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Worthy of Love

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An age-gap, workplace lesbian romance about learning you’re never too broken to be worthy of love.
Nadine Bayani was at the top of her game. The brilliant, ruthless lawyer was in line to be White House chief of staff—until she confessed to campaign finance crimes that cost her party the election.
Now Nadine’s out of prison, broke, hated by millions, and stuck doing a menial retail job in rural Virginia where she barely earns enough to survive.
Bella Clarke has worked at Overstock Oasis since she flunked college. She wants to go back to school, but secretly doubts she’s smart enough. At least she’s not as clueless as her boss, who just accidentally hired the woman responsible for a national scandal.
However, Nadine seems to be nothing like the crook portrayed in the media, and Bella is drawn to her troubled, standoffish co-worker. As they grow closer, Nadine introduces Bella to the delights of Filipino food and opens Bella’s eyes to her own possibilities.
Before long, about the only thing harder to make sense of than Nadine’s past is their powerful chemistry together. Is Bella really falling for a woman who caused so much harm? And even if she is, how can two such different people ever be a match?

Tags: age gap romance, BIPOC, ice queen romance, neurodivergent character, workplace romance

249 pages, Kindle Edition

Published May 3, 2021

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About the author

Quinn Ivins

7 books137 followers
Quinn Ivins has been addicted to reading romance since she was a teenager, when she stayed up late on school nights to read more X-Files fanfiction. After romance novels, her top vices include sugar, booze, cable news, and country music.

Quinn lives in the southern United States with her wife, their young son, and their adorable cat. When she isn’t working her day job, writing fiction, or chasing her toddler, she gets as much sleep as she can.


Quinn Ivins war schon als Jugendliche süchtig nach Liebesromanen und blieb oft die halbe Nacht wach, um Akte X-Fanfiction zu lesen.

Nach 27 Jahren hat sie nun endlich Schule und Studium hinter sich gelassen und zwei Romane über frauenliebende Frauen veröffentlicht.

Quinn lebt mit ihrer Frau, ihrem gemeinsamen Sohn und einer niedlichen Katze im Süden der USA. Wenn sie nicht gerade in ihrem Hauptberuf arbeitet, Liebesromane schreibt oder mit ihrem kleinen Sohn spielt, schläft sie so viel wie möglich.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 114 reviews
Profile Image for Lex Kent.
1,682 reviews8,609 followers
May 12, 2021
4.50 Stars. This story was everything I was hoping for. I enjoyed this whole book and I would even consider getting this if it comes out on audio. I’m a bit late to the party reviewing this one because I’m a little behind on ARC’s and was saving this for when I needed a great read. This did not disappoint one bit and I feel like my reading luck is finally turning around. This book is just what I needed.

I just don’t know what it is about ex-con storylines but they always make books so interesting. This book’s spirit reminded me of Embracing the Dawn, which I just love. This is a very different story of course, but both books have such heart. I also liked the little political storyline. To be honest, I am burnt out on politics right now and since I’m not living in such constant fear and doom -like I was for the past 4 years- I just need a break. So I was a little worried the political parts were not going to mesh well for me right now. Instead, it gave the book a good storyline that kept me easily turning the pages.

I was also really happy with the rep in this book. We have Filipino rep and a character with undiagnosed ADHD - I even learned how it often presents differently in girls-. We had different body types and characters from different socioeconomic backgrounds, it was just all so well done and the characters felt like real people. I was also happy that Nadine was presented as “sporty” -I hate labels- with her muscular body type. The reason I bring this up is it seems like every book I have read, with a lesbian or bi Asian character, have all been very feminine. I just always thought it was weird that there were rarely any “sporty” or “butch” characters so it was nice to see in this book.

The romance was super sweet and while an “I love you” was said a bit early for my tastes, I thought the way it was handled made the earliness seem okay. I was also very happy that Ivins was able to put in some angst, but her characters eventually communicated which was so nice to see. I wish more authors would write romances like this because it felt fresh and didn't need the same old formulaic 80% angst moment. It was refreshing!

I hope it was clear how much I enjoyed this book. This wonderful romance gives me hope that 2021 can rebound for me book wise. Ivins only has two books out but both are great. I have a feeling she will be an author who will be around for a long time to come.

A copy was given to me for a review.
Profile Image for pipsqueakreviews.
565 reviews265 followers
April 15, 2021
Falling for the public enemy.

This one is intense. There is a lot of public hostility towards one of the characters because of a high profile campaign finance crime that she went into jail for and people are seriously screwed up and cruel. I would like to have seen more people stand up for Nadine because I still have faith in the human race but everyone else’s roles were either fleeting or superficial so ultimately it had to be Bella who stepped up her game as protector. And I like that she does that despite being a politically aware and opiniated person because it’s all about being compassionate and moderate to another human being.

Romantically, the feeling of unworthiness plays up in this book a lot. It's understandable for Nadine due to her circumstances even if I thought she was dumb to put herself in the situation in the first place. But I didn't quite comprehend Bella's reasoning for why she felt she was the undeserving one. I mean, so what if the woman hailed from Yale and was once a hot-shot. Because Nadine was seriously at rock bottom and you really can't bottom that. But I guess Bella's years of undiagnosed ADHD did a number to her esteem and I can't say I like that very much.

But you know what? I really like this book. Maybe it's the intensity of it all or perhaps because Ivin is a good storyteller... this book really held my attention and I desperately wanted Nadine out of the shithole.

I see Ivin is another writer who has joined the diversity bandwagon with Bella being neurodiverse and Nadine being a minority, her nationality inspired by Ivin's wife who is Pinoy. And that's good.

I received an ARC from Ylva Publishing in exchange for an honest review.
Profile Image for Jude in the Stars.
828 reviews449 followers
April 26, 2021
4.5⭐️ – Finding a job and a place to stay is tricky for all ex-cons but Nadine Bayani’s situation comes with its own set of challenges. Nadine confessed to campaign finance crimes, a scandal that led to the victory of a horrible Republican candidate at the US presidential election. Republicans hate her because they see her as the symbol of corrupt Democrats and Democrats hate her because she caused their candidate’s loss. Of course it’s more complicated than that but what really matters to Nadine right now, is to try and have some sort of life back. She finally gets hired at Overstock Oasis, but when the manager realises who she is, he tries to bully her into quitting. Bella Clarke, one of Nadine’s colleagues, may be as angry at her as the rest of the country but she won’t stand by while Nadine’s being harassed.

The title, Worthy of Love, applies to both main characters. They’re both damaged, both insecure, both strong too. Neither can imagine the other would be interested in her, even though both feel immediate attraction, and progressively fall in love as they get to know each other. And as in Quinn Ivins' debut novel, The Love Factor, the plot goes beyond the romance. Even after the protagonists get together, the story isn’t over, they still have some wrongs to right.

I loved Quinn Ivins’ first book so didn’t read the blurb before opening her second one. My first thought when I understood what it was about was “wow, that’s gutsy”. And while I liked her first book a lot, I think I enjoyed this one even more.

In The Love Factor, she indulged in her love of statistics. With Worthy of Love, she tackles two topics she knows just as well: one of the MCs is a Filipino immigrant, like Ivins’ wife, and the other is neurodivergent, like Quinn Ivins herself. Both matters are an essential part of the story and of who the characters are but Ivins never falls into clumsy didacticism. She shines a light on issues, among which the absurdity of the US healthcare system, with both serenity and efficacy. They’re at the same time not what this book is about and very much what it is about. Nadine’s isolation after her trial is inextricably linked to the fact that her family lives in another country. As to Bella’s realisation that maybe, just maybe, she’s not stupid – she’s actually very smart, in addition to being kind and compassionate – I couldn’t relate more. My own dyspraxia diagnosis changed the way I viewed my abilities in many respects.

In short, Worthy of Love is smart and well-written with excellent characters.

I received a copy from the publisher and I am voluntarily leaving a review.
Profile Image for Leah.
370 reviews122 followers
May 11, 2021
5 Stars

“Worthy of Love” is Quinn Ivins’ second book and it is fantastic. It’s an age-gap workplace romance about accepting and loving yourself.

Nadine Bayani is a 40-year-old (ex)attorney that’s just gotten out of prison for campaign finance crimes. She has to find a job and the only place that will hire her is the chain retail store, Overstock Oasis. While there for her interview she meets Bella Clarke. Bella has worked there 10 years, ever since she dropped out of college. Bella recognizes “the most hated woman in the country” at first glance and though she also hates Nadine, she refuses to act the same when she sees how others mistreat and bully her.

This story had a lot going on and I loved every minute. You have a romance brewing with Nadine and Bella. Then there’s the mystery surrounding Nadine’s case and whether she’s really to blame. You also have Bella’s story with an undiagnosed case of ADHD that effects multiple aspects of her life.

Nadine is guarded and defensive after she gets out of prison and for good reason. The public hates her for her crimes and no one is willing to give her a chance. She’s mistreated by her bosses when they find out who she is but she isn’t able to quit. Bella is sweet and kind and just full of goodness. She flunked out of college at 20 and thinks she’s too dumb to go back. She’s resigned to her life as a checker with a side job of doing commissioned art work.

I love character driven stories and this is an excellent one. They’re both attracted to each other pretty quickly but both have their reasons for not getting into a relationship and wanting to stay just friends. Bella doesn’t believe she’s worthy of a Yale graduate who was once almost the Chief of Staff. Nadine has nothing and doesn’t want to pull anyone into her life of being hounded by the press. Over time they come to see that they are worthy of love and happiness but it takes time for them to get to that point.

This leads me to really enjoying the pacing of this story. Nadine and Bella and their stories, individually and as a couple, drive it. I wouldn’t describe the romance as a slow burn but it isn’t instant either. It takes time. The three main threads are woven throughout the story and it’s just a joy to read and it comes across as very natural and organic how they go from being co-workers to friends to lovers.

Also, I tried to find something that I didn’t like or had issue with and came up blank.

I recommend this to fans of well written, character driven romances.

I received an ARC from Ylva Publishing in exchange for an honest review.
Profile Image for Cammy Chareon.
56 reviews27 followers
April 7, 2021
Worthy of Love is a book that is truly worth your time!

Nadine Bayani (40) is a disgraced attorney whose career ended when she was involved in a huge political scandal. Being the most hated woman in the country, she is forced to endure a minimum-wage job in a small town with a boss who hates her. This is where she meets Bella Clarke (30), the sweet and compassionate local who has worked in the same retail store for years. Although Bella hates Nadine for what she has done, she can’t help but think that there is more to Nadine than meets the eye.

Quinn Ivins has once again shown us her mastery in weaving stories with a strong plot and engaging writing. It’s difficult to generalize from just two books, but her stories are well-thought-out and carefully executed. Her books are never just a straight line (haha pun intended!) The reading experience is exciting because there is a deeper storyline that is just waiting to unfold. You have to watch out for little details that can be connected to the latter parts of the story.

The characters are wonderfully written; they were realistic with their flaws and all. Nadine is fiercely loyal and strong, but has resigned herself to her fate. Bella is kind and compassionate, but she has low self-esteem due to her past. I loved that both main characters had their own struggles and that they helped each other become better versions of themselves. It wasn’t a case of one saving the other, but both contributing to each other’s growth. The romance also blossomed naturally. Quinn took her time to first develop a friendship between them. Given the context, it made sense that it didn’t happen in an instant, but through acts of kindness.

Lastly, I appreciate the care she took in writing about the Filipino culture. It was definitely done with much respect, effort, and consideration. As a Filipino, I am happy with the culturally-sensitive and optimistic representation. It is a relief especially with the rampant racism going on in the world right now.

I really loved this book! It was intriguing, frustrating, and heart-warming. It will surely be an excellent addition to your reading list! An easy 5 stars for me. :)

An ARC was given in exchange of an honest review.
Profile Image for Heinerway.
763 reviews80 followers
January 18, 2022
This is a book worth reading. A romance and more. It will make your heart swell.

A few days ago I suddenly remembered this book, and I just had to reread it again. It's worth it.
Profile Image for CJ.
36 reviews20 followers
November 10, 2021
This was an enjoyable read! I truly appreciate that one of the MC’s is Filipino and lesbian—something I haven’t run into before. I supposed if I searched hard enough, there are other books out there. Unfortunately, Filipinos are usually the invisible/forgotten Asian, as most of us have Spanish surnames (over 300 years of Spanish colonization). So!, kudos to Quinn Ivins for bringing to light a strong, intelligent and hot Filipina. 😊
Profile Image for Loek Krancher.
1,020 reviews49 followers
May 30, 2021

WOW, what a story! This is one of those stories you can’t put down. Worthy Of Love has strong characters, great dialogue and complex emotions. It is about trust, truth, racism, political scandal, ex-con, social issues, undiagnosed ADHD, the struggle to survive if you live on the fringes of society and so much more. It was a rollercoaster of a story and so beautifully written. I highly recommend it.
Profile Image for Hsinju Chen.
Author 2 books187 followers
May 17, 2021
Content warnings: manipulation, sexual assault, blood, bullying, racism, drugs, alcohol (recreational), graphic sex

You know the kind of romance that is so cute and beautiful that you could weep reading about it? That you just smile the whole way through while trying not to tear up? Nadine and Bella have that.

Ex-lawyer Nadine Bayani (40, Filipino) was involved in a political scandal during the US presidential election that left her a public enemy even after serving her two-year term in prison. Struggling to find a job, she cannot afford to lose the one she just got at Overstock Oasis, no matter how terrible the managers treat her. Bella Clarke (30, lesbian, fat) has been stuck working at the same store for ten years ever since failing her first year of college. When Nadine starts her job at the store, she recognizes her immediately. Though she hated Nadine two years ago, there is something different about seeing the woman in person, and she realizes that she just might be the only friend Nadine can possibly have.

Nadine and Bella are better with each other, and it is always beautiful to see that in a romantic relationship. They both have their insecurities, with Nadine being an ex-con and having a complicated life under the public eye and Bella, having failed college and struggles to keep little things in her life together, considers herself unattractive and not smart. It takes the other person for them to see their own kind heart, beauty, and potential.

Nadine couldn’t figure out why the honest, friendly, and talented Bella would want to do with an ex-con like herself, and Bella doesn’t think a law school graduate like Nadine would love a high school graduate like her. But there is more to a person’s value than what the society imposed on them. There is also more to Nadine’s crime than what meets the eye.

Ivins addressed a lot of social issues in Worthy of Love, mainly racism, including immigration. And since Nadine is an ex-con, there are also mentions of how the system works against formerly incarcerated people who just want to find a job, that they often serve an eternal sentence in the society after finishing their prison sentence. Another important thing in Worthy of Love is how undiagnosed ADHD strongly impacts a person’s life, how inattentive ADHD is often overlooked and that some resources are not available for people who need it.

Worth of Love is a wonderful romance intrigue. I love the chemistry between Nadine and Bella as well as the commentaries on many social issues. That Ivins brought Nadine’s Filipino culture and family into the story is well done, too. The gradual reveal of the political scandal also had me on the edge of my seat (I read the book in one sitting). After loving Ivins debut Love Factor (my review) last year, I’ve been waiting for more stories from her, and this amazing sophomore novel has secured her as one of my favorite lesfic/wlw/sapphic romance authors. I am already excited for her next book and hopefully many more in the future.

I received a digital review copy from Ylva Publishing in exchange for an honest review.
Profile Image for Betty.
580 reviews68 followers
April 28, 2021
Every once in a while, I like to read a story where the characters have even more problems than I do. Worthy of Love by Quinn Ivins fits this need perfectly.

This is a very intense romance, filled with angst from the first page. Former lawyer Nadine Bayani has just finished a two year jail sentence for a political crime that made her notorious and hated by just about everyone in the country, and she’s finding it challenging to integrate back into society. She ends up in a dead end minimum wage job in Overstock Oasis, a type of warehouse store that carries stock that didn’t sell in regular stores. There she meets fellow employee Bella Clarke. It’s not love at first sight, especially since Bella recognizes Nadine almost immediately, but there are sparks there even with Nadine’s history.

Worthy of Love is a very beautiful love story in spite of the angst and the obstacles thrown in their way. It is definitely a character driven tale. The two main characters stole my heart from the beginning. They became real to me, which shows just how well-developed they are. Their secrets, quirks, and the baggage they both carry only make them more human, and more loveable. The story will keep you enthralled, wondering if there is any possibility of a happy ending for these two.

I thoroughly enjoyed reading Worthy of Love. If you love angst-filled love stories, then get this book.

I received an ARC from Ylva Publishing for an honest review.

Rainbow Reflections: http://rainbowreflections.home.blog/

Profile Image for Guerunche.
451 reviews40 followers
May 10, 2021
Enjoyable read. Both MCs have things in their lives that they're ashamed of and both realize through the other that while they have things to overcome, they are worthy of being loved and happy.
Points for originality with the story. It doesn't hurt to be reminded of the challenges facing those who have been incarcerated, served their time and need to start over. Recidivism is a real problem under the best circumstances, and few people have the resources necessary to rebuild their lives. Ivins said Nadine was inspired by Micheal Cohen, who took the fall for Trump, so the story is timely and captures the unfortunate political climate Americans are trying to dig themselves out of. That said, it's not really a political book - it's a traditional romance with non-traditional characters, with politics as a backdrop.
It's also about the working class life, which has its own challenges. While this isn't a sweet, feel-good romance, it is hopeful, original and diverse and that's to be celebrated.
Profile Image for AnnMaree Of Oz.
1,438 reviews25 followers
Shelved as 'did-not-finish'
October 3, 2021
DNF @ 45%.

I did like the two characters very much and their connection, but the politics just grated on me. Especially as a non-American.

I also found the "Everyone's an asshole" trope went completely overboard to the point I found it unbelievable. The reaching ways people would play blame games with the protagonist irritated me. So it just wasn't fun for me.

I wanted to keep reading, to follow the two women on their journey, but I felt like each time we were headed forward towards something more, it would take two steps back into political hysteria and assholish behaviour from outsiders.

I also felt the storyline overall and the motives behind the political and felony elements was incredibly predictable and obvious.
Profile Image for Corrie.
1,516 reviews4 followers
March 17, 2022
Worthy of Love by Quinn Ivins is a slow burn, workplace romance set in Virginia. I listened to the audio book version narrated by the fabulous Anastasia Watley. She gives character Bella Clarke a southern drawl to die for. Please don’t miss it.

Life sucks for ex-con Nadine Bayani. Broke, hated by millions, and stuck doing a menial retail job in rural Virginia where she barely earns enough to survive. But there is one woman who saves her bacon and gives her a place to stay.

Nadine has the biggest martyr complex I’ve ever seen, but sweet Bella has the biggest balls in all of Virginia. I loved her! This was my first Quinn Ivins story and I thought she did a good job. Both characters are very loveable (even though I wanted to shake Nadine from time to time), there was angst, fun moments and an overall entertaining story line. Watley did a fantastic job as per the usual.

Available as audio book on Scribd.


Themes: age gap, Filipino, ADHD, corruption, politics, these two eat the worst junk food, life at Overstock Oasis, toaster oven.

4 Stars
Profile Image for Carol Hutchinson.
755 reviews62 followers
May 5, 2021
So lovely!

After being caught up in political scandal and serving time in prison for the crime, Nadine’s life is anything from what she imagined as she struggles with no money, being hated by the entire country, and trying to get a job. When she manages to secure a lowly position in retail, she is surprised to find Bella, a colleague, is nice to her despite knowing who she is. When Bella becomes more of a friend, helping Nadine in her time of need, Nadine could never have imagined how Bella was going to change her life, and as Bella gets to know Nadine, it is clear that all is not as it would seem.

I absolutely adored this and want to thank Quinn for writing such a poignant story. I say that because this is so much more than a story about just accepting someone with some flaws. It teaches a lot about not judging others when you don’t know what happened, but also not to discourage yourself and that you need to love yourself and believe in yourself.
I loved Nadine, and I felt all the sympathy in the world for her but I admired all she’d been through, overcome, and achieved, whether guilty or not. It is a credit to Quinn’s writing but you just knew there wasn’t something quite right about the story surrounding Nadine, but you didn’t want to judge. I could literally put myself in her shoes when everything was being explained and Bella was finding out the truth about her.

Bella is the most important character though. Not only does she put aside her own thoughts and feelings on the matter in an attempt to try and be kind and friendly to someone who needed that but she was so smart, clever, and cute. I really found myself identifying with Bella. Life had been anything but easy and yet she still tried, she was bold, brave, but most importantly accepting. She judged, as we all do, but still gave Nadine a chance and when she did she really found someone and something special. Nadine really gave Bella a chance to develop, and Bella did that on her own, with only a very light need of encouragement from Nadine. It really went to show just how much someone can influence you and give you hope, whether you know them personally or have distanced encounters with them, and for me that was such a special thing. I understood and could totally relate, especially when Bella would have that powerful moment, then take a knock.

The connection between Nadine and Bella was very special. They both had insecurities for very different reasons and those did influence their actions and decisions. Again, I found this very relatable and so whilst enjoying the cute moments they shared when opening up to one another, I completely found I was emotionally there with them when they were having those down, low, or harder moments too.

This was such an exciting story but cute and sweet to. I am so glad happiness found its way to Bella and Nadine and I hope we will see them again in future! I can’t recommend this romance enough and I don’t think my words can do justice to just how good this story was, so you’ll totally need to experience it for yourself and I know you will understand and love it just as much.
Profile Image for Sam.
713 reviews68 followers
March 21, 2023
I listened to the audiobook narrated by Anastasia Watley. I’ve liked previous books by Ivins, I’m not sure about this one. It’s a little boring, but it might come from the narration that didn’t add anything. I’m not saying it was bad, it wasn’t, it was just mediocre and a little slow or something. I can’t really put my finger on it.

I think the story and the narration are ok, certainly not bad, but not great either. It feels a bit boring. Almost like I’m the one working that super fun dead-end retail job. I guess that’s good, it transports you to the setting of the book 🤭

Profile Image for Jamie.
169 reviews48 followers
May 27, 2021
So I read and wrote a full review of this book over a week ago, then deleted the whole thing an hour after I wrote it because I didn't really like how I put it. But books like this one are a little difficult for me to review.

To explain my thoughts on this book and how it affected me, I think I need to reveal what is behind the curtain a bit. Without going into any detail, I work in politics as my day job. I do love it and think it is important work, but to say it often isn't emotionally taxing would be a lie. And I read fiction, especially romance novels as escapism to destress- and they make me happy. So while political themed books are a popular subgenre in lesbian fiction, I don't read many of them as they doesn't appeal to me in the same way they would for other readers.

But I kept seeing this book get rave review after rave review so I bought a copy and tried to keep an open mind.

This book follows Nadine Bayani, fresh out of prison after committing financial election fraud. And she is struggling to find work because her crime directly resulted in a bigot getting elected. (That President sure doesn't remind me of anyone...) She finally finds retail work at the Overstock Oasis and there she meets Bella Clarke, who despite being quite smart and a wonderful artist, is riddled with self doubt. And Bella is the first person to show Nadine any kindness after years of scorn and they grow very close. Then eventually Bella wonders if there is more to Nadine's story and conviction than meets the eye.

And I did like a lot of it, and definitely see why other people liked it so much. Nadine and Bella have such a cute relationship together. I especially loved Bella and her openheartedness toward Nadine, and even how everyone else counted Nadine out- Bella didn't. There is so much depth to her character and I love how her insecurities were explored, and that she has someone like Nadine who can gently help and push her.

This book also has important things to say for how ex-cons are treated in the workforce, as well as how women so regularly go undiagnosed with mental disorders like ADHD. I really appreciated the book covering those.

This is a great character driven story with a mystery element to it that leaves you salivating for what actually happened. I was definitely into the story.

But for me, I have a hard time saying I actually enjoyed this book as I spent so much of it just frustrated at things. The political issues it discussed, how Nadine was treated, how people in power get away with so much, and how high stakes mistakes can really be. I just couldn't get in the mentality of the romance of the characters because the political arguments just kept taking me out of it.

This is a very good book with great characters. I can't give this a low rating because I did like the characters and the story. But giving it a perfect score doesn't feel right either as I didn't really enjoy this in the way other people do. So I'll leave it at a 4/5. Please read this book, don't not read this book because I didn't enjoy it as much- I'm an outlier.
Profile Image for CLAR.
252 reviews91 followers
June 1, 2021
IDK what happened. I was so ready to enjoy this book but... *sighs*

TW: physical and verbal abuse, bullying, sexual assault, racism, manipulation

First things first, I, of course, loved that one of the MCs is a Filipino 'cause duh... and the other is neurodivergent. I appreciate Ivins' efforts to push for diversity inclusion and representation with this book. She is awesome for this.

But I'm sitting here thinking hard why this story didn't work well for me, 'cause it clearly did for many others, and the only conclusion I'm arriving at is, those triggers above got to me. I was unprepared for all the unpleasantness I'd be witnessing while reading this book. I think it was only until around 70% that some of the unkindness the MCs were experiencing abated a bit, and I'm just not okay with that.

I loathed the environment our MCs found themselves in. Exempting a few (bless you, Ashley), almost all the secondary and tertiary characters were plain awful. I don't want to read about people who so obviously represent the supporters of that orange buffoon 😣🤢

This made me question if I'm really reading a romance novel.

On top of that, the romance was only so-so for me. Hindi ako kinilig ☹️

Nadine was supposed to be this amazing lawyer who graduated third in her class at Yale—translation: smart AF, but looking at her decisions and actions, I can't say I agree. If anything, I found Bella to be smarter. And I'm not only referencing Nadine's whole mess with Alyssa. I'm talking about Nadine's refusal to tell Bella the truth, assuming Bella won't believe her, then acting all hurt, and I'm like...

So, I'm sorry. I honestly can't find myself enjoying the romance when I’m so vexed with everything else.

This was well-written. I'm still gonna read another book by Ivins. This might only be a case of: It's not the book, it's me.
Profile Image for Gaby LezReviewBooks.
718 reviews334 followers
March 13, 2022
Review of Worthy of Love by Quinn Ivins, narrated by Anastasia Watley

This is Quinn Ivins’s second book after her promising debut novel The Love Factor which I also listened to on audio. After I heard so many good comments about Worthy of Love and considering it was performed by Anastasia Watley, one of my favourite narrators, I’ve started to listen to it on its release day. I’m happy to say that it reached my expectations.

Nadine Bayani is just out of prison after a corruption scandal ended up with her career as the main advisor to a presidential candidate. Hated by the vast majority of the American people, she has no work prospects and ends up as a shop assistant earning minimum wage. Belle Clarke is the only friendly coworker in her workplace, despite her negative opinion about Nadine’s involvement in the scandal. Slowly, Nadine and Belle strike a friendship that eventually grows into mutual attraction, but will they have the courage to take their relationship to another level?

This is an opposites-attract, coming-out romance with some political intrigue on the side. Ms. Ivins manages to make the fictional political situation sound plausible and current. I personally love this type of political thriller as I majored in Political Science. However, don’t worry if that’s not your cup of tea as the relationship between the main characters is more prominent in the story. The book finds the perfect balance between romance, intrigue and the characters’ journey to overcome their difficulties.

One of the things I liked the most about this book is that both characters are very well fleshed out. Nadine is originally from the Philippines and the author introduces elements of her culture, food and language giving the character a lot of depth and helping to strengthen the bond between the mains. I guess that Ms. Ivins’s wife, a Filipino herself, has given her valuable inside knowledge of the country. Additionally, and I’ll keep this vague to avoid spoilers, there’s a character with ADHD. As I have experience with a close relative who suffers from it, I think this was handled really well. It definitely gives some food for thought on how society treats people who aren’t neurotypical and how it affects their self-esteem.

The audiobook version was narrated by Anastasia Watley who is one of my favourite narrators. She performs Belle’s southern accent perfectly, reminding me of another one of her excellent performances as Laurel in Roslyn Sinclair’s The X Ingredient. As usual, her pacing and the overall tone are spot on and bring the story to life making it even more enjoyable. I highly recommend this one. 5 stars.

Length: 9 hours and 1 minute

Available in Scribd
Profile Image for KarenC.
295 reviews
April 25, 2021
The year is 1/3 over as of this weekend, which means I'm 1/3 through my GR reading challenge. There have been some really great books published this year, but I'm going out on a limb and saying that at the end of 2021 Worthy of Love will still be standing at the top.

This is the kind of book that makes me wish I could discuss it in a book club. There are so many things that need to be called out, but every reader deserves to discover them for herself. This is an opposites attract/age gap (without making it a big thing) story that features maybe the most compelling couple I can remember reading recently. Neither feels "worthy of love" due to past transgressions or personal failings, but Nadine and Bella are perfect for each other.

When I read The Love Factor last year Quinn Ivins became an automatic read for me, so I didn't bother with the blurb (sorry, Lee Winter). I was surprised by the depth of the political intrigue storyline that totally separated this book from a standard romance for me. I can only imagine the amount of charting and graphing and sticky notes involved in laying out this plot, and as a reader I appreciate it so much.

This book is truly unforgettable and even with an epilogue, and desperately need more Nadine and Bella. Five super satisfying stars.
Profile Image for Gail.
832 reviews24 followers
December 26, 2022
A storyline that fits in quite nicely with today's political news landscape - a crooked politician, disgraced attorney, campaign shenanigans, prison and the rocky road to redemption. The author's plot with main characters Nadine (ex felon/attorney) and Bella (clerk) is cleverly written while dealing with heavy topics such as ADHD, xenophobia and racism. Diversity and it's strengths are nicely explored along with the public's insatiable thirst for gossip, misconstrued information, rush to judgement, outright bias and mistrust of ex felons. Our leads, along with a nicely fleshed out supporting cast, navigate churning waters to eventual acceptance, empathy, protection and romance. I rooted for Nadine and Bella to have a HEA and Alyssa's just punishment. Descriptions are clear and easily imagined - I loved that Bella wanted to learn more about Nadine's ethnicity.
Ms. Iven's books are not run of the mill, I took my time reading this one and I look forward to more from her. Another worthy read that I highly recommend.

I rec'd a copy from Ylva Publishing and this is an unbiased, voluntary review.
Profile Image for Della B.
516 reviews71 followers
April 10, 2021

Worthy of Love is created around a very unique premise in the romance world. Nadine Bayani admitted to Congress and the citizens of the USA that she coordinated illegal campaign donations to a presidential candidate. Her actions resulted in her candidate failing in November and a trump-like Republican becoming the president.

Nadine has served her two year sentence and is now in a transition house looking for work and an apartment. She has become the most hatest woman in America and is struggling to find a home and a job.

Bella Clarke has worked retail at a discount store for the last ten years. She recognizes Nadine when she applies for a job. Although the store manager does not realize who Nadine is, Bella keeps quiet and finds herself working along side Nadine.

Quinn Ivins must be given props for centring her romance on a hated ex convict. Her writing is solid and well researched and the story definitely feels current. There is a comforting flow when reading the story. As well there is the wonderfully use of the word “cattywampus”. “ Half of the shelves were completely empty, their contents strewn cattywampus throughout the aisle.”
You can just picture the mess. You can also picture the two main characters as the cover for this novel makes it easy to envision both. This is a warm read on a cold day and I would highly recommend it.
Profile Image for lauraღ.
1,394 reviews58 followers
August 6, 2021
Not a good person. The words clanged in Bella’s ears. She didn’t want to think of Nadine as a bad person. But would a good person do what Nadine had done?

This book is well-loved, but it includes a couple things that I don't usually gravitate towards. So I'm relieved and so happy to say that I really freaking liked it. It was sooooooo good; a swoony, character-driven romance that included a bunch of meaningful themes.

I really don't like books that deal with real world politics (especially USian politics), so I was leery about this one. But it handles the subject pretty well, I think? Nadine, an ex-lawyer who worked with a presidential candidate, has just been released from prison, having spent two years there after confessing to campaign fraud during the last election. Vilified and castigated from both sides of the aisle, she's having trouble finding a job, and finally manages to get one at a retail store. There, she meets Bella, cashier, college-dropout, freelance artist and all around sweetheart. At first, Bella hates Nadine just as much as the rest of the country, but soon, a friendship starts to build. I think the plot was really well handled; it was frank and did bring in a lot of real-world politics, but in interesting and meaningful ways. It did get a little bit forced maybe, but never unrealistic? I really enjoyed that this didn't do what a lot of other liberal media tends to do: pretend that all Democrats are perfect.

But the characters are where this really shines; I loved them ever so much. In Nadine we have an older Filipina heroine who's a little closed-off, but super loyal and protective. She's one of those characters who just sets your heart aflutter. I really loved the way the book, through her, looked at the prison system and the unfair treatment of ex-cons. And I loved Bella even more, possibly, because I always adore seeing neuro-divergent characters getting an HEA. Bella's been living with an undiagnosed condition all her life, and I loved the discussions around that, how frustrating it was for her, the descriptions of everyday things that were just a little bit harder for her. I really connected with her, especially feeling like she had wasted her life (and I appreciated the book doing things to refute that notion). This isn't quite slow burn in terms of the timeline, but they did take their time getting into a romance, and it created some really great tension. I adored their romance; equally sweet and steamy.

I'll admit nothing about the writing really blew me away, and I did have my nitpicks here and there. But this was easy to read, really enjoyable, and just super satisfying all in all. Kudos.
Profile Image for Marie.
104 reviews11 followers
April 7, 2022
4 stars. I really liked it! The setting and the premise were a breeze of fresh air in my usual lesbian reading.
The characters were great and I liked their friendship, but somehow I didn't really feel their chemistry when it came to romance and sex.
Profile Image for chaos.
122 reviews
April 28, 2022
A unique story told with a steady pace and good mix of plot intrigue and romantic softness. Considering how directly the author addresses serious topics like criminal justice, oppression, adhd (with characters being hurt and vulnerable) there are also wholesome and triumphant moments that still don’t negate the struggles.

This was a smooth read, solid main plot with light-angst romance, and the narration was great. 4.5 stars
Profile Image for Pam Holzner.
649 reviews40 followers
June 10, 2021
I finished reading this before I started "When You Least Expect It" and I've been pondering what to write ever since.

The setup is pretty unique. How often is one of the heroines a disbarred lawyer and (former?) felon? (Are you ever a former felon? Not sure about that). It's hard not to feel sympathy for Nadine and this will grow as you come to learn what really happened. Meanwhile Bella as the 30 year old, heart of gold, college drop out with undiagnosed ADHD should also be someone readers will like. Neurodiversity there. And points for racial diversity as Nadine is from the Philippines. Still it had a bit of a light, comic, comic book feel to it.

The plot is pretty cleverly executed. I would divide the book into 3 parts: 1) setup/romance 2) sex 3) true villain's comeuppance. But only enjoyed the 1st part. I skipped over 2 and I skimmed through 3.

I don't think I really felt the chemistry between these two, but I can't say why. I'll let others weigh in on the sex scenes.

Hopefully your mileage will be better -- especially if you like a bit of an external plot to go along with your romance.
Profile Image for Neen Cohen.
Author 31 books39 followers
November 28, 2021
There is something truly beautiful about the way Quinn Ivins writes a balance of the beauty of humans and the worst part of humans. Characters you wanna cuddle and others you want to throttle. The characters in Worthy of Love are so real I feel like I’ve known many of them (not always happily) my entire life.

I adore the sex scenes in this book. Not only are they hot as hell without being an instruction manual but the realism even down to consent and internal monologues are balanced and smooth.

Quinn Ivins also manages yet again to make me care about things I’ve never really known much about before in my life.

Another great tick in the box is the way the characters talk to each other instead of having long drawn out angst because they simply won’t have a conversation.

Definitely recommend this book if you love real dynamic and diverse characters, hot sex scenes with realistic consent, an interesting story, and brilliant writing. Worthy of Love ticks all the right boxes.
155 reviews5 followers
April 6, 2021
I’ve been a bit disappointed in the books I’ve been reading lately, and was starting to think that the problem was with me – maybe my expectations were too high. How lovely, then to read a book I really enjoyed.

Everything just comes together so well in Worthy of Love. The pacing is great and it’s well-written and edited so there’s nothing to jar the reader out of their absorption in the story. It’s not overly long – I read it in one sitting – but it’s not too short either.

I enjoy books dealing with politics and social issues. Since ‘he who should not be named’ was elected to the presidency I’ve had a morbid fascination with US politics. Not surprising really, since US policies and actions have consequences that reverberate around the world. The politics of division has ensured a wider schism between left and right than ever before and that should be worrying to everyone. Safe to say, if you’re a committed right-wing Republican you probably won’t enjoy this book. That’s not to say that Democratic politicians are cast as the heroes here, though, because they’re not.

There’s not a huge amount of social analysis here – that would be a bit incongruous in a lesbian romance – but it’s there in the setting of the story and in the obvious empathy of the author. Both lead characters are sympathetic women but it is Bella who displays the outstanding qualities of kindness and acceptance that are a refreshing balm for the venom often displayed in social media.

The romance aspect of the story is lovely, with a couple of sexy love scenes that manage to be realistic and erotic at the same time. That’s a delicate balance to achieve. The relationship aspects feel unforced and develop at a realistic pace – both in terms of the characters’ lives and the development of the story. It’s a satisfying and warming read.

In addition, there’s a very interesting story of political intrigue dealing with loyalty and betrayal, as well as personal ambition versus dedication to a cause. I love how Ivins draws the connections between crime and poverty, politics and money, power and corruption; and highlights the difficulties facing ex-felons in a system that seems intent on forcing people into a life of crime. The US culture of individualism above the common good is difficult for those in most other western countries to understand. Socialised health and education are the accepted norm in countries like the UK, Australia, Canada and New Zealand – as well as most of Europe. Inexplicably, socialism seems to be a dirty word in the US and is all too often conflated and confused with communism. Of course, there are many people in the US who don’t agree with the politics of individualism and who are looking to make a more just society. Ivins is obviously one such person.

And I’ve made the book sound really heavy. It isn’t at all. Ivins uses a light touch to draw attention to the issues, but never stands on a soapbox or tries to ram her opinions down the reader’s throat. The issues arise naturally from the story.

Worthy of Love is a deftly-handled story that is a joy to read. I’m pleased to be able to recommend it in the highest of terms.

Note: I received an advance copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

429 reviews14 followers
April 7, 2021
Nothing exciting happened at the store she’d worked at for the past 10 years. She has a best friend and her mother also lives in the same small town. Everything she wanted, not. Clarke Bella had at one time wanted a lot more when she entered college but she lost her funding when she just couldn’t keep up. So here she was having an evening out once in a while. But after 10 yrs she was promoted to ‘third key’ at Overstock Oasis, where she was one of the employees who had a key to the store.
Nadine Bayani moved to the US from her home country Philippines. She wanted a better life so after working hard she graduated and promptly wrote her bar exam. Now she worked with Alyssa Jackson, the woman everyone wanted to be president. But when the campaign ran out of money to continue it was planned to take money they weren’t entitled to have. When the crime came into the light the only one blamed was Nadine. Now after spending two years in prison she was out and trying to find a job. Not easy for someone with a record.
The two women meet when Nadine applies for a job. Bella recognized her right away. The public thought it was Nadine's fault their favorite Alyssa Jackson had lost.
Ms Ivins has written a pretty good book showing the underside of life being a convict. Doesn't matter how long ago it happened, many people find out how hard it was to try and forget their past, when so many were determined to let you forget. Very good read.
ARC via Ylva Publishing
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