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New Milton #1.5

Love Around the Corner

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"Gorgeously romantic and utterly charming, Love Around the Corner is the perfect way to while away a couple of hours on a winter afternoon" -- All About Romance

Real life enemies, online lovers. Two lonely men, destined for each other—if only they knew it.

Alfie Carter grew up in New Milton, caring for his sick father and keeping their auto repair shop on its feet. He’s touchy about his poor education and doesn’t take kindly to snide remarks from the town’s prickly bookstore owner—no matter how cute he looks in his skinny jeans. Left to run the family business alone, Alfie spends his lonely evenings indulging his secret passion for classic fiction and chatting online with witty, romantic ‘LLB’ as they fall in love over literature.

Leo Novak’s new life as owner of Bayside Books is floundering. And he could do without the town’s gorgeous, moody mechanic holding a grudge against him after an unfortunate—and totally not his fault— encounter last Christmas. Still reeling from a bad breakup and struggling to make friends in New Milton, Leo seeks comfort in his blossoming online romance with thoughtful, bookish ‘Camaro89’.

But as the holidays approach, ‘LLB’ and ‘Camaro89’ are planning to meet, and realities are about to collide…

This novella is approximately 39,000 words and comes with a HEA guaranteed.

117 pages, Kindle Edition

First published November 29, 2018

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About the author

Sally Malcolm

34 books250 followers
Sally Malcolm was bitten by the m/m romance bug in 2016 and hasn’t looked back. It’s fair to say she’s obsessed with the genre. She has four contemporary m/m romances out, set in the fictional Long Island seaside town of New Milton.

She's also the author of eight Stargate novels and novellas, including the hit "Apocalypse" trilogy. She has penned four Stargate audio dramas for Big Finish Productions, including Stargate SG-1: "An Eye for an Eye" starring Michael Shanks, Claudia Black, and Cliff Simon.

Sally lives in South West London.

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5 stars
195 (23%)
4 stars
385 (46%)
3 stars
182 (21%)
2 stars
56 (6%)
1 star
12 (1%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 232 reviews
December 8, 2018

I love this story most ardently.

Even though the plot hinges on a Big Secret one MC keeps from the other, a trope I typically despise, I understood Leo's dilemma.

Leo and Alfie get off on the wrong foot and harbor ill will toward one another for the better part of a year. They're both hurt and resentful.

When Leo figures out there's more to Alfie than his misplaced apostrophes, he's paralyzed with fear and indecision. He never expected Alfie, a simple mechanic, to be the man of his dreams.

Alfie, who thinks he's been played a fool, lets his wounded pride get the best of him. And I don't blame him. Torn between happiness and shame, Leo waits too long, and there's nothing worse than a secret untold revealed by accident.

I adored the dual POV, the intimate sexy times, and the HEA worthy of an Austen novel. There's even a dog!

Sally Malcolm is a phenomenal writer and a true lover of literature. I am gaga over this New Milton world she's created! This story is a standalone, but I highly recommend Malcolm's other novels set in the same town.

This book has it all: opposites attract, true enemies-to-lovers, holiday cheer, passion, tears, forgiveness, and a literature scavenger hunt that brought me to my knees. No joke. I completely geeked out over Leo's apology to Alfie. So fucking romantic, I can't even.

Love Around the Corner isn't just a tender romance; it's an ode to books and the hope within that keeps us alive.
Profile Image for Judith.
724 reviews2,598 followers
November 29, 2018


One moody,sexy mechanic


One sassy,nerdy bookstore owner

Real Life Enemies,

Online Lovers,

You won't want to miss this delightful Christmas novella set in the charming sea side town of New Milton that Sally Malcolm has created.

Alfie and Leo started talking online over their love of classic books.They're soul mates,right? What could possibly go wrong when they eventually meet in person??

Turns out,quite a lot....

Living in a small town they do their best to avoid each other after a disastrous encounter the previous Christmas.They've come to their own conclusions about each other.Alfie is sick and tired of the sarcastic comments thrown his way from the sassy bookstore owner,Leo.(of course I loved Leo...skin tight jeans and sass always work for me) And Alfie might be gorgeous and moody but Leo isn't about to forget 'that' encounter in a hurry.

Sally Malcolm is fast becoming one of my favourite MM romance Authors.She always gets the chemistry just right between her characters.

I loved the inclusion of some quotes from classic books( I even bought one,I was so interested).

Recommended read.

Available on KU.

Review copy.
Profile Image for Meags.
2,086 reviews361 followers
March 10, 2021
4.5 Stars

This was a gorgeous little gem of a story.

Leo and Alfie are local enemies who meet online anonymously as Camaro89 and LLB. In cyberspace they become the closest of close, talking all things literature and slowly falling in love along the way.

As Christmas approaches the two decide to finally meet in person, both unsuspecting of who the other truly is. Drama ensues though, with Leo becomes shockingly aware of Alfie's identity, while Alfie remains in the dark.

As Leo struggles to work out a way to tell his real-life enemy that he is his online friend and potential soulmate, their real-life interactions grow and change, allowing both men to see beyond their misconstrued negative perceptions of one another, surprising them both by the depth of their new feelings and making the whole online/offline situation a real pickle for Leo to confess.

I loved, loved, loved this story. It was stress-inducing at times, with me anxious over what would happen when Alfie finally found out the truth, but all the pure, tender, sweet, and deliciously romantic moments shared between Alfie and Leo far outweighed any ill feelings I had along the way.

I particularly loved all the quotes and references to some of the greatest literary romances of all time. I also took great joy in the fact the story paid homage to rom-com movie greats like Shop Around the Corner and You've Got Mail. <3

Literally my only upset here lies in the fact that this is technically part of a series and I had no idea until I was already well immersed in the story. As a lover of diligent and precise reading order, this vexed me greatly. Seeing as how much I loved this story there is no doubt about whether or not I'll go back and read the first book in the series, I just wish they'd been marked as such so I'd known the reading order beforehand. Oh well.
Profile Image for Nazanin.
1,053 reviews598 followers
December 7, 2018
4 Stars

Camaro89 and LLB had been messaging for months. They talked about everything, especially about stuff they had never shared with anyone. They hadn’t seen each other but their friendship was so real, fresh and pure. So they decided to meet and have a date but then everything changed...

A really good read for the holidays, with likable characters. It’s a quick read but the story-line is well-paced. It’s enemies to lovers with low angst and at the same time a sweet/cute story! My first read by the author and it won’t be my last for sure! Told in dual POV, 3rd person and it can be read as a standalone novella. Overall, I had a good time reading it and hope you enjoy it as well!
Profile Image for * A Reader Obsessed *.
2,104 reviews432 followers
December 19, 2018
4.5 Stars!!

Sincerely one of the best holiday romances I’ve read this year!

This is basically an MM remake of the movie “You’ve Got Mail” where two individuals fall for the other over online correspondence and when they decide to meet, one discovers that the person they’re falling for is basically their mortal enemy. Oh the horror!

Make no mistake. Alfie and Leo definitely got off on the wrong foot when they first met at a holiday party almost a year ago. It happened then, and it has continued to happen - these two men forever misinterpreting and assuming incorrectly and badly over every little interaction, all of which results in plenty of anger, hostility, mortification, and insecurity. It’s not a pretty thing to witness.

When one is in the know and the other is oblivious, it's a forgone conclusion that things will explode spectacularly once the truth is discovered, and I admit this gave me a shit ton of anxiety. However, in and amongst all that, how these two slowly become friends and “reconnect” through their common interests was wholeheartedly sweet and swoony. Both Alfie and Leo are seriously vulnerable and lonely in their day to day lives and both simply want to find that special someone to be with.

Most know I can’t resist a gentle giant and for sure, Alfie was the standout star here with his palpable want and the desire to be understood, appreciated, and known for something more than his simple exterior.

Sexy, emotional, heart felt. Highly romantic with the penultimate ending and epilogue! Just a wonderful satisfying love story!!
Profile Image for Optimist ♰King's Wench♰.
1,764 reviews3,836 followers
December 22, 2018

I didn't love it like I loved Perfect Day but it was quite charming in its own rite.

The thing with the love letter in the book shop?

I'm not sure where this Sally Malcolm came from but I like her words muchly.

Thanks again to Elf Hazmerso undercover avenger! for the gift.
Profile Image for Elsa Bravante.
1,109 reviews171 followers
December 1, 2018
Segundo libro que leo de esta autora y está siendo un descubrimiento. El anterior tenía un aire evocativo y costumbrista. Este es una historia de Navidad absolutamente adorable y encantadora, bien escrito, con un número de páginas limitado por ser novella, pero con una relación bien desarrollada. Personajes nuevos con algún secundario que ya conocíamos en ese entorno de pueblito costero del noreste de USA.
Enemigos en la vida real, y enamorados en la vida en internet. Un punto de partida complicado que termina con una historia de amor profundamente romántica. Me ha parecido maravillosa esa búsqueda del perdón.
Muy muy recomendable y una autora a tener en cuenta.
Profile Image for h o l l i s .
2,371 reviews1,833 followers
December 3, 2018
I probably should've read PERFECT DAY first but I couldn't help but slip into this seasonal novella late on a Sunday evening just for a taste of this new-to-me author. It helped that I love any reimagining of You've Got Mail (or in this case You've Got Male hahaha I sorry) which is, of course, based on The Shop Around The Corner, and all the delicious similarities to PRIDE & PREJUDICE and PERSUASION. Both of which are very present narratives both from their own literary discussion and their own pride, prejudice, and determination to persuade the other to give them another chance.

Aaaand I think that's spoiling things quite enough, really. Though it's not like you wouldn't know what to expect! While I did truly enjoy this, I think it would rate about 3.5. However I'm going to round up because it was definitely one of the sweeter Christmas-themed stories I've read and I was all sorts of in love with Alfie. Definitely recommend for this time of year.
Profile Image for ☆ Todd.
1,339 reviews1,475 followers
January 4, 2019

Just like the other books in this series, this story was adorably cute.
It’s pretty incredible to meet the love of your life in cyberspace, and then find him waiting just around the corner.”
Both MC's were kind of arseholes at the beginning, due to the bad blood from their first terrible meeting.

Then they met online and, after chatting for a year, the seeds of love had sprouted and taken root.

But finding out the person you hate was also the person you love, well, that tends to take a person a minute or two to reconcile.

And in the end they did, with the story ending in an HEA, so I'd rate this book at around 3.5 stars and recommend it to fans of the series.

Overall, the story had only mild angst and a small bit of steam at the very end, which felt appropriate for this particular couple.


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Profile Image for Susan.
2,181 reviews386 followers
December 11, 2018
2.5 stars

This had my least favorite kind of angst. Angst where one of the MCs is keeping something from the other MC and where you are waiting the entire book for the bomb to drop. And when it does drop, it is (too) late in the story and it is awful and terrible. And how it could have all been prevented if the person would just have been honest from the start.

So while I liked Leo and Alfie, I hated the way their romance started out. I mean their romance as Leo and Alfie, not as LLB and Camaro89. The online romance was pretty sweet actually. But as soon as the deception started I got frustrated and it didn’t get better for the entire book.

I did like the epilogue, but by then I was just glad it was over.
Profile Image for Snjez.
717 reviews350 followers
December 15, 2019
This was such an enjoyable read.

It has everything I want in a Christmas story: beautiful setting, two lovely main characters, great side characters, some tea, snow and a lot of books.

Re-read 12/2019
Profile Image for Caz.
2,644 reviews1,001 followers
December 29, 2018
I don't give many A's and I rarely give novellas high grades, but this one's bucked the trend.

The Shop Around the Corner is one of my favourite films.  Set around Christmas time, it tells the story of two co-workers who don’t get on and bicker all the time in spite of the attraction that sparks between them – and which they ignore. He thinks she’s stuck-up, she thinks he’s crass and in any case, they’re both completely in love with their respective pen-pals… who are, of course, each other.  (The film was remade in the 1990s as You’ve Got Mail, but it’s not a patch on the original, IMO.)  Sally Malcolm gives the story another update in Love Around the Corner, set in the fictional Long Island resort of New Milton which was also the setting for her earlier novel, Perfect Day and which she will revisit in her upcoming release, Between the Lines.

In this version of the story, Alfie Carter – who owns the local garage – has been corresponding for around a year with someone he met online in a group dedicated to the works of Jane Austen.  He and LLB hit it off right away and text each other several times a day, enjoying discussions about anything and everything, bonding over their love of books and of discussing them in depth.  On the day we meet Alfie, he’s excited and nervous because that evening, he and LLB have arranged to meet face-to-face for the first time.  He’s never had a long-term relationship before, but he’s ready for one; the connection he feels with LLB is like nothing he’s ever experienced with anyone, and Alfie is absolutely ready to take things to the next level.

Leo Novak moved to New Milton after the long-term relationship he’d been in crashed and burned, and owns a small bookstore there.  He and Alfie met at the previous year’s Christmas party at the Callaghan’s and didn’t hit it off at all, their encounter resulting in an exchange of insults which saw Leo assume Alfie to be dumb and Alfie take Leo for an unmitigated snob.  They’ve avoided each other ever since and nothing they’ve seen of one another in the interim has served to change either of those initial impressions.  Leo is a bit of a loner; he knows he’s prickly – “but when you grew up too smart, too sensitive and too gay for the tastes of most people, you learned to defend yourself.”  Like Alfie, he’s looking for love and companionship, and he thinks he may have found it with Camaro89, the guy he met online a year earlier and has been corresponding with ever since.  He’s nervous about their first real-life meeting – what if Camaro89 is disappointed with what he sees?  Or vice-versa? – but he knows that they have to meet if their relationship is to progress, which is something he wants very much indeed.

LLB and Camaro89 have arranged to meet at a pub in Manhattan, and as they haven’t exchanged photographs, have agreed that they’ll both carry a copy of Persuasion so they can identify each other. Alfie arrives first and secures a table by the window, laying his copy of the book down so it can be clearly seen and waits eagerly for LLB to arrive. And waits. And waits. Almost a half-hour later, filled with disappointment, Alfie has to accept that LLB isn’t coming, and is about to leave when he sees Leo Novak coming towards him. Immediately defensive, Alfie makes it clear Leo is unwelcome and they quickly end up sniping at each other and part on bad terms. Again.

When Leo arrived at the pub to meet with Camaro89, the last person he’d expected to see sitting there with a copy of Persuasion in front of him was Alfie Carter. How can the witty, well-read man he’s been corresponding with be someone who can’t even put an apostrophe in the right place? (His garage is called Alfie’s Auto’s). Worse, could Alfie actually have known who LLB is all this time, and be playing a joke on him? When he has recovered from the initial shock, Leo admits the latter is unlikely – but what does he do now? The man he loved is nothing but a figment of his imagination, but even so, he can’t bring himself to leave Camaro89 – his friend – sitting there waiting for someone who’s never going to show. Still not sure what to do, he makes his way over to Alfie’s table – but the other man’s obvious hostility leads to more insults and another acrimonious parting.

Heartbroken, both men make their way back to New Milton, and to an existence that’s so much less colourful and hopeful than it was before. But an offhand comment makes Alfie start to think that perhaps Leo is lonely, and he decides to reach out to him in a small way by inviting him to take part in the Christmas Market that is being organised by the townspeople. Surprised, but pleased, Leo accepts the invitation, and the pair is detailed to go shopping for decorations the next evening. The trip turns out to be a lot of fun; Alfie is surprised to find Leo’s sense of humour matches his own, and before long they’re chatting about books – and audiobooks, Alfie prefers them to print and promises to make Leo a list of recommendations – and other things, and end up having dinner together. From here, things only get better; Alfie realises he’s fallen hard and fast for Leo, while Leo is doing the same… but Leo still hasn’t told Alfie the truth, and he worries that if he does so now, he’ll lose him forever.

I make no secret that I’m not a big fan of novellas; I find so many of them lack depth and are rushed that I usually go into them with fairly low expectations, but Love Around the Corner confounded all of them – it’s wonderful. Romantic, sweet, sexy, tear-jerking and uplifting, it works superbly as an update on an old favourite or a completely new story if you’re not familiar with either of the movies. As in Perfect Day – which was an updated retelling of Persuasion – Sally Malcolm has taken the premise and character-types of the original story, breathed new life into them and made them her own. Their flaws, their hopes, their dreams and insecurities all combine to make Leo and Alfie into very real, relatable individuals, and Ms. Malcom creates such a strong emotional connection between them that it leaps off the page. She’s also incredibly good when it comes to delivering a palpable gut-punch in the angstier moments. I had a lump in my throat several times towards the end, and I have to say that Leo’s grand romantic gesture rivals Captain Wentworth’s in the swoonworthy stakes; I loved the literary treasure hunt and what it represented. Although the events of the novella take place over just a couple of weeks, the romance is easy to buy into, and when Leo and Alfie become physically intimate, it’s something that evolves naturally and doesn’t feel rushed or as though the author has shoe-horned in the sex scenes for the sake of it.

Gorgeously romantic and utterly charming, Love Around the Corner is the perfect way to while away a couple of hours on a winter afternoon and with it, Sally Malcolm is two-for-two on my keeper shelf.
Profile Image for CrabbyPatty.
1,563 reviews172 followers
July 4, 2021
Oh, I loved this little Christmas novella, which takes plot elements from the 1940 movie "Shop Around the Corner" with Jimmy Stewart and Margaret Sullivan, about "two employees at a leather goods shop in Budapest who can barely stand each other, not realizing they are falling in love as anonymous correspondents through their letters." (Thanks, Wikipedia!) And of course, "You've Got Mail" was based on this movie as well, with Tom Hanks' little bookstore called "The Shop Around the Corner."

So anyhoo, this is a gentle story about two lonely men in New Milton (the setting for Malcom's other excellent books "A Perfect Day" and "Between the Lines") who meet on an online book blog and become friends and rapidly something more. The tale is wildly romantic, and heartbreaking and ultimately full of love and second chances. It is simply glorious. 5 stars.

Visit my blog, Sinfully Good Gay Book Reviews
Profile Image for Ky.
495 reviews60 followers
December 28, 2018
Ugh, ready for an unpopular-opinion review?

"Love Around the Corner" is a holiday story that started out strong but then something happened and it declined. I liked the parallel relationship that the MCs had, in real life and through the internet, though I wasn't very excited about Leo lying to Alfie for such a big part of the book. Something had to happen for them to move from enemies to friends, but I don't think that this was the only option or the best one.

The story quickly became too sweet for me, with corny gestures and frustrating reactions from the characters. The deception when on for far too long and the grand gesture at the end, though imaginative, wasn't a favorite. Everything moved at light speed and Leo and Alfie went from "I hate that guy" to "I love you so much" in the blink of an eye. Of course they had been talking online for a year already and even though Alfie didn't know it for most of the book I'm sure that once he lowered his defences he was able to see in Leo the qualities that charmed him in LLB. However, I still think that since they had a connection in real life as well as online and didn't know each other's identity it should have taken a bit more time for them to adjust to the new facts, especially for Alfie who was out of the loop longer.

I'll still read other books by this author - I even have one on my library already - because as this was my first contact with her work and it was a short story I don't think I'm ready to say if we click or not. So, let's try again!
Profile Image for Jassy.
18 reviews12 followers
December 6, 2018
It's Christmas time and now I'm in the right mood for it thanks to 'Love around the corner'.
That book is so sweet - Alfie and Leo have an online relationship without ever having seen each other. Otherwise they'd know that in real life they don't like each other very much. Leo is rather prickly and Alfie has some serious complexes about his education.
The first 20% were a solid 5 star read, especially when they both go to their first date to meet in person and accidentally meet on the train without knowing that they go to the same date. That was ridiculously funny :P
From then on, the plot is rather common. Enjoyable but still common. I WISH there was a book where the secret doesn't have to come out accidentally but because one MC just has the guts to share and they go from there... I miss this but I also expected it when I decided to give this book a shot.
I'm still pretty blown by how well this author writes. It was like... 9 p.m. when I started and I couldn't stop until I was done even though it cost me my precious sleeping hours :P
So, if you're looking for a funny, romantic Christmas story you should give this one a try :)

Oh and it's NOT a retelling of 'You've Got Mail' like I first thought. There are just a few similarities!
Profile Image for Ariana  (mostly offline).
1,341 reviews36 followers
December 2, 2018
*4,5 stars*

I thoroughly enjoyed this.
The scenario just makes this romance, and I loved how Sally Malcolm executed it!
There is just enough of everything to make this a really well balanced and cute Christmas story:

.) a bit of enemies to lovers
.) a bit of cyber romance
.) a bit of rough
.) a bit of sweet
.) a bit of Christmas and festive cheer
.) a bit of snow
.) and (for the novella length) two really well characterised and likeable MCs.

One to reread, no doubt!
Highly recommend it!

Profile Image for Renée.
1,030 reviews316 followers
April 19, 2020
4.5 stars!

Best Christmas story this year! This novella packed the feelz - it made me cry and gave me a great HEA all in a short story.
Profile Image for Sara .
1,413 reviews155 followers
November 30, 2018
I love Christmas stories.

This was so good! I am not crying happy tears at my desk right now. Nope.

One of my favorite movies is The Shop Around the Corner with Jimmy Stewart and Margaret Sullavan and this book, from my first read of the blurb caught my eye because of the similarities. I mean, we do have an Alfie and a Novak which I am going to assume are respected nods to the movie. The update of the online relationship also gives a slight nod to the remake titled "You've Got Mail" and let's just say, my happy was set to on before I even started this.

And then, OMG. I started it.

I loved meeting Alfie Carter as he worked at his auto shop, taking a moment to pull out his phone and smile when his "secret online boyfriend" LLB would text him. I know the feeling of reading texts from the person you love and having that besotted look on your face while you stare at your phone. Alfie is head over feet for LLB even though the two have never met but plan to that night. They have been talking as LLB and Camaro89 for months now, bonding over their share of literature and life and the men are finally ready to meet. But while we get how happy Alfie is, we also get that his neighbor Leo Novak is a perpetual pain in Aflie's side even though Alfie crushed on the bookstore owner when he first arrived a year ago. After Leo so rudely refused Alfie's flirting, the two men don't really like one another.

Leo Novak has a knack for opening his mouth and shoving his foot right inside. Unable to take the hint from Coffee Shop owner Dee to curb his disdain, Leo makes a horrible comment about Aflie's grammar which Alfie hears and these two, just can't play nice. We are left to wonder if these two will ever find a common ground.

Oh but I truly loved this book. It came on my feed this morning and while I have blog books demanding to be read on time, I couldn't resist taking a peek and then got sucked in to the wonderful town of New Milton and the residence that make the place a home. Alfie and Leo have palatable chemistry even with the surface disdain they have for each other but as Alfie is compelled to make amends with Leo after a text from LLB, we get the start of a new and beautiful friendship that blossooms to romance quickly and leaves you with hope... even though there is background ansgst.

Goodness. When Leo realizes who Alfie is, just like in both movies previosly mentioned, you can't help but hold your breath until he tells Aflie the truth or when Alfie possibly puts the pieces together. I got why Leo waited so long, not wanting to lose this new Alfie he is falling for nor Camaro89 that he's already in love with. Reconciling the two men as one wasn't rocket surgery for Leo but he fucks things up pretty bad and made me cry.

Alfie is such a good man that he can't even think thoughts about Leo without thinking he is betraying what he and LLB have. Every time he had that thought I was screaming in my head that they are the same person and really wanted Leo to tell him yet at the same time, I didn't. Things moved forward so well, the two men were getting along putting the past year behind them and you could tell they were falling for each other. The first kiss was electric even through the screen of my work computer and everything that came after had my heart in my throat.

I have to say that what Leo does for Alfie was imaginative, stunning and ridiculously romantic. I won't spoil it but it so put what he felt for Alfie the only way Leo could get his true feelings across. I loved it so much I read it twice and cried hopeless romantic tears both times at how lovely it was.

This was really a wonderful book and having been blessed with a glimpse of Josh and Finn I need to go meet them properly as well as make sure I stalk the authors backlist. Anyone who can include so much Austen into their own work is a total must read for me.
Profile Image for BevS.
2,707 reviews2 followers
December 24, 2020
4.5 stars from me. 💖💙💚💛💜 A festive frenemies/do-over/second chances read...full of feels and Christmassy scenes. This ties in nicely with the New Milton world that Sally has created, starting with Perfect Day and continuing with Between the Lines, which comes out next month.

LLB and Camaro89 are close online friends and now they are meeting up for the first time. Little do they realise that they do actually know each other in real life, and those meetings haven't gone so well 😕. Misunderstandings abound...I'll leave this one here and hope you enjoy this little Xmas cracker as much as I did.
Profile Image for Len Evans Jr.
1,446 reviews200 followers
November 20, 2019
5+ Put me through the ringer, but damn it was worth it stars!

This book about killed me more than once. The author wrote these characters in a more than believable manner and had me living every up and down in their struggle to get together. There was a tine or two where I just had to put it down and take a break... let my emotions calm and then move forward. Leo and Alfie were just perfect in their imperfections. What a ride!
Profile Image for haletostilinski.
1,164 reviews354 followers
December 7, 2018
Aww, this made me feel so good, it was so cute - near the end at least haha.

Because this starts out as Alfie and Leo hating each other. It all made sense how neither of it was exactly their fault - like who said the first thing/did the first thing to start the hatred - and while it was clearly Leo, we find out what he was going through and why it was understandable.

And ya know, once Leo was an asshole, Alfie was one right back, and then it was a constant loop of them being assholes to each other.

It's interesting how their friendship online and what happens once they try to meet is what brings them together. And I don't want to give anything away so under the spoiler tag:

Now, there's no doubt that the situation was a tad cliche - I knew what Leo was going to do, and I was like screaming at him in my head while reading. He was ruining it before they even started. But it was done well and it made sense why he did it - as wrong as as it was. It didn't just come from nowhere.

And this ended so sweetly, so wonderfully. An amazing HEA.

(My only complaint is that Alfie being a high school drop out...doesn't mean it's difficult for him to read? We learned to read well before high school, so I don't understand that point? Unless Alfie wasn't serious and he listened audio books for another reason that I don't know. And if Alfie did have trouble reading, then it would make sense if it was dyslexia or something like that, not because he didn't finish high school. I don't know if Alfie meant it, though, so I don't know *shrug* Ultimately I'm letting it go because it wasn't clear.)

Still very much recommend this book - it was my first book by this author and I enjoyed it a lot. Two thumbs up from me!
Profile Image for Zuzu.
1,014 reviews30 followers
December 9, 2018
4.5 stars

Loved this one. How am I getting so lucky to read books lately based on or referencing my favorite author Jane Austen?

Alfie and Leo were cyber friends and soul mates who didn’t know each other’s identities. In real life, they lived in the same town and didn’t like each other. Let the fun begin. Along the way, Leo discovers the truth and doesn’t let Alfie know. Eventually the truth is found out and Leo must do some serious groveling to win back Alfie’s affection.

This was so sweet. I loved how they connected with books. Now I need to go reread some of Ms. Austen’s books!
Profile Image for Meep.
2,040 reviews199 followers
December 13, 2018
Was looking for a light frothy read but this was charmless, I was struggling before the halfway point and dnf'd 70something%

Leo was nasty and judgemental, even getting his pov and insecurities he came across an unpleasant specimen. And the keeping his realisation secret was untenable, hooking up without offering the respect of disclosure a BIG NO. When the inevitable reveal and dramatic break-up happened I was cheering and wishing Alfie stay clear and find someone less self-involved. As this is supposedly a sweet romance that was highly unlikely to happen so I stopped reading.

Also I believe the reader is meant to make parallels with the frequently lauded Austin's P&P. I love Pride and Prejudice as a romance and clever social commentary, however this is a very poor facsimile.
Profile Image for Ele.
1,268 reviews41 followers
December 13, 2018
3.5 stars

This is definitely 4-5 stars material. It's only my personal preferences that stopped me from liking it more. I loved the messages and the grovelling and the sexy times.

BUT I hate it when one of the MCs keeps a huge secret that the reader knows about for such a big part of the book. Also, all this book talk was not my thing. Austen e.t.c is very far from my reading background and culture, it got a little boring for me.

But don't let me stop you, I'm pretty sure most people will love this sweet Christmas story. Really, it was just me.
Profile Image for Anne Boleyn's Ghost.
344 reviews56 followers
January 2, 2019
2.5 stars.

So I quite enjoyed the premise. These types of secrets and lies - and the angst that ensues - are my jaaam.

Cue 🎶She's Got Issues 🎶...

But I never warmed to Leo. To quote the illustrious Cher Horowitz, he was a snob and a half (and it says a lot that I struggled with his snobbiness because my contact picture on my husband's cell is Polly Prissy Pants). No, you don't have to like a character in a story to find him compelling. But when the story is a romance, it is disappointing. I want to root for both characters equally and find them deserving of each other.

That said, I can grow easily annoyed with characters. If you don't share the same hang-up, you will probably enjoy Love Around the Corner. There is plenty of sweetness and charm and tenderness in this seasonal short.
Profile Image for Bookreader87(Amanda).
931 reviews31 followers
December 11, 2018
4.5 stars

First read by this author and I just placed it on my favorite shelf. Once I started I couldn't put this book down. It's an enemy to lovers book with a twist.

Imagine falling in love online. Sharing the same interest in books that started the spark in first place. Talking with that someone everyday for 12 months. Now imagine that someone being the last person you expect. The one person in town that you dislike and think very little of. How do you go about reconciling the two?

That's the problem that Leo faces when he finds out the person he has been falling for is Alfie Carter the town mechanic. How can Alfie be the intelligent man who loves literature? Perhaps Leo's misjudged him but now how does he tell Alfie the truth?

This book was everything I enjoy in a book; enemies to friends, friends to lovers, a dash of angst and a beautifully wrapped up HEA. I will definitely be checking out more from this author.
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