September 24, 2021

Abbreviations #139: Life's Too Short, Time of Our Lives + The Darkest Night

In Life’s Too Short, the third novel in Abby Jimenez’s companion novel romance series The Friend Zone, readers are introduced to hotshot lawyer Adrian (cousin to Josh, who you may remember from The Friend Zone) and his next-door neighbor and YouTube personality Vanessa. Their relationship begins on a night when Adrian and his then-girlfriend are awoken from slumber by the wails of a baby which prompts Adrian to knock at Vanessa’s door to find out what’s going on and to lend a hand. As he continues to care for Vanessa and her niece (who is currently in her custody), their relationship transforms from neighbors to friends to something more. But both Adrian and Vanessa have big, tough life circumstances to make peace with before they can find their way to a happily ever after… Life’s Too Short was as lovely and fun to read as I’d anticipated. It contains the same charming blend of humor and romance as Jimenez’s previous work, and it was absurdly easy to fall in love with our main couple and root for their happy ending. This novel also made me realize that one of the aspects of Jimenez’s works that I truly enjoy is how her couples often end up in very isolated situations together; it allows them to really get to know each other and form a foundational relationship that transcends beyond that time. This novel does touch on heavier topics like anxiety, complicated familial situations, and ALS, and there were many parts that made me emotional. But there’s enough lightheartedness and swoon (including a cameo) to balance that out perfectly! Jimenez did an excellent job crafting another believable, thoughtful romance in Life’s Too Short (and yes, that’s including the resolution that feels straight out of a movie). I’ve consistently enjoyed Jimenez’s work, and I’m very much looking forward to whatever she’ll write next!

Life's Too Short (The Friend Zone #3) by Abby Jimenez
Previous Books in the Series: The Friend Zone, The Happy Ever After Playlist
Pub Info: April 6, 2021 by Forever

I was really interested in reading Time of Our Lives, partly because I’ve read two novels before from this author duo and partly because of the premise. This YA contemporary is about two teens: Fitz Holton, who is set on attending a college nearby so that he can be there for his mom who is suffering early-onset Alzheimer’s, and Juniper Ramirez, who is set on going as far away as possible for college to escape the confines of living with a large and tight-knit family. The pair meet while they’re each on a college tour and their chance encounter(s) might just inspire them to revisit their plans for the future and their perspectives on their present situations. I’m happy to report that I did end up enjoying Time of Our Lives (which I actually read in one sitting)! This novel is, more than anything, a slice-of-life tale that focuses primarily on the characters and their internal journey, though there are some great external moments that occur along the way. I really liked both Juniper and Fitz off the bat, and could totally relate to aspects of each of their experiences as they make college plans (though funnily enough, I’ve never gone on a college tour). Following the emotional thruline for their stories was really what ended up making it such an enjoyable experience, and what made reading this book feel a lot like the dream-like experience of a mostly feel-good film. The novel isn’t perfect, of course; the ending is a little abrupt following a rushed lead-up, and there are moments where you’ll simply have to suspend your disbelief. But it did really end up tugging on my heartstrings, and for that alone, Time of Our Lives was worth the read to me.

Time of Our Lives by Emily Wibberley & Austin Siegemund-Broka
Pub Info: April 21, 2020 by Viking Books for Young Readers
Source: Hardcover received from the publisher

The Darkest Night
is the first novel in the Lords of the Underworld series, where Ashlyn Darrow (a young woman who can hear all sorts of voices from the past) has decided to seek a cure for this ability by finding a group of men in Budapest noted for having supernatural powers. She inadvertently crosses paths with Maddox, one of the most powerful in the group, and an instant attraction springs up between them. But will they be able overcome all the obstacles in their path in order to guarantee their happy ending? Unfortunately, The Darkest Night was not for me as a reader. Whenever I pick up a new adult urban fantasy/paranormal romance series, I usually look for a few key things: 1) characters to fall in love with, 2) a compelling story and lore outside of 3) a romance to root for. The Darkest Night only gave me one of these three; I appreciated the lore and plot, and that was the primary reason I felt incentivized to keep going until the end of the book. I didn’t, however, come to love the characters all that much (and having had time away from the book, I can already tell you that I’ve forgotten most of them). And I really didn’t care for the romance at all! While I don’t regret giving this series starter a shot, I genuinely am disappointed that I didn’t enjoy it more and that I see no reason to continue with the series.

The Darkest Night (Lords of the Underworld #1) by Gena Showalter
Pub Info: May 3, 2008 by Harlequin


  1. That’s a great article! The neatly organized content is good to see and I’m very impressed. coin dozer games free online

  2. I'm sad that The Time of Our Lives didn't end up working for me- it was the first Emily Wibberly / Austin Siegmund-Broka book that I didn't love :-(


Thanks for leaving a comment! I love seeing what you have to say, and will try to reply (here or on Twitter) as soon as I can :)