Cover Image: Love at First

Love at First

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Member Reviews

This book was pure amazing. This storytelling is just amazing!
The writing was just beautiful!
I really enjoyed reading this.
Thank you NetGalley Publisher and Author

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I’m smiling! My cheeks , my chin, my entire face hurts! The laugh lines at my cheeks look scarier, reminding me of deep lines belongs to something between Nicholson’s Joker blends with Phoenix’s Joker! But I don’t care! I’m feeling so good!

I love reading thrillers to bend my nerves and I love reading feel good romcoms to heal those poor nerves after the destruction those thrillers have made!

And this book is definitely the best cure to calm my nerves, making me sing aloud and rehearse my dance moves ( at COVID days I invented crouching tiger meets twerking panda dance: I plan to show it on a YouTube video but my husband insists the world is not ready for this kind of eye bleeding experience ) ! It’s freaking awesome!

I’m proudly rounding my 4.5 stars to 5!
Lovable MCs, more lovable, quirkier but also smarter neighbors made me sing “ A beautiful day in neighborhood” and wear my read sweater.

This sweet, so heartwarming book tells about no matter what family we come from we can choose our own people to love and make them our own family by sharing our true hearts, we can also choose what kind of person we want to be! And we must always give a chance to love by taking risks, learning to be reckless, rash: because a unique love always worths to every risk you take.

Will and Nora met 16 years ago when they were two little teenagers. Will didn’t see Nora’s face, it was too dark to decipher her real figures but he heard her laugh and watched her throw tomatoes at his way to scare the squirrels. And he knew he was in trouble : he already started to fall for her at first! She didn’t realize he was there watching her.

And 16 years later they meet at the same building: but right now they’re too nemesis because Will inherited his recently deceased uncle’s apartment he has never seen for long time ( actually he has seen him very same day he’d fallen for Nora) and he doesn’t want to live there: he wants to rent this place out. Of course the long time inhabitants of the building including Nora don’t want their place turn into an Airbnb friendly motel kind of unit! Nora declares war and does anything she can to stop Will rent his place.

Their frenemies kind of starting with wrong foot relationship eventually turns into good friendship as like Will’s relationship with the other neighbors because even though he is coming from neglecting family and it’s so hard for him to open his heart to people, he cannot resist to the true charm and genuine manners of those lovely people.

From Marian to Salas family, Benny to shy Emily and 80 years old Jonah: all of the characters are realistically portrayed, reminding you of your own family members, neighbors, your colleagues.

Overall: I’m so happy that I loved this book so much more than “Love Lettering”! This time author touched my feelings softly and warmed my heart, gently brushed my soul! She did such an amazing job!

It earned each stars I gave! Maybe it deserved more! I highly recommend to anyone who desperately seeks inspirational, motivational reads and die hard romcom lovers like me!

Special thanks to NetGalley and Kensington Books for sharing this reviewer digital copy with me in exchange my honest thoughts.

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I love Love Lettering so I thought that I'll give this book a try. It was wonderful! I always like enemies to lovers type of books and this is kind of that... I like how the couple got together... :) I love the two POVs too. Love the ending too. :) Such a sweet and romantic book.

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Read @kateclayborn's LOVE AT FIRST last night. She's one of those authors where you almost feel sad starting a book because you know it's not going to last long enough. This one, like LOVE LETTERING was completely and utterly absorbing. Fan for life.

Loved getting swept up in Nora and Will's story where there are cute (though allergy-inducing) kittens, second chances, and golden hour meetings.

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This was sweet and well-written. Both characters experience a lot of growth, and there are some fun secondary characters.

Kindly received an ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

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What a beautiful book. It deals with love, community, family, grief, and belonging.

Nora is the president of her building’s board. Will has inherited an apartment from an uncle he never knew. Will wants to turn his unit into a rental, but Nora tries to show him that this building is really a family. The building does not make his renovation easy.

Will is tightly wound due to his past. He is afraid to let go and let someone in. Nora is not open to newcomers because she wants to protect her found family of fellow residents. Their hesitancy and longing are palpable.

This book is so wonderful.

I received an ARC for my honest review.

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When Will inherits his estranged uncle's apartment, with the caveat that he cannot sell it for at least a year, he begins renovations to rent it out, to the protest of the other residents of the building-- especially Nora, the youngest resident by far, and one who's fiercely tied to the integrity of the space. A beautiful enemies-to-lovers, Love at First is sweet, charming, and full of love-- not just romantic love, but the love between family, found family, and the buildings we call home.

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Competing with my friend Hollis for complete lack of chill and worrying about expectations if I save it up, it might not hit the same or I might be disappointed, I dove headfirst into this. I'll re-up my comment on her review. By 15%, I wasn't worried. The characters already felt real and rounded, the story line in that <i>killing me softly Kate</i> way meanders pleasantly but purposefully to the point it wasn't clear if I cared if I ever finished the book. By about midway, I realized my heart was getting a little fragile and heavy, because Kate Clayborn is nothing if not a sneaky author.

First my feelings on Clayborn are absolutely no secret. She writes ordinary humans doing their best, trying their best, learning they are for each other (and they make extraordinary romances!). Her books have a gentle feel. Even in this sorta-enemies-to-lovers installment, the respect and regard for each other makes it feel more like compassionate competition than enemies, watch on the whole is much much more convincing. And oh boy, has her writing matured.

The things that floor me and resonate with me as a reader are the way I can feel intensely for the main characters immediately, add they aren't hard to understand, and it's not in some "tell" fashion. She builds worlds and settings: here an apartment and its mostly senior tenants, along with our two main characters. Will is...sigh. Nora...I understood her deeply.

Will. Will is rootless. (I honestly started my review early because I started to feel bogged down in emotion and was worried that it would end up saying "Erp," and indeed, Clayborn's demonstration of Will tumbling along plays out delicately without being frustrating.) And what better than to have him discover himself where everyone's roots are deep and entrenched and the branches are many.

Here's the thing. She builds intimacy and revelations through everyday scenes (again) and Will and Nora feeling too off-guard in their teensy-bit adversarial relationship. But also, the sense of ache I'm coming to recognize as "Clayborn-heartache" builds slowly in this one. So slowly, that at 50% I realized my chest was hurting and I was a bit heartbroken for the two grieving main characters. However, it's this vulnerability that lends itself to how inescapable the love and love scenes feel. And I mean, Will literally suffers from the Falconbridge syndrome of first kisses. So inevitable. And so right.

And the way she uses time and the golden hour. Ugh. So many ways. Kind of like how the title of the book was really clear, until she punched me in the gut with it (I might have sob-guffawed?) I thought the use of sight-glasses-and frankly tomatoes were brilliant and squishy and probably richer than I could ever capture. In employing all these things, these improvements,these settings, these shrines, Kate Clayborn also deftly creates a way for the present-day characters to reconcile themselves with their past-and to make a believable peace with it. I' was...I'm in awe.

And Nora. One of my strongest childhood relationships was with my grandmother. (Nora spent summers through her late childhood and teen years w/ her Nonna) I had separation anxiety throughout most of my young years, but I could stay and travel with my grandparents. She died when I was quite young, but I look like her, got some qualities of hers, and will never forget when I once woke up in their house and started crying bc I was all alone (I didnt ever have my own bedroom!) And she said "hush. I'm right here." Not in a comforting way. In a "I'd never leave you, dummy" way. So elements of grief I get. Loyalty and sentimentality I get. Grandmothers and granddaughters. The way they actually do influence you. And the way your life and person feels like a mash up of who they were, and that it is easy to build a shrine of material things around you instead of letting go.

And my God, Gerald Abraham. I mean all the secondary characters, really. But he is my favorite. So I'm just leaving this here.

I think Kate Clayborn understands love and vulnerability in many different ways. I'm sure a lot of people do. But what she's proving here is that she can tackle universal themes without being tired, she can write character-driven novels that are sneaky and unique. She can break our heart quietly with her pen. What's clear to me, above all else here, is that she's dedicated to a craft and constant improvement. She's giving what we readers deserve. I don't think it's hyperbole. I think she's exceptional, and in my opinion looking at her record thusfar, unmatched in contemporary romance.

I'd like to thank Netgalley & Kensington for the ARC. This has not affected my review in anyway, and to prove it, I will own this book in 2 formats at a minimum. I'm only sorry you all have to wait until February for it.

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Loved it! It was such a relaxing and cute book to read. A really lovely romance story and a great tale about family, friends and opening up to someone new.

Nora isn’t impressed when Will inherits her neighbours apartment and comes with charm, good looks and a devious plan to rent out the apartment... she doesn’t know how to feel about having strangers renting an apartment in what is effectively her extended families block of 6 apartment ‘units’. She declares war on Will and shows him exactly what living in her territory will be like!

Rated 4 stars as it was a little longer than I felt it needed to be. Loved the ending though - so that you could see exactly how everyone was 2 years after the events of the book. Thanks to NetGalley for the free ARC.

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First things first, Kate Clayborn is an AMAZING writer. Her storytelling is beyond original and creative. Although I loved “Lovelettering”, I went into this book hesitant because how many times can you read neighbour wars stories but this was cute / romantic / funny / emotional just everything you want in a romcom book without being cliche.

Also, if you have not read lovelettering, please do!

Thank you to netgalley and the publisher for an advanced copy in exchange for an honest review.

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I was so thankful to receive this book from netgalley as an ARC because I loved the author’s previous book, love lettering.
This did not disappoint! Two complex characters, Nora and will, and their lovely story. Just wondering. The author’s writing is just lovely.

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I want to say that if you loved LOVE LETTERING you will also love this but it's not something that I would even compare one to the other. Unless you consider all the emotions I felt for both. In which case yes. Just.. yes.

<i>[..] he couldn't really explain it, the relief he felt. Out of all his visitors today, she was the enemy he should be dreading the most; she was the most dangerous to him. Frankly, she was probably here to finish him off. But he didn't think any of that, at first. He looked up and saw her there and all he could think was : <b>finally. Finally she came.</b></i>

What I love so much about Clayborn is how quiet her books are even as they yell in your face, in your heart, in your soul. I might even have to call it the Quincy effect. You might end up a mess from the experience but you love it anyway (I swear this'll make sense to people who've read this book, haha, except in this case the mess is tears). But back to my point, few authors I've read have successfully and consistently translated tenderness into text. And I don't mean tender moments.. but she's fully capable of those, too, pure tenderness into a moment between characters, but also in a turn of phrase, an inner thought, the touch of a hand, the desire to suddenly use a term of endearment. There were so many moments in this book (in so many of this author's books, in fact) where I just died quiet little deaths because of how much I was made to feel.

"<i>You don't have to love people the way you learned to love at first.</i>"

What sets this apart from LOVE LETTERING, too, is that we get a dual POV this time. And I just.. it was perfect? But the characters are not; they have baggage, flaws, and there is some angst. But it's not big blow ups, dark secrets, epic tragic pasts, huge breakups. It's real slights, tiny devastations, waves of grief, it's learning to let go when you're holding on too tight while at the same time it's also letting yourself hold on instead of drifting away and remaining impermanent.

On a maybe more cheerful note, there's also a wonderfully wholesome element in the secondary cast of characters that bring so much joy and fun to the lives of our leads. I absolutely wanted to jump into these pages and take up residence in one of the units (sorry Nora!) and take part in the hijinks and gossip and community. In the less wholesome category, if you're looking for a solid romance? Attraction, chemistry, push and pull, and steam? There's also that. Because that first kiss? Hoo boy. Might've fogged up the glasses. This also have one of my all-time favourite tropes but I don't even want to mention it and spoil it. That's how good it is. And how much you will enjoy watching it unfold.

I absolutely want everyone to read this and as I write this review it's October twenty-third, which means it's four months to the day before this is even released into the world, which means I'm shouting at my fellow Clayborn lovers to request and read this now. Because I am so alone in my feels and want everyone to experience this. I want everyone to laugh where and when I laughed. Cry where and when I cried. Do the kindle-clutch-to-the-chest during every tender scene (I'm not the only one who does this, I know I'm not!). And just bask in these feelings I feel.

Also, there are kittens. Just incase you needed one more reason to convince you to read it. Kittens.

4.75 stars

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I received an advance copy of, Love at First, b y Kate Clayborn. This is a meet cute book. Luke and Nora, they are great characters. I really enjoyed this book.

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