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Leffersbee #1

Been There Done That

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Theirs was a forever kind of love, until it was stolen.

ZORA LEFFERSBEE’S once perfect life is no longer perfect. Her tenure at the University is in question, funding for her employees uncertain, and her faux-fiancé, Jackson James’s unpredictability is wearing on her last nerve. Just when Zora is convinced things can’t get more complicated, life proves her wrong.

What the heck is he doing here?

NICK ROSSI’s complicated life is still extremely complicated. He’s used to fighting for everything he has, but he’s also used to winning. Now a man of power and influence, his return to Green Valley after so many years hasn’t gone according to plan, especially with the woman he’s always wanted.

She can’t know why I left, or why I’m back.

A powerful woman intent on righting the wrongs of the world, Zora doesn’t have time or energy to deal with the man who broke her young heart.

A powerful man intent on righting the wrongs of the past, Nick can’t help wanting to protect Zora, even if his devotion is unrequited.

Been There Done That is a full-length contemporary romance, can be read as a standalone, and is book #1 in the Leffersbee series, Green Valley World, Penny Reid Book Universe.

398 pages, Paperback

First published March 31, 2020

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About the author

Hope Ellis

7 books332 followers
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Hope Ellis believes romance novels can bring us all closer to world peace. She will never admit that she read her first romance in grade school, but accepts that she's completely addicted now.

Hope is a behavioral outcomes researcher by day and writes sexy romances featuring hot nerds and strong heroines by night. She hopes to one day conquer her habit of compulsively binge-watching "The Office."

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 260 reviews
Profile Image for lazybookconqueror.
411 reviews88 followers
April 13, 2020
Be still my heart ❤️


This is the story of Zora Leffersbee and Nick Rossi - the one that got away. Literally. After secretly proposing to his childhood sweetheart at age 17, Nick finds himself in a difficult situation and decides to skip town, leaving Zora only with a small note.

Zora is heartbroken, but life must go on. 12 years later she bumps straight into him. She's working nonstop to guarantee tenure at her University, but it so happens that Nick needs help with the project she's working with. Wildly different than the boy she used to know, is this the worst time ever to see him again, or just the perfect time to amend the mistakes that haunt them?

I'm a sucker for a good well-written second-chance romance and Been There Done That delivers. The success of the narrative is widely due to a great supporting cast that elevates the protagonists allowing them to shine. Nick and Zora's relationships with their friends, family, and coworkers give us so much insight and make them so relatable.

They are both flawed, but they mature with the story, seeking advice and understanding more about who they are. And it's a beautiful heartwarming journey. I'm in love with the Leffersbee's and there's a cute little hint at the end of what I hope the next book will be about, and I can't wait. Because Leigh (Zora's best friend) is a delightful character and I need more of her.

And, OMG!, for those who have read The Winston Brother's series by Penny Reid you'll be shooketh to read about a whole new side to Jackson James! I was NOT expecting that. And, it turns out he stops everybody and not only the Winston's - who would have thought?! Now I'm even more excited to read about him in the upcoming book Totally Folked.

ARC provided in exchange for an honest review. Yay!

Update! Been There Done That is now available on KU for a limited time:
Amazon US: https://amzn.to/2sEcF4a
Amazon UK: https://amzn.to/2uafgmG
Amazon CA: https://amzn.to/37eZEge
Amazon AU: https://amzn.to/30DJvi9
Profile Image for DJ Sakata.
3,036 reviews1,747 followers
April 17, 2020
Favorite Quotes:

“You remind me of that stripper in the movie. The really big one? Dark hair?” I coughed. “Uh, stripper?” One corner of her mouth went up in a sly smile. “Don’t sound so shocked. I might look like an old lady to you, but this girl’s still got a little oil left in her can.”

By all rights, this guy should be a stooped-over accountant with the eyesight of a mole. Justice demands it.

I don’t want one of your conquests to brain me with a can of peas in the middle of the Piggly Wiggly and post the footage online.

Listen. The last time we were together, I was eighteen. My breasts had more ‘giddy-up’ and less ‘Swing Low, Sweet Chariot.’

My Review:

Laced with clever and biting humor this second chance romance was a solid performer in the continuation of the Green Valley Smartypants Romances. Told in my favorite dual POV, the storylines were heavier on the angsty and regretful inner musings and antagonized resistance when I would have preferred more of the irreverent and snappy levity that sparkled throughout. However, Ms. Ellis more than made up for all that conflict once the rapturous warmth seeped back into the fated lovers' relationship and their steamy sensual scenes charred the linens beyond repair. Kudos to a debut author for pulling a rabbit out of her hat. I am eager to see her next treatise featuring this quirky family.
Profile Image for Penny Reid.
Author 108 books20.7k followers
Want to read
May 8, 2020

GAH! You can finally grab 'Been There Done That' by Hope Ellis FREE in Kindle Unlimited! Go forth and do the thing!

** LINKS **
Amazon US: https://amzn.to/2sEcF4a
Amazon UK: https://amzn.to/2uafgmG
Amazon CA: https://amzn.to/37eZEge
Amazon AU: https://amzn.to/30DJvi9

** BLURB **
Theirs was a forever kind of love, until it was stolen.

ZORA LEFFERSBEE’S once perfect life is no longer perfect. Her tenure at the University is in question, funding for her employees uncertain, and her faux-fiancé, Jackson James’s unpredictability is wearing on her last nerve. Just when Zora is convinced things can’t get more complicated, life proves her wrong.

What the heck is he doing here?

NICK ROSSI’s complicated life is still extremely complicated. He’s used to fighting for everything he has, but he’s also used to winning. Now a man of power and influence, his return to Green Valley after so many years hasn’t gone according to plan, especially with the woman he’s always wanted.

She can’t know why I left, or why I’m back.

A powerful woman intent on righting the wrongs of the world, Zora doesn’t have time or energy to deal with the man who broke her young heart.

A powerful man intent on righting the wrongs of the past, Nick can’t help wanting to protect Zora, even if his devotion is unrequited.
Profile Image for Z - literaryeffect.
258 reviews151 followers
April 13, 2020
“Zora, that’s us. It always has been. No matter what space, problems, or people were between us. We belong together. Fate wouldn’t have it any other way.”

Right off the bat, I was so excited about this book when it was announced. I’m a sucker for the second chance romance trope. The fact that this is set in a small town and also serving the childhood best friends to lovers trope just enticed me even more.

Nick and Zora are childhood friends turned lovers who got separated. They meet again 12 yrs later because Nick’s company is working on a project with the help of the hospital Zora works for. Ofcourse, Nick wanted more than that — he wants to reconnect with Zora.

I think Zora is a strong female character. She’s caring, intelligent, independent and she would put other people’s needs before her own. I can see how passionate she is with helping others and making a difference in their lives as seen in her work.

Nick is a male lead I’ve come to admire. There’s something so satisfying about characters like him who endured so many struggles in his life and yet managed to prosper. He’s ambitious, selfless, and cares deeply about the people in his life.

They are both characters who are trying to make a difference in the world through their careers. It always makes me emotional when I read about characters who are pursuing something that’s inspired by something they’ve gone through. They didn’t have the best experience, so they want to help others.

As for their relationship, obviously Nick and Zora had issues to work out because of the separation, but as I was reading I never doubted the love they had for each other. There were angst and heartbreak over what happened in the past but also romantic steamy scenes brought by the tension and chemistry they still have. Nick is also consistently trying (and sometimes, failing, but he makes up for it) to do what is best for Zora.

The side characters are also amazing!!! I love Zora’s mom, Ellie Leffersbee. Her love for Zora and Nick is so strong, she has always treated Nick like family. Leigh is another highlight - she is so funny!! She’s an amazing friend to Zora and I love her personality. I would love to see her more in the next books (especially if that scene at the end is any hint to what’s coming). If you've read Winston Brothers, you'd also enjoy Jackson James here. I can't wait to read his story as well!!

Overall, I really enjoyed this book. I’m adding it to my list of favorite reads this year and I’m looking forward to reading more from this series and the author.

ARC provided in exchange for an honest review.

AMAZON LINK: https://amzn.to/2sEcF4a - now free on Kindle Unlimited!
Profile Image for Lacey (laceybooklovers).
2,018 reviews10.1k followers
December 21, 2021
This was a solid second chance romance! The main characters here were childhood best friends to lovers, but something happened with the hero that he had to leave town unexpectedly and leave the heroine. She was left devastated and they don’t see each other again until over a decade later, and he’s got a lot of making up to do.

I really enjoyed this romance! It’s heartfelt and emotional, and the whole cast of characters is great. I am always going to be a sucker for a hero who tries to do everything he can to make the heroine fall in love with him (again) so all of this worked really well for me.
Profile Image for Smartypants Romance.
61 reviews936 followers
Want to read
May 8, 2020

This fabulous second-chance romance from Hope Ellis takes place in Green Valley of the Penny Reid Universe. We’re excited to learn more about the Leffersbee Family!! You can check them out FREE in Kindle Unlimited!

** LINKS **
Amazon US: https://amzn.to/2sEcF4a
Amazon UK: https://amzn.to/2uafgmG
Amazon CA: https://amzn.to/37eZEge
Amazon AU: https://amzn.to/30DJvi9

** BLURB **

Theirs was a forever kind of love, until it was stolen.

ZORA LEFFERSBEE’S once perfect life is no longer perfect. Her tenure at the University is in question, funding for her employees uncertain, and her faux-fiancé, Jackson James’s unpredictability is wearing on her last nerve. Just when Zora is convinced things can’t get more complicated, life proves her wrong.

What the heck is he doing here?

NICK ROSSI’s complicated life is still extremely complicated. He’s used to fighting for everything he has, but he’s also used to winning. Now a man of power and influence, his return to Green Valley after so many years hasn’t gone according to plan, especially with the woman he’s always wanted.

She can’t know why I left, or why I’m back.

A powerful woman intent on righting the wrongs of the world, Zora doesn’t have time or energy to deal with the man who broke her young heart.

A powerful man intent on righting the wrongs of the past, Nick can’t help wanting to protect Zora, even if his devotion is unrequited.
Profile Image for Antonella.
3,401 reviews448 followers
July 24, 2020
for second chance romance to work I need some significant reason for the separation & grovel but both things were just really meh here... everything felt flat... and even though the side characters were cute & funny, I am not even sure I want to read more about them...
as romance book this was disappointing
but as a debut novel, this is a promising work

2,5 stars

Profile Image for Hope Ellis.
Author 7 books332 followers
Want to read
April 15, 2020

'Been There, Done That' is now free to borrow on Kindle Unlimited!!!!!
Profile Image for Lana  (Bibliomedico).
303 reviews251 followers
April 13, 2020
For More Reviews , Interviews and Recommendations , Check Out My Blog : https://bibliomedico.wordpress.com/
Thanks To the Author and the Publisher For Providing me With an Advance Reader Copy.
The Authors of Smarty Pants Romance Continue  to provide us with amazing romance novels with great characters and interesting plot . 

Been there done that , is an incredible second chance romance , with the most awesome characters I've read about this year . 

I really loved Zora and Nick story so much " Which is surprising because I rarely like " Second chance Romance Novels " . It was sweet , heartbreaking , hopeful , romantic and very inspiring . 

Even though it is the first novel by Hope Ellis  , Her writing style is absolutely gripping and entertaining , I literally couldn't stop reading until I finished the whole book . I'm looking forward for every single novel by her in the future . 

This is a HIGHLY recommended book , Can be read a standalone without reading the previous books in the Green valley world.
March 21, 2020
Been There Done That: The Leffersbee series book #1 by Hope Ellis





‘“I don’t wanna go back, Zora.” It wasn’t me saying it. The words took on a life of their own, slid past my mouth, crawled, arrowed to her. “Not without you. I want you back. I want us back.”

“I’m trying to be an adult. I’m trying to be a professional, a colleague, your friend, as much as it hurts. Isn’t that enough?” Her voice cracked and she closed her eyes as she sighed out, “Haven’t you taken enough?”

“I don’t wanna be your fucking friend. And it’ll never be nearly enough.”’

In Been There Done That by Hope Ellis, we as readers were given all the most essential elements of what makes a truly captivating once-in-a-lifetime love story such as Nick and Zora’s. The depth and range of emotions and thoughts were all there, explored and utilised to Hope’s advantage within the story. Her characters did not shy away from feeling everything, from being consumed by whatever emotions swept them along. The sorrow, uncertainty, remembrance, devastation and the very powerful and frightening sway of love, particularly in learning to trust and surrender to the love of the same person all over again, even though twelve intervening years have passed them both by.

What I really loved and appreciated about this book was how profound it was in its simplicity. I don’t mean the writing or the dialogue are simple, I’m talking about how author Hope Ellis has imagined and crafted this dazzling and compelling love story, showcasing a natural talent for witty dialogue and cringe-worthy, giggle-snort situations, displaying her flair for characterisation and banter. She hasn’t had to rely on an over-dramatised plot or unrealistic madcap scenarios just for laughs. She gives her characters a voice and lets them lead the narrative.

‘Somehow, some way, he’d explain it had all been a mistake. Or he’d had amnesia. Or he’d been taken hostage by flat-earthers.’

Zora Leffersbee was an absolutely adorable heroine. As a female protagonist she was selfless to a fault, goofy and fun in one moment but a smouldering, temptress with wicked intentions in the next. She could be a little unaware of her surroundings, even of herself but that magnificent confidence exuded whenever she was deeply entrenched in and dedicated to her work. It was that enchanting yet awkward personality that really reeled me in, as well as her remarkable intelligence, her loyalty, huge heart and innate kindness to those around her, friend or stranger. It was a joy to watch her character progress and blossom. To be with her as she worked through her complicated feelings of a painful past, striving for something more. She was the type of heroine that you fall in love with within two pages of meeting them.

What I adored about Been There Done That was the fact that yes, the author has written this strong, entirely capable heroine, but she has written in a fantastically subtle alpha type hero in the form of Nick Rossi and made them both equal. Nick has his own innate need to protect, to claim and to comfort Zora but he does it in such a way that his character is this perfect combination of flirty, vigilant, chivalrous and determined- or stubborn, if you ask Zora. His feelings are complicated and desperately real, yet he goes at Zora’s pace. He doesn’t bulldoze in, demanding and expecting. He plays the long game. Shows her how he feels, rather than simply telling her. Again this is all down to the fact that Hope knows her characters and lets them lead the story. It’s a slow-burn but it’s sweet, titillating and intense.

There are some insanely hot and scintillating scenes peppered throughout. When Nick turns on the charm, he really turns on the charm, regardless of whether they are arguing or glaring, teasing or toying, whenever they are in the same room, the sexual tension between Nick and Zora sparks and ignites. When you have two fantastically written leads, both smart, sexy and mesmerising, it’s inevitable that the drama and heartbreak of their past will bleed over into the present. But it’s how they interact and respond in the present that shows them a future together is possible.

There are four things that I have had numerous thoughts about since reading this epic love story. One, I realised that I need more Jackson James in my life, pronto. Hope has moulded and made his character so much more than the lovable douche with questionable morals, that we’ve met previously. The man has layers. Many, many layers.

Two, I also DESPERATELY need Zora’s brother’s story and her twin sister’s (will be seriously interesting to see how those two are redeemed as protagonists. Sign. Me. Up)

Three, does the Harry Potter Nimbus 2000 vibrator actually exist?

And finally four….that beautiful, spectacularly dramatic happy ending. *heart eyes*

If you’re in the market for a beautifully penned second chance love story that compels, captivates and mends your heart, plus engages your emotions way past ‘The End’, then you need some Nick and Zora in your life.
Profile Image for E-Reader Addict.
1,032 reviews37 followers
April 21, 2020
I love a good second-chance romance! Is Been There Done That a good one? Well...not quite.

Zora and Nick were the best of friends growing up, which then turned into young love when they were in high school. But shortly after making plans to get married and leave Green Valley after graduating, Nick gets himself into some trouble and leaves Zora behind with only a short five sentence note. Devastated, Zora goes on with her life.

Twelve years later, Nick shows up back in Green Valley as a successful business owner developing a relationship with the university where Nora works. But a partnership with the university isn’t the only thing Nick’s interested in developing, and he knows he has an uphill battle winning Zora back.

There were a couple things I did like about this story. The big one is that Zora was good and mad at Nick for disappearing, and stayed mad for a good long time in the book. I also really liked how willing Nick was to apologize for what he did, and apologized several times. He didn’t come barging in with a cocky smile and expect that would fix things, nor was Zora swayed to quick forgiveness by Nick’s hawtness. I don’t like when forgiveness is given so quickly or never earned, so it was good to see that not be the case here.

But so much of the book was bogged down by all the internal lamenting, all the inner turmoil. I get that Zora is still hurt and wonders if she could - or should - trust Nick again. I get that Nick has regrets. Having to read them over and over again slowed the pace of the story to a crawl.

Also, in order for a second-chance romance to really work for me, the reason for the separation has to make some sense. I can’t go much into what happened since I don’t want to give anything away, but there really wasn’t a good reason why Zora had to be kept in the dark about why Nick left. Do I understand Nick’s reason for staying away so long? Nope. Given the terms under which he wanted to make his “triumphant” return (which I totally DID get), he could have gone back to Zora far sooner than he did.

I really wanted to like this book. This is Hope Ellis’s first book, and I love discovering brand new authors - if they can give a fresh voice to the story they want to tell. Sadly, this one seemed too much like what so many other authors are spitting out these days with all the repeated internal monologues and self-inflicted, contrived angst. Add in a plethora of editing/proofreading errors and this wasn’t as pleasurable a read as I was hoping for and it took me five days to get through it. On the upside, Ms. Ellis does a fantastic job with character dialogue (which is a big plus in my opinion), and her wordplay is often creative and fun, so I have high hopes for this new author. Hopefully she learns to tighten things up so there’s not as much extraneous, repetitive, fluff in her next book.
Profile Image for Korrie’s Korner.
1,065 reviews13.6k followers
April 2, 2020
3.75-4 stars for Hope Ellis’ debut novel!

“When I left here, I left a part of me with her. It’s always been her for me. She’s all I’ve ever wanted. She’s all I’ll ever want.”

I absolutely love second chance romances, especially when they loved each other as kids, and on in their teenage years. I also love interracial romances so this was a win win situation for me from page 1.

What I loved about this book was Zora, and her strength of not only being a Doctor, but how smart she was, and incredibly sexy. She and Nick had a friendship dreams were made of. Reminded me so much of me and my husband. This story was super angsty too. Just how I like it!

I’m not spoiling a thing because this deserves to be read totally blind, and with an open heart.

The only reason I didn’t give this story more than 4 stars, (which is still good—see my rating chart), is because I wanted more Zora & Nick. Don’t get me wrong, we got them, and their parts and chemistry together was amazing..but I feel the book focused more on their careers, and had a lot of details. Not a bad thing at all, I’m just selfish and wanted these two all to myself.

Bottom line is that I’m so proud of Hope Ellis, and what she has done here in her contribution to the Smarty Pants Romance world. I can’t wait to see what she writes next. She’s got a forever fan!

“For twelve years, I’ve walked this earth missing my other half, afraid to hope that you’d give me another chance and make me whole again. You’re the only woman I want.” <3
Profile Image for Nerdread.
425 reviews39 followers
April 13, 2020
Am i the only one who got Lauren and Cameron from Love is Blind Netflix show vibe from the couple in the book!?!? They’re totally similar and it made me appreciate the book even more!!

I surprisingly enjoyed it more than I thought I would to be honest! Second chance romance is one of my least favorite trope in books so when I started reading this book my expectations were moderately low. But the book handled certain situations that are often found in second chance romance very well and I wasn't mad about any of it. I loved the characters and enjoyed their romance.

The next book better be about Jackson it's time for my man to shine and be loved. ❤👀

Totally recommend😍
Profile Image for Ezi Chinny.
2,530 reviews414 followers
March 6, 2021
3.5 Stars.
I am on the fence about this story. I sorta liked it but had issues with a couple of things mainly the character and plot development.

This was a basic second chance romance. Zora Leffersbee and Nick Rossi were childhood friends and they eventually fell in love. They planned to start their life together after high school but for no reason she understood, Nick left town one night with no explanation. Zora was heartbroken, but eventually moved on.

Twelve years later, when Zora's department needed funding, a tech company came to the rescue. At that meeting, she found out that Nick, her first love, was one of the CEOs of the company. Nick's company had the medical app that could save jobs in her department and possibly elevate her career. In order to make the joint venture work, Zora had to find a way to make peace with the man who broke her heart and left her behind over a decade ago without an explanation.

Second chance romance aren't my favorite because most of the time I am unhappy with the length of separation and/or the "miscommunication" that led to the separation.

At the beginning, the reader was made aware that Zora's career was at an unstable point. Then the man who left her came back at a time where she was professionally vulnerable with his cape on to save the day. Of course he was rich, stable and doing well. Twelve years is a really long time to not contact the person who say you love but have been watching from a far. He could have come back to her, found a way to explain himself or work his way back into her good graces. If she hadn't needed the medical app, would Nick be attempting to talk to Nora? In addition, the author teased about the secret that cause Nick to abandon Zora for three quarters of the book so by the time I finally figured it out, I felt underwhelmed by it. It didn't feel worthy of devastation his abandonment caused and so it couldn't reconcile that explanation.

It was clear that they were hot for each other. Their young love was an innocent one and a true one so it endured but I had a hard time giving Nick grace after all that time. That is my dilemma with second chance tropes.
Profile Image for bruna.
220 reviews126 followers
April 26, 2020
"All I want is you. I want to live with you, laugh with you, make love with you. Have kids with your hair and heart. And then make up with you over all the stupid things I'm sure I'll do."

“Been There Done That” is a second chance romance that follows the story of Zora Leffersbee and Nick Armstrong. They were friends since their childhood, but during their last year of high school, Nick left without explanation. After 12 years apart, he goes back to Green Valley determined to apologize and get Zora back.

Hope Ellis’ writing was very real and convincing, so I became invested in their relationship from the beginning. The angst, longing and tension between them are definitely one of the strongest aspects of this book. After the awkwardness and hard feelings passed, it was amazing to see their reconnection as friends and as partners. I loved how natural everything was and how funny and sweet they were with each other.

Zora Leffersbee is an incredible doctor who is struggling to get the necessary funding to keep her research going and to pay for her employees. She is also feeling a little lost because she’s not really happy with her work anymore. Since most NA romances focuses more on the relationship and not on the characters as individuals, I have to say I was pleasantly surprised to see that her work problems were one of the main plots of the book. Hope Ellis used this plot not only to show us what made Zora such a badass professional, but also to address important topics such as racial bias in patient/doctor communication.

However, it’s important to say that Zora is so much more than her profession. There are no words to describe how much it means to me to see a black girl not relegated to the sidelines for once. Zora is a light, funny and amazing character who wants to find her space in the world and really make a difference. She’s also a dreamer, a romantic, a great friend, an amazing sister and the perfect partner for Nick. I loved seeing her standing up for herself and chasing her true dreams.

Nick Armstrong was the perfect gentleman. He fell in love with Zora when they were kids and never looked back. He’s the kind of character you want to protect from all evil because he’s just too pure and amazing to be true. I was delighted that he was always trying to improve himself and do right by Zora. Seeing the guy being a little more in love with the girl than the girl with the boy will never get old, I’m not gonna lie lol

I also loved that Zora and Nick had such nice friends. Eddie and Leigh were the perfect support system for both of them and I enjoyed how well they interacted with each other. Walker was another great surprise and I’m praying that he will have his own book soon, especially if his love interest is a character that we came to know and love *wink*.

There were two things that bothered me and made me not give this book 5 stars. The first one was the fact they spent 12 years apart. I get Nick’s reason for staying away in the beginning, but I think he could have chased Zora way earlier since she was always “the one” for him. The second was that .

Besides that, this is a solid book with great characters and an amazing setting. Now I can’t wait to see what’s in store for the rest of the Leffersbee family.

*ARC kindly provided by Smartypants Romance and the author in exchange for an honest review*
Profile Image for Tina.
1,758 reviews281 followers
June 3, 2020
Thus was a nice little read.

I thought the author did a good job of creating a deep background for the main characters of Zora and Nick. The chemistry between them was great. And I believed in their second chance romance.

I especially enjoyed Zora's work and the author's depiction of it in the course of the story. I work in Higher ed so I always enjoy when higher ed gets represented fairly accurately in romance novels, which is rarer that you might think.

And finally, the supporting characters were all fun, especially Jackson, Zora's faux fiance. Their friendship was a hoot and I liked the running joke that their "romance" was really not fooling anyone.

I give it three stars because I found the first part of the book frustrating. And that it because it hits squarely up on one of my tropes I hate a LOT. That is the lack of communication. Or rather a conflict that hinges 100% on the couple not talking when it is obvious one simple conversation could have saved years of angst. But the entire original break up depends on that entirely. And it is beyond annoying.

So we have to deal with Nick returning to claim his woman after so many years and Zora's animosity (thanks to yet another cliche where she happens to see him in a split second and misconstrues what she sees, but if she had stuck around one moment longer ... you get the drift) acting as the conflict. And still they won't talk except in circles.

The book gets better and stronger in the second half when they finally talk and we get to see them start to move forward. Of course this is a romance novel so if the couple is happy-ish going into the final act, there has to still be one more conflict left that crops up before the HEA. I didn't mind because it was more an internal conflict that made more sense and spoke to a couple who were in love but had been apart for so many years so had to learn the to adjust to the new people they were and not just depend on being comfortable with their former selves.
Profile Image for Hey Lin.
463 reviews
May 19, 2023
Sorry, I hate to two star this,but wow.....what a snoozer. the only thing that kept me.from giving it a one star was I wanted to keep reading to find out why the eff he left and there were some good angst parts🤷

Her family is.....I guess rich since they own a bank. He's a kid of a single mom and they made promises and talked about their future together. But he leaves town with nothing more than a note and comes back as a rich dude trying to win her back.

I loved when he gets jellies of her fiance. But no worries. This is not that type of book. Hes just a fake fiance to keep her family off her back and he's gay (if I'm remembering correctly since I read it last week 😂😂😂😬🤦🤦)

Also, she found him two years after he peft. She goes to visit him in the coffee shop he was working at to find him kissing a redheaded girl. But, again, no worries, he wasn't even interested in her and she kissed him and he pulled off after h leaves.

So. The reason he left? His mom.was trying to get clean from drug addiction, but she got her last buy from a motorcycle club in a bad part of town. He gets mad that they sold her drugs and destroys their bikes....or.something 😂😂🤔🤔🤔 they threaten him that they'll harm the h so he leaves to protect the h 🙄🙄🙄 no communication, no talks, just leaves. and her parents were in on it and never told her, even though they watched how that affected her when he left which I thought was SUPER uncool.

I got this rec from a book website and I'm disappointed. I'm sure if you want a low angst, slow a$s book, this is for you. But I struggled to finish it. It just wasn't that great to me.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for maggieandteddy.
1,049 reviews122 followers
August 9, 2021
Re-reading- actually it's the audio again!! So good- better than I remember.
I love Zora & Nick.......Good ol' Jackson James is a great supporting character. <3 OMG !!
AND...I just noticed a (sneaky mention of a character in another book :O !!) -it's near the end of the book. Hold on... for the AH HA moments. *more reads to follow!

I've been meaning to read this since this book came out. I love so many of the smartypants books.
This takes place in Green Valley, TN, the home town of the Winston Bros (awesome series by Penny Reid). Zora Leffersbee is 2nd cousin to Simone Payton, who was the heroine in Dr Strange Beard. (Winston Bros book 5).
I will say that you could read this as a standalone. Really! Jackson James is a supporting character (and I do mean "character"). I won't spill too much about Jackson's role. He's pretty much the same as when he appeared in the Winston's books. He's deputy sheriff and loves to pull over drivers and write tickets-like they're candy. Jackson, Zora & Nick have known each other since they were kids.
Nick comes back to Green Valley after 12 years, He and Zora were high school sweethearts. They were engaged until Nick had a family emergency. He left town suddenly. Zora thought he would come back, but eventually gave up any chance of ever seeing him again.
The book opens up after 12 years has passed. Zora is angry that Nick dares to show his face. She stays angry for quite a while. She does ask for an explanation. The reason for waiting for the explanation wasn't explained to Zora, or me- the reader. Zora's parents play a role that is revealed later.
Zora is a Medical Dr who's applying for tenure that is contingent on her raising grant money for her research group. I love the chemistry between Zora and Nick. Zora and Nick have to interact professional. Nick is obviously thrilled by it. Zora is not so happy about it.
Zora starts to understand what Nick has gone through. He's a professional success, but had a very rough time getting there.
I loved Zora's parents- especially her mom.
I also loved Zora's bff Leigh. I started to understand Jackson James-he and Zora have a unique relationship.
I listened to the audio, but I will be buying the kindle book. Hope Ellis' writing is so good. I will be highlighting so many passages. I highly recommend the audio - Chris Brinkley and January LaVoy.
Profile Image for mia.
505 reviews213 followers
February 9, 2022
Because forever does last always. It does when it's us

Nick and Zora were childhood friends until Nick abruptly left one day. He returned after a 12-year absence, determined to make amends and reclaim Zora.

This book had many tropes such as childhood friends to lovers, second chance, one bed, inter-racial relationship.

I have to say that the main feature of this book was the longing and tension between them. They were like two magnets that's going to get attracted to one another anytime soon. They were that couple who spend lazy days in bed and get up at 2pm to have "breakfast". It seemed sweet and natural for them to be around one another.

There was a lot of emphasis on Zora and Nick's professions in this book. Although it was okay at first, I found some chapters to mainly focus on just that. So I skipped past it all. And the miscommunication plot, yet again. It's so simple to just talk it out and I don't know why the characters just won't! Which is why the 2 stars.

But, Zora and Nick tried their best to be each other's better ones again. I liked that Nick was constantly trying to make things better and be the right partner for Zora. This book showed that Nick was the one who loved Zora more and man that's cute for my ovaries. As compared to other books, this book's friends and the people around them seemed to play an important part in pushing the two back together. And it wasn't unbearable.

Overall, a cute second chance romance. 12 years is a long time for people to find others but Zora and Nick didn't and they found their way back to one another.

(I read this book in honour of black history month)
Profile Image for Come_read_with_me_.
677 reviews23 followers
March 26, 2020
5++++ Stars

I can't even begin to explain how much I loved this book!! Fake relationships, childhood sweethearts, second chance romance oh this book had it all!! It genuinely had me gripped from the very first page!

Zora and Nick were childhood sweethearts. They challenged each other, grown up together and they knew from a very young age they had something special. They were soulmates, until one tragic night that changed everything.

Twelve years later, Nick reappears. Where has he been all this time? Can they rekindle their romance?

This book is gripping. I felt the characters vulnerability and their passion! I felt their hearts breaking and the challenges they faced together and separately. I loved the character development and the support they had for each other also from their friends and families.

I highly highly recommend this book.
Profile Image for Amy Dickinson.
1,251 reviews30 followers
March 28, 2020
Overall Grade: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

As I jumped into Hope Ellis’s Been There Done That, a SmartyPants Romance, I went in curious. I mean, in looking at her GoodReads profile, this is the only book attached to her page. Without any background, you hope for the best obviously. Given the other authors in the SmartyPants Romance universe, I expected insightful, nuanced storytelling, grounded by the Green Valley community surrounding the beloved Winston Family. After reading Ellis’s book, I realized very quickly that you get this and so much more. Nothing makes me more joyful than reading a first-time author (to me and maybe others) and getting my “socks knocked off” because that is INDEED what Ellis has done with this first book in the Leffersbee series.

Ellis coins this romance a second-chance romance. And it is that. As I was reading this story, my brain ran over this idea of second-chance romance. What makes a story that uses this trope successful? What allows us to surrender ourselves as readers to the idea that two people separated in their youth could and would find each other again, igniting a latent love? I realized that, for me, for this trope’s believability, I need this type of story to be a slow burn. I become inflamed when a heroine (or hero) jumps quickly back into a relationship with a past love especially when their counterpart broke their spirit. This type of story requires a careful plodding that quietly and insistently builds the chemistry to a point where it must be satisfied or the story will lose its power. Acting upon this too early removes the needed development of their reunion, and waiting too long loses readers. In my opinion, there is a fine line in developing this trope, and Hope Ellis writes this brilliantly. Zora, the heroine of Been There Done That, is an empowered woman. She’s independent, intelligent, and insightful. When Nick, her childhood love, returns and seeks her out after breaking her heart and soul twelve years prior, if she had run straight to him, the story would have muddled its message of control and balance. As Ellis draws these two nearer to exposing their truths, in a way, Ellis replicates her message. Nick breaks their coupling twelve years earlier for reasons related to control. Ellis crafts their journey towards reconciliation and redemption slowly so that her characters can evolve and accept their truths. It’s a lesson for her readers. As Nick and Zora find their way towards each other, they find more of themselves and an equity in their relationship that might not have been there previously. Ellis’s conjuring of this second chance trope is perfectly balanced that the reader feels satiated with Zora and Nick’s eventual coupling.

As well, Hope Ellis’s biography notes that she is “a behavioral outcomes researcher by day.” Her profession clearly influences the tertiary plot of Been There Done That. Beyond the developing romance of this book is a motif about healthcare. As an academician, Zora’s story includes us in discussions about the current healthcare system in the US. Her work and her conversations with Nick allow us access to its problems. Even more, Ellis’s dextrous characterization of Zora to take on this system’s ills does two things: it acknowledges Ellis’s insertion of herself into her storytelling which allows us insight into her own occupational challenges and it lends a gravity to Nick and Zora’s romance, making Been There Done That more intentional in its creation. This book is more than a Penny Reid-inspired romance; it’s an admonishment to “fix the system” of its problems. While Nick Armstrong/Rossi has the means and power to effect some change, Ellis also shows us a “lay person’s” effect too. There is clear craftsmanship in this discussion throughout the story. Even more, it’s timely given how our world is currently handling the COVID-19 crisis. At the very least, Ellis’s story is a magnifying glass for a national and global problem.

Beyond Ellis’s careful handling of this story’s second chance trope and the reconciliation of her characters, along with a secondary message about the fragmented and complex healthcare system, we find Ellis the wordsmith. I’m a fiend for good prose. When authors have the capacity to engage a reader with the way in which they string words together into sentences, paragraphs, and pages, I fall. I love a storyteller who finds words that infuse emotion without needing to describe the emotion. There were so many moments in this book when I appreciated Ellis as a writer. From her play on the movie ideal of Nick and Nora as Nick and Zora to sentences that emoted the challenges of this couple, there is an intentionality in Hope Ellis’s writing that manifested a romance that felt intentional. I think that’s the difference between someone who quickly writes a book for the masses and someone who recognizes a story as a purveyor of thought and truth. If Been There Done That is Hope Ellis’s first book, then she hit a triple that turned into a home run on her first at-bat.

This is what I know after reading Ellis’s book. She MUST write more. Specifically, I NEED more books in the Leffersbee series. There are more stories to tell about Walker, Leigh, and Tavia. She has piqued my curiosity and earned herself a new fan. I haven’t even touched on the diversity of this story, it’s brilliant connection to Penny Reid’s Winston Brothers, and it’s insistent that independence is found in both the power of the individual and the completion of the self in a great love. Those are all AMAZINGLY worthy topics to consider for this book and more of what you will LOVE about it. If you are a Penny Reid fan, Jackson James is here in all of his glory (dear LORD, I need this man’s story), and we earn more of the Leffersbee family. However, if you are a Hope Ellis fan (or a new reader), then you are in for the best treat of second chances and sultry homecomings.
Profile Image for Brandy.
464 reviews58 followers
February 8, 2021
This was a fun debut novel by an author I will look for in the future. And, of course, I adore anything set in the Pennyverse of Penny Reid.
Profile Image for Erica Testa.
339 reviews9 followers
March 22, 2020
Been There Done That
“Been there done that” is a beautiful, heart warming second chance romance.

Nick and Zora were childhood sweethearts who life separated. Their story is character driven. As the story goes on, you are given insights into pieces of their past and the misunderstandings that accompany any love young story, especially one cut short. That being said- This story was absolutely unique and I never felt like our characters, past or present, were immature. They became mature far before their time and truly are trying to live their lives the way they see best, whether or not that is for their own self. This book has quite a bit of detail and a healthy dose of introspection.

When Nick and Zora come back together, first professionally and then personally, it is such a treat. Nick is the most delicious almost alpha, but also painfully sensitive and sure that this woman is what he wants. His love for Zora is the love that reminds me WHY I love to read Romance novels. It is all swoony, romantic, all consuming and feels so very real. Zora is ridiculously bright and also so funny. I routinely found myself laughing at her thoughts. She is strong and self sufficient, she takes on to much as we all do sometimes and I loved watching their relationship ease each other’s burdens.
They truly know each other best.

I want to call it a slow burn, but I don’t know if that’s an accurate description as the sexual tension begins within the first meeting of our main characters. It’s more of a ripe, thick burn of a romance novel. And once they give in, man alive do they give in. It is steamy and utterly romantic how much these two know and care for one another.

The side characters are stellar, they all offer a little something extra, you see a whole new side of Jackson James and it is both delicious and fun, and makes me yearn for a little more of the soft underbelly of this guy. I know Penny Reid is planning his story in 2020/2021, and Hope Ellis did a fantastic job of introducing and leaving you wanting more for this sometimes frustrating yet well loved “Pennyverse” character. This was a whole new side of Jackson and I am here for it. The Leffersbee family reminded me of another prominent Green Valley family in the best way, and I am looking forward to more of them. And can I just say I do hope we get a Leigh and Walker story in particular from Hope in the future. 😊

Smartypants Romance continues to just amaze me and I cannot wait for more.
Profile Image for M.E. Carter.
Author 50 books1,035 followers
March 30, 2020
Now I want to marry into the Lefferbee family!
Profile Image for LianaReads blog.
2,211 reviews178 followers
April 14, 2020
Blog tour https://lianareads.home.blog/2020/04/...

4.5 stars
A very well written second chance love story with great characters and interesting ways to find their happily ever after.
It’s a slow burn romance about two lives that even after many years apart can’t get over their love for each other.
I’m always looking forward to going back in the Green Valley and to have read about that Easter egg that I’m so intrigued it’s a big bonus in this book.
Can’t wait to read more books by the author because she goes straight into my favourite list.
Profile Image for Paula  Phillips.
4,838 reviews294 followers
April 1, 2020
The second round of Smartypants Romance novels includes the start of a new series called "The Leffersbee Series' and the introduction to a new author Hope Ellis. The Leffersbee Series first book starts with the introduction of Nick Armstrong and Zora Leffersbee. The book starts with Nick getting into trouble after attacking the Iron Wraiths motorbikes and he is in hospital, it sounded like his mother was too. During his hospital visit, we have the Senior Sheriff Jackson James and the Mum and Dad Leffersbee. To save his family and of course the ones he loves, Nick manages with the help of The Leffersbee to get his mother Lila Rossi and him out of Green Valley. Zora doesn't realize and years pass and her heart is broken. Twelve years later, Nick Rossi is back in Green Valley and owns a successful electronics company that focuses on the medical side of things. He visits the local university as he knows that Zora is now a Doctor at the university and in the department he needs. Now Nick is back, he is going to have to work hard to win back Zora's love. He does have some obstacles in his way though as he has Leigh - Zora's best friend who hates Nick due to the way her best friend hurt as Leigh was the shoulder that Zora cried on multiple times and Zora is already dating somebody - Jackson James Junior. This was the same Jackson who was Ashley Winston's ex and whom she dumped for Drew Runos. The other thing that I loved about this series was the memories of Bethany Winston - the matriarch of the Winston Family as I too felt so sad when she died. If you love second-chance romance series and wanting to discover a new author, check out Been There, Done That by Hope Ellis.
313 reviews6 followers
August 13, 2021
A great second chance romance with a pining hero! I love second chances that start out in the MCs teens, and this one had Nick return as a billionaire (yay!)
Docked one star because of the incessant discussion about feelings, why they broke up the first time around etc etc. Would def read more from this author.
Profile Image for Lenore Kosinski.
2,314 reviews52 followers
April 18, 2020

I received a free copy through Smartypants Romance in exchange for an honest and unbiased review/opinion.

3.5 stars — This one started off as a solid 4 star, and I was really intrigued about what went down that caused Nick to leave, and how their reunion was going to go. Both characters seemed solid and likeable. I loved the ownvoices aspect to Zora. And I’m always down for a book with smart/nerdy characters. It wasn’t more than 4 stars because something about the writing just wasn’t capturing me…it isn’t something I can articulate, I just know I was very distracted while reading it.

My distractedness got worse as the book went on, and part of the problem is that the pacing didn’t quite work for me. The story dragged on longer than I liked, and there were definitely parts that felt repetitive. A part of me wonders if the ARCs that got sent out were earlier copies than intended, because there were more typos/consistency errors/etc than I normally expect. I think the story would definitely have benefited from some condensing in places.

Sort of related to that is that while I liked both Nick and Zora, that was about it. I didn’t really connect with either of them, and I didn’t always understand their emotions and choices. I appreciated the way the end worked out, and that they both had room to grow and forgive, but by that point I was kinda tired of the push and pull.

While on some level I understood where Nick’s controlling tendencies came from, it really didn’t make him a very likeable character. But I also had a hard time connecting with his shrewdness and ambition… His love of power and influence just wasn’t something that drew me in. I did appreciate the emotional moments we got to share with him as he confronted his past, and started to understand what drove him and what he was looking for from life.

And then we have Zora. She’s described as this awkward nerdy woman, but she wasn’t what I was used to in that vein. Which doesn’t make it bad, but I didn’t connect with her kind of awkward. I had a hard time making a connection with her most of the time, and I honestly don’t know why. I didn’t get the dynamic she had with her family (though I enjoyed the fun moments with Walker), and I didn’t quite understand all of what she was struggling with in her search for funding. I did LOVE learning about what she was doing, and seeing a higher level perspective of what motivated her, what she wanted to improve.

Strangely enough, Jackson actually humanized Zora the most. I loved their crazy friendship and their bantering. They felt like good friends, and I appreciated their weird dynamic.

I enjoyed Nick and Zora together, but I wasn’t super duper swoony in love. And again, I don’t know why. I guess I just didn’t always feel the chemistry personally. That doesn’t mean it wasn’t there, just that I didn’t connect with it.

As for the rest of the side characters? I didn’t really connect with many of them. I didn’t always understand the bits of humour that were here and there (like stuff from Zora’s Mom) — they went over my head.

So yeah. This book started off strong, but in the end just wasn’t quite a match for me. There were definitely some great moments (hence the extra half star), but I just had a hard time connecting in the end. Ah well.
Profile Image for Kahea.
2,032 reviews108 followers
April 15, 2020

Check out an Excerpt HERE

***4 ‘#TeamZora’ Stars***

This was a fun read, a little slow at times, but overall a fun read chock full of the things I love about Green Valley while getting to know a whole new set of characters that I’m looking forward to getting to know a whole lot better.

Zora and Nick. Zora I really liked. She may be on the more introspective, quieter side of the scales, she isn’t without spine and I really liked watching as that spine got stronger as the story progressed. Nick. It was hard not to like Nick. He’s had it rough and his determination to do better and care for those he loves was admirable, but lemme tell you, the number of times I wanted to Gibbs smack him were many. His intentions were good, but sometimes he just missed the mark.

As for their second chance romance. Overall, I liked it. The emotional connection between Nick and Zora was easy to see, whether it was through their shared history, or seeing how, even after many years apart, they simply knew each other. And though I did tend to be #TeamZora in almost everything, I could understand why Nick believed he needed to do the things he did even if I didn’t agree. And though I felt the resolution of the last roadblock to their HEA was rushed, I can’t deny that I really liked how everything ended up for them.

As this is a debut for the author and putting it out into a world that is so beloved by so many, I think she did a really good job overall. I was hooked from the start, I enjoyed the dual first person POV’s and I’m totally looking forward to getting to know all of the Leffersbee’s as this series progresses. The one thing that I had an issue with was the pacing. Things started off great and I was all in, but as various issues started to pile up and the resolutions of those issues was slow in coming and seemed to overshadow the reconnection of Nick and Zora, my focus started to waffle and I needed to take a break, but then again it could be just a “me” thing. But in the end, I think that this book was a great addition to the pennyverse and I’m definitely looking forward to seeing where this author takes us in the future.

~ Copy provided by SBPR & voluntarily reviewed ~
Profile Image for Cyndi.
2,338 reviews97 followers
April 6, 2022
For me, this one skipped back in time. But that's because I didn't read them in order. I already read a bit about this heroine in Totally Folked. But it was cute watching Jackson James before Raquel came back into his life. They even mention him going to one of her movies.
But back to this story; Our heroine has been burned by the hero before. He left her after making plans for a future with her. We learn what happened at the beginning of the book. Basically, everyone knows why he left, but our heroine.
Then he returns 12 years later. Now, I gotta tell ya, I would have waved goodby to him. He waltzes back in and wants to slide right back into her life? Nope. But, it's a romance and I'm not a heroine in a romance novel, so it's not up to me. I'm just saying, I'd be a terrible heroine.
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