In this review, we’re going to dive into the sequel to When in Rome, Practice Makes Perfect, which follows the youngest Walker sibling, Annie, and her romantic relationship with Will, Amelia’s bodyguard from the previous book.
Annie is the sweet girl next door, while Will is the commitment-phobe bad boy. Although I was excited to read this one because of the bookstagram hype, I have to admit I was a bit disappointed.
Practice Makes Perfect – Sarah Adams
GENRE: Contemporary Romance
PUB DATE: May 2, 2023
TROPES: Opposites attract, fake dating, closed door, friends to lovers
An adorable read about being honest, vulnerable, and brave enough to be yourself. While it was entertaining and quick, several elements felt childish and over the top.
open, honest communication between characters
good character development
hilarious comedic scenes
entertaining and quick read
melodramatic inner monologues
unlikable side characters
anti-climactic intimate scene after a lot of slow burn and build up
immature female MC
Annie Walker is on a quest to find her perfect match—someone who complements her happy, quiet life running the local flower shop in Rome, Kentucky. But finding her dream man may be harder than Annie imagined. Everyone knows everyone in her hometown, and the dating prospects are getting fewer by the day.
After she overhears her latest date say she is “so unbelievably boring,” Annie starts to think the problem might be her. Is it too late to become flirtatious and fun like the leading ladies in her favorite romance movies? Maybe she only needs a little practice . . . and Annie has the perfect person in mind to be her tutor: Will Griffin.
Will—the sexy , tattooed, and absolutely gorgeous bodyguard—is temporarily back in Rome, providing security for Amelia Rose as excitement builds for her upcoming marriage to Noah Walker, Annie’s brother.
He has one personal objective while on the job: stay away from Annie Walker and any other possible attachments to this sleepy town.
But no sooner than he gets settled, Will finds himself tasked with helping Annie find the love of her life by becoming the next leading lady of Rome, Kentucky.
Will wants no part in changing the sweet and lovely Annie. He knows for a fact that some stuffy, straitlaced guy won’t make her happy, but he doesn’t have the heart to say no.
Amid steamy practice dates and strictly “educational” tutoring lessons, Annie discovers there are more layers to Will’s usual stoic attitude.
As the lines of their friendship become dangerously blurred, Annie reconsiders her dream guy. Maybe her love life doesn’t need to be perfect—it just needs to be real.
Will and Annie are the classic “opposites attract” couple. He’s the bad boy who hates commitment, and she’s the sweet girl next door who wants to settle down and start a family.
Their relationship begins as an instant attraction but develops into a deeper emotional connection that allows both characters to be themselves with each other.
I appreciated how they encouraged each other to be honest and communicate. At times, I was concerned that their relationship could become toxic, but fortunately, these moments were infrequent.
I liked reading about the life of a bodyguard….sorry, I mean executive protective agent. The character’s backstory was relatable, particularly his fear of commitment.
“If I waited until I felt confident to live my life and do the things I want to do, I’d never live.“
I found him more likable than Annie because he was written to be closer to his actual age, in his 30s.
I found it difficult to warm up to her in the first half of the book. She seemed much younger than her 30 years, as her inner monologues felt like reading a teenager’s diary.
She keeps a swearing notebook, calls people a ‘stinky butt munch,’ and is way too self-deprecating. Her melodramatic dialogues almost made me DNF the book.
However, as the story progresses, she learns to stand up for herself and becomes much more engaging to read about. I empathized with her frustration of constantly being underestimated and put in a box for other people’s convenience.
I’m not a huge fan of the virgin trope in books because many tend to shame the person for being inexperienced. While Practice Makes Perfect did touch on some of those aspects, I appreciated the reason behind Annie’s decision to hold out and how the story supported and normalized it as being okay.
I adore small-town romances because of the charming TOWNSPEOPLE and the cozy atmosphere. However, I found the town’s quirkiness in this book too juvenile for my taste.
Without giving away spoilers, I felt that the petition the townspeople started regarding the MCs was too over the top and didn’t really add anything to the storyline.
I loved the affection between NOAH AND AMELIA in their scenes. Although I didn’t read book 1, I’m looking forward to checking out their story simply because of how adorable they were in this one.
ANNIE’S SISTERS were a bit unbearable. Their constant teasing and taunting of Annie gave off ‘mean girl’ vibes, and I found it very hard to like them.
Although the plot points about the town petition and swearing notebooks seem childish, there are some hilarious moments in Practice Makes Perfect that made me laugh out loud.
For instance, the scene where Will and Amelia dress up in disguise to ambush Annie’s date is absolutely hilarious.
And the various names Annie comes up with for Will to figure out what “Will” is short for are quirky and cute.
Annie’s growth is evident at the end of the story when she learns to stand up for herself. I particularly enjoyed the climax scene where she chooses to make space for herself in her relationship with Will. Her actions and dialogue were commendable.
Sarah Adams is known for writing closed-door romances, and while this one had a bit more steam than her other novels, I was still disappointed. The angsty slow burn and build-up of sexual tension warranted an intimate scene, and cutting it as a fade-to-black moment was anti-climactic.
It’s easy to tell whose POV you are in based on each character’s dialogues and inner thoughts. As mentioned earlier, Annie is portrayed as much younger than 30, which is evident in the tonal differences between the two perspectives. And her chapters came across as melodramatic and juvenile.
While I enjoy sarcastic comedy as much as the next person, it becomes tedious and excessive if it’s overdone.
The author’s dedication was super sweet – “This one is for the softies. The tenderhearted sweeties. The introverts who are afraid to shine.”
The epilogue was unnecessary, and I felt the book would have ended much better without it.
“I need you in my life like I need air, Annie. You have wrecked me in the best way I could ever imagine, and I’ll never be the same.”
Practice Makes Perfect is an adorable read about being honest, vulnerable, and brave enough to be yourself. While it was entertaining and quick, several elements felt childish and over the top.
Nevertheless, it’s worth a read if you’re looking for a closed door, opposites-attract romance with some small-town feels.
Enjoyed this review? Then, add ‘Practice Makes Perfect’ to your TBR. And if you have already read this book and have some thoughts to share, drop them in the comments below. I would love to hear them!