Unfortunately I never had the hot guy to save me from those type of people like Nora did.
There were also great side characters in the book, which makes sense since this is part of a series. Eli's family and friends were the type of friends and family that I like having around. The type I could totally see myself spending time with, and I know the ones I already have like them. The fact that they took Nora into their own book group, where they were reading a more popular book, instead of the more literary books her original book club pretended to read, and even when she and Eli were on the outs, they kept her around, that said a lot for them.
There were the usual bits that annoyed me between the two of them pushing each other away for stupid reasons, or mishearing things, but since that is part of the drama in almost all romances it seems, I feel they fit in fine. This was a fun, sweet little read, and I'll be hoping to go back when I have time and read the first book, to get Clem and Jake's full story.
Profile Image for Inah (Fueled By Chapters).
478 reviews115 followers
March 26, 2019

STEM Characters? Check.

Hot neighbor? Check.

Book clubs? Check.

Is this book written for me? Double Check!

I actually went into this book almost knowing nothing except the neighbor part. Enemies to lovers wasn’t even my favorite trope, but this book got me hooked from the start, to think that I read this book in one sitting. It was truly delightful and it somehow resonates with me. I’m not a chemistry major per se, but it was related to it since I majored in food science. And yes, I fell in love with all the beer brewing and crafting stuff, thank you very much!

I loved how Nora and Eli’s relationship clicked from the start. Sure, it started out as a friendly date to prove Nora’s so-called “friends” that she’s indeed date-able, but the chemistry between them was undeniable. Nora and Eli, while not completely polar opposites, have contrasting personalities yet they complement each other perfectly.

What really stood out about this one was that each character was fleshed out and well-developed. Nora and Eli each had their own story arc, including of course the one where they get together, but seeing their characters’ journey along the way was a delight. Especially when it came to Nora forming relationships with other people, like Eli’s sister.

I truly adored this book and I think Sara Rider writes stories straight from the heart. I felt all the warm fuzzy feelings while reading this book, and I’m looking forward to reading more from her and can’t wait to read the first one from this series!
Profile Image for Jenica.
1,141 reviews44 followers
July 12, 2019
I stayed up too late reading this book, but #noregrets. I LOVE Eli and think he’s such a great hero, in large part because I feel like he loves the parts of Nora that IRL people criticize women for. She’s extremely organized and neurotic and likes things in a particular way. IRL this relationship that starts with the two hating one another wouldn’t turn into what it does, probably. But like, I really loved spending my time in a world where Eli would defend Nora against her really awful friends AND facilitate her making new ones. On her own. I just… This book meant a lot to me as someone who lives in a town where it is difficult to make friends and your people live HOURS away from you. I did feel like this book had weird timing sometimes but I enjoyed it all the same.

Profile Image for Christine.
845 reviews15 followers
August 27, 2018
I find it beautiful when a guy falls for a woman while fully accepting all her quirks, tics, flaws, and everything that makes her so uniquely, imperfectly herself. I loved Ethan for this, and then when he gave Nora the one thing she really needed - friendship with other people; I positively swooned. Ethan recognizes that Nora has very distinct opinions, habits, and needs and he's down with all of them.
He laughed. "You're a huge nerd!"

"Am not!"

"It's not an insult. I think it's sexy as hell."
After a very rough start as squabbling neighbors and then an awkward forced date, Nora and Ethan at first have nothing in common except serious sexual chemistry. But Ethan's patience as he slowly courts the prickly, tense Nora with his friendship and then the friendship of his sister's book club members was really lovely. And I loved that this romance novel totally championed romance novels:
She crossed her arms defiantly. "You have a problem with the fact I'm reading a romance novel?"

"No. I have a problem with the fact you've been in the world's shittiest book club all this time when you could be in the best one. My sister started a Books and Brews club at the Holy Grale, and this just happens to be the book they're reading this month."
And then the fun begins. I loved Ethan's pub, the Holy Grale and its themed lager names, and Ethan's sister's friends were such great people that I hope they all get their own books (Clem is the heroine from book 1).

Ethan, at first, is more aware of his feelings for Nora, but he senses what she really needs is to ground herself with good friends. That he puts aside his growing feelings to help her find these friends is beautiful to see:
Even though she'd given her body to him twice now, she'd kept her heart and her mind firmly guarded. He understood why. She was focused on making friends, not finding a lover.
And even after that, Ethan does everything he can to make Nora see how much he wants her to be a part of his life.
Nora had already pulled plates out of his cupboard and was holding them up to the light, inspecting for dirt. With anyone else, he might have been insulted, but he wasn't bothered. It meant she was making herself comfortable in his home. Getting used to him. He knew she wasn't going to change something so fundamental about who she was, and he didn't expect her to. He wanted her to feel comfortable in her own skin when she was around him. He wanted every quirk, every oddity, every wish - just not the shame and embarrassment that accompanied it.

I discovered the author last year with the happy discovery of Keeping Score, a kickass romance about a Chinese-Canadian female soccer player and the team's physiotherapist. Although I was on the hunt for romances with Asian characters, I quickly detoured and glommed the entire Perfect Play series. The author created gorgeously strong, likable, determined female characters whose personal and professional struggles felt intensely real. And after meeting Nora, I'm looking forward to more from the Books & Brews crew.

4.5 stars

Note: I voluntarily read and reviewed this eARC generously provided by the author.
Profile Image for RoloPoloBookBlog.
1,102 reviews30 followers
October 19, 2018
Make Me Fall by Sara Rider
Book #2: Books and Brews Series
Source: NetGalley
My Rating: 4½/5 stars

Eli Hardin delights in pissing off his neighbor, Nora! If he can turn the music up a little louder, he does; if he can use power tools a bit later into the night, he does; if he can disrupt her monthly book club meeting by mowing the lawn, he does. With every infraction, Eli inevitably receives a note in his mailbox asking him, quite politely to stop being such a jerk. Eli has no intention of stopping his juvenile behavior until the night the book club b*tch*s go too far. When Nora slips into her house from the back porch where the group is gathered, Eli overhears the “ladies” trash talking Nora. Without hesitation, Eli steps up to put the women in the place, defend Nora, and secure a date with her.

Nora Pitts isn’t the girl the guys clamor after, especially not guys who look like Eli Hardin. She’s quite prim and proper, likes her world ordered and organized, despises dirt and messes of any kind, and hates beer. No, Nora Pitts isn’t the girl the guys stumble over themselves to get to and she is keenly aware of this so when Eli Hardin asks her out, she goes into the date knowing they will not be at all compatible. In fact, Nora makes it verbally clear from the very beginning, she isn’t expecting anything to come from she and Eli’s date so there shouldn’t be any pressure to impress one another. Challenge accepted!

Eli finds Nora and all her quirks to be utterly delightful. In fact, after just one date, Eli has decided he quite likes Nora and wants to spend more time with her. Trouble is, Nora isn’t nearly as receptive, and it takes some effort on Eli’s part to work his way into Nora’s life. For Nora, Eli isn’t at all what she expected. Behind the juvenile stunts is a funny, intelligent man who quite literally understands the world she lives in. With similar chemistry degrees, Eli understands Nora’s nerdy, work life and accepts her quirks without judgement or hesitation. Even more surprising, Eli seems to be attracted to Nora and that is something she just can’t wrap her head around. Being accepted for who she is isn’t something has a lot of in her life which makes Eli an oddity.

The Bottom Line: Hell yes!! The Holy Grale brewpub got even better in round two and I loved every minute. In fact, I read this book in a single sitting and regret nothing. Nora and Eli are completely wonderful characters who make no sense in theory, but complete sense in practice. Eli’s laid back accepting nature is exactly what the more rigid Nora needs to fill in the gaps in her world, and Nora brings a bit of order and organization to Eli’s otherwise chaotic existence. If there was ever to be a couple more perfectly suited to another, I don’t know who they would be. My favorite part of this book had to be, hands down the way Eli so completely accepted Nora and her quirks. Not only does he accept her, but he finds ways to make her life a bit easier and less stressful. Right now, I can only see one more book coming in this series (Julia’s story), but I sincerely hope the author finds a way to keep this series going as I am loving it so much.
Profile Image for lisa.
2,071 reviews300 followers
September 27, 2018
I've been excited to read Make Me Fall ever since I finished Real Kind of Love and read the excerpt. This time it's Jake's best friend Eli who gets his HEA, and the woman he chose is his neighbour who he has been at odds with for months.

Nora is a chemistry professor who just moved into town following her divorce. She has trouble making connections in her new place; the only 'friends' she's acquired so far are the women from a book club she joined, who are not the nicest people in the world. She's also a bit tightly wound, most of it because she's a germaphobe. Other than the failure of a book club, adjusting to new work environment and the lack of resource for her research, she really has nothing else going on other than the continuing feud with her annoying hot neighbour. It took me a while to warm up to Nora because she was a bit rigid, but I love seeing her grow.

It's not exactly hate to love in this story; it's more that Eli has been a source of aggravation for Nora, and he loves aggravating her even more. I really enjoyed their little fights. I also found it hilarious that Nora didn't even know her annoying neighbour's name until after their first 'date'. I love the friendship that developed after they actually got to know each other better, and how Eli helped Nora in making new friends by connecting her to his sister's book club people. Eli and Nora's easy relationship is also one of my favourite things about this book. They did a lot of domestic things together that made my heart swoon.

The only thing I didn't really like is the conflict of the story. Eli and Nora are not without their issues; he failure of her parents' marriage somewhat affected Nora's efforts of building relationships, and Eli still dealt with a lot of self-loathing over his relationship with his late mother. Objectively I understood why Eli acted the way he did when he overheard Nora's comment--it triggered a lot of things for him--but I still thought he behaved like an entitled jerk when he refused to even let Nora explain herself, and I was a bit disappointed with him.

Overall, Real Kind of Love remained my favourite of the two (did I mention that Jake built Clem a library at his bar?????? TALK ABOUT LOVE) but I still really enjoyed Make Me Fall. Looking forward to read more of Sara Rider! Maybe it's time for me to check out her backlist.

E-ARC is received in exchange for an honest review.
Profile Image for Brenda.
2,526 reviews22 followers
September 20, 2018

After losing her job, her home, and her friends in her divorce, Nora Pitts is determined not to make the same mistakes when she starts over in the small town of Shadow Creek, Washington. No more toiling away in the lab at the expense of her social life, and definitely no more men. Ever. But making friends in her thirties is so much harder than she anticipated. And when it comes to her gorgeous yet obnoxious neighbor, it’s a whole lot easier to make enemies.

Eli Hardin doesn’t have a lot of sympathy for his uptight neighbor, until he overhears her so-called new friends making fun of her un-datable status. Suddenly he finds himself volunteering for a date with a woman who’s been leaving angry hate-notes in his mailbox, and in way over his head. Because all it takes is one disastrous date with Nora for Eli to fall hard.

But falling for Eli isn’t something Nora’s ready for—not when he’s her complete opposite, and especially not when he turns out to be the best friend she’s made in Shadow Creek. But as her attraction and her feelings for Eli grow hotter, resisting him might just lead to heartbreak anyway.

My Thoughts:

Being more of a Historical Romance fan I don't read many contemporary titles. That being said it is fun to sometimes branch out especially with a comical title like this one.

This simply written story with a distinct lack of the over dramatic is a good one. Some distinctly well written comical moments make the story flow and there is just enough angst between our hero and heroine to make it an easily read page turner.

Our heroine finds herself in a new home with no friends and being laughed at behind her back and sometimes to her face. She, frankly needs a true friend.

Our hero finds his new neighbor to be uptight and stuffy, but when she needs a date to fend off the neigh sayers he comes to her rescue.

The more time these two spend together the more they find they have in common.

Will this unusual beginning lead to something more?

Read this comical and lovely story to find out for yourself.

I gave this sexy and sometimes comical read 4.25 of 5.0 stars for storyline, characterization and readability.

I received a complimentary digital ARC of this book to read. This in no way affected my opinion of this book which I read and reviewed voluntarily.
Profile Image for Jennifer.
748 reviews12 followers
September 24, 2018
This romance is about Nora who is recently divorced and moved to Shadow Creek for a position as a Chemistry Professor at the local college. Nora just so happens to live next door to the sexy and talented brew master, Eli Hardin, who co-owns The Holy Grale with his sister and his best friend Jake. Where Nora is organized, meticulous, and a clean freak Eli is laid back, relaxed and isn’t scared by a little mess. In a nutshell, it was hate at first sight. But when Eli overhears Nora’s fellow book club members bad mouthing her one evening about not being able to get a date, Eli decides to swoop in and save the day, having no idea how everything would change.

I was so excited to read Make Me Fall because I fell in love with the first in the series, Real Kind of Love (although you don’t have to read that one to enjoy this). I did enjoy this one quite a bit, but not sure if I loved it as much as the first one. But anyway, I can say without a doubt that I was crazy about Eli. I adored his character from beginning to end, but it took me a while to really connect with Nora. This woman was borderline OCD about cleanliness and order which I just am not. Whether it was stressing over people walking into her home wearing shoes or the arrangement of cookies on a plate, Nora stressed about everything. I’m certainly not judging the neat freaks out there because Lord knows there are times I wish I were more like that, but it made it a challenge to invest in her character and concern myself with her outcome.

With that being said, I continue to applaud Sara Rider’s quirky and unique female lead characters. Just like Clem from the first book, Nora was not your typical beautiful, perfect, normal female lead – which is so refreshing! She struggled in social situations, was clueless about being friendly and making friends, and honestly just stressed out about almost everything. Yet there was also something about her that appealed to Eli’s heart and made this an engaging and funny romance with a very happy ending.

Sara Rider is a wonderful writer that creates stories that are heart-warming, romantic, funny, and most importantly – different than everything else out there. I highly recommend this novel, this author, and the series.

*Thanks to the author and Barclay Publicity for providing this ARC in exchange for my honest opinion.
Profile Image for MaggieReadsRom.
957 reviews115 followers
September 26, 2018
4,5 stars
I really, really liked this one! It took me on a rollercoaster of many feelings: from laughter to tearing up. Another great one from Sara Rider!

Nora Pitts is a chemistry professor and a list maker (YAY!). She has trouble making friends, a cheating ex-husband who said she can’t make it on her own and she hates confrontations. She’s a gemaphobe, perfectionist and caring. She feels responsible for the people she loves and the blow dealt to her by her ex runs deep. Her own failed marriage and that of her parents makes her very wary of men whomaee her opposite. Like Eli.

Eli Hardin has Master’s in chemistry and is the brewmaster and co-owner of a brewpub, Holy Grale.
He’s impulsive, sweet and funny and doesn’t try to change Nora but accepts her the way she is and her quirks. He has his own baggage he carries around about his failures and guilt about the death of his mom 10 years earlier but it never takes away from him being caring and supportive for the ones he loves.

I loved Eli in book 1 and was thrilled when I found out the second book was goig to be his story. But I connected a lot with Nora in this book 2.
They go from annoying neighbors to friends to ONS, to lovers. Nora fights it harder than Eli but the chemistry (hehehe) and mutual attraction, despite them being polar opposites, is there from the beginning.

The secondary cast shines as bright as the main couple in the Sara Rider books I’ve read so far. She does the family dynamics extremely well and provides her main characters with depth and development throughout the family and friends. I loved seeing Julia, Clem, Jake and Clem’s sisters again but loved the new additions (Nora’s friends and parents) and what they brought to the book, too.
As to be expected I didn’t like the ladies from Nora’s Friday night bookclub and I was very happy when Nora told them what she really thought of them and ditched them.

I’m looking forward to Sara Rider’s next book, hoping it will be Julia’s.
Profile Image for Lilly.
373 reviews18 followers
October 5, 2018
Ok, let me tell you two important things about this book: it’s funny and it’s amazing. A summary of this review: 5 stars. Now you have more time to go and buy it, but feel free to spend another 5 minutes going through my reasons.

As I mentioned, this was such a beautiful story! Every page made me laugh, one more than the other. I loved the main characters and I must admit I find myself in Nora a little, as I am weird in my own way. It all starts with Eli trying to teach Nora’s so called friends and book club partners a lesson by going out with her. Little did they expect to feel comfortable with each other. Now, because they both have their own… quirks, this relationship may seem not ok. But chemistry plays an important role. I mean, real chemistry and the other kind as well.

Eli is a gentleman. He is kind, he is strong and smart and so funny! He has his own things to deal with, no room for romance at all. Even if his mind is anywhere but into a relationship, he finds himself very attracted to his neighbor. Nora is determined to turn her career around and her life as well. Forced to start over in a new town, she wants to be accepted and to feel like home again. Correction: she wants to be accepted by anyone but her loud neighbor, with ugly taste in music and no respect for the quiet hours. But together, they are so great! I cannot even stop saying that!

The writing was beyond any expectation. It was delicious, if I can characterize it like that. I enjoyed every page and this kept me reading along nonstop. I have so many quotes marked and so many paragraphs that made me laugh.

All in all, it has been a real pleasure reading “Make Me Fall”. I loved it so so much and I am so happy I have another favorite author! I cannot wait to read more of her books! Please try it and you will not be disappointed
Profile Image for Danielle.
396 reviews65 followers
August 20, 2018
3.5 stars

Make Me Fall ended up compelling and immensely readable, but we had a bit of a struggle to get there. I stopped the book twice in the first 18 pages for flat, one dimensional villains and an absolutely cringe-worthy scene between the shirtless, sweaty hero and the uptight, repressed heroine who can’t take her eyes off him, even though he’s being a rude POS. Despite a rough first chapter though, I felt like both Nora and Eli got a good rounding out and I came to really care for them both. The villainous mean girls remained tissue paper thin, however.

I will also point out that this is one of the least diverse books I’ve read in years. There are no characters of color, not in the book clubs, not even in a crowd scene. And part of the book is set in Toronto, a city with a 50% visible minority population. No LGBT rep. Lorenzo, a member of Books & Brews is gay coded but not stated. Eli does make a throw away comment that he’s “open-minded about [his] sexuality” but nothing more comes of it. Nora felt like she might have been on the spectrum or struggling with mental health but, again, nothing textual. And tbh, I’m removing a star for it. It’s not good enough anymore to deploy these coy hints. It’s 2018, our books look like the real world now.

Despite that, I really liked the plot. It’s been years since I finished a novel in a night but I was completely hooked. I even cried. It’s why I’m being hard on therough parts, because I saw there was more to this book than an ackward bit of dialogue between Eli and the mean girls, but I almost didn’t get there.
Profile Image for Jackie Wright.
4,315 reviews82 followers
September 24, 2018
This is book 2 in the Books & Brews Series and just like book 1 it had me smiling and feeling good which for me is a sign of a great read.
Nora has moved to the small town of Shadow Creek in the hope of making a fresh start after her divorce but she is finding it hard to settle in and the residents don’t seem to like her quirky nature and to make matters worse her gorgeous neighbour seems to be renovating his apartment at all hours of the day and night. Nora joins a book club to make new friends but the only women she seems to meet are out to take advantage of her and when her neighbor Eli overhears them putting her down he steps in and tells them where to go the problem now is Nora sees him chasing the only friends she has away. Eli decides it’s time to get Nora out and about so when he sees she is reading a romance novel he decides its time she is introduced to the Books & Brews book club which his sister is part of in the hope that this will at least will get off his back..........
Enemies make the worst neighbours, but the best lovers ....
Two people that at the start seem very different but as the story unfolds you realise just how much they have in common,this book is a romance but it’s also a story about forming friendships and learning to trust again it has great characters and you will laugh and cry alongside the owners and their partners at the Holy Grale pub which Eli is a part owner in. This book can be read as a stand-alone but I’m sure after reading this you will want to learn more about the residents of Shadow Creek. Looking forward to the next instalment in this great series.
Profile Image for Sandy.
285 reviews10 followers
September 26, 2018
**4.00 BLUSHES**
Nora Pitts is a chemistry professor with a love for research. After finding out her husband (also her colleague) was cheating she leaves everything behind, including her friends, her work and her dream job.

The divorce has left her heart in tatters and made her very cautious.  No way is she even going to glance in the direction of her super annoying and inconsiderate but very hot neighbor.  

Eli Hardin is co-owner of a popular local restaurant/brew house.  He's carrying around a boat load of guilt and pain. Last thing he needs is his uptight new neighbor leaving hate-notes in his mailbox. 

Nora tries to make friends by joining a book club. Except they turn out to be a bunch of mean girls. When Eli hears them say "who'd want to date her?!" - he volunteers. That's when the fun starts!

Nora and Eli are very different on the surface. Once you start getting to know them - you realize that they have more in common than they realized.

Though I admit that Nora with her "we're just friends" but I can't keep my hands off you was getting on my nerves. Girl could not get out of her own way. Eli was thoughtful and open. Even considerate of her pronounced OCD tendencies. Funny thing is they were friends. Nora feared losing that friendship without realizing she had already lost her heart.

Sara Rider gives us a heartwarming read with a few chuckles, a little angst and some hot sexy love to top it off like a cherry on a yummy ice cream sundae.
Profile Image for Jennifer Pierson.
11.2k reviews145 followers
September 27, 2018
Sara Rider is a newer to me author, as this is only the second book that I've read by her, but I'm completely & 100% addicted to her talented writing style, especially with the Books & Brew series. Nora moves to Shadow Creek, Washington, after her life fell apart in Boston when her husband at the time cheated on her. Her type A/OCD self makes me look like a slob, and yet, I couldn't help but love her in all of her uptight glory. She's not a big fan of relationships, nor is she fan of her new neighbor, Eli, who keeps her up all hours with all of his noise, and what she believes is crappy taste in music. This leads to them going on a date when he overhears the ladies of her book club talking smack about her, which takes them on a new journey. Yeah, she keeps trying to run him off by putting him in the friend zone, but their chemistry is off the charts, which tends to explode into super HOT sexy times. He also helps her loosen up, which provides hilarious moments that kept me laughing hard. Eli also helps her find some new friends, who accept her as she is, so the cast of secondaries is amazing, and they definitely add more to the story. And through all of the sweet with a side of spicy antics, there comes a twist that I didn't see coming, which needed an f-bomb to drop. So this is a amazing story in this series, and I CANNOT WAIT to read more! HIGHLY HIGHLY HIGHLY RECOMMEND!
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