Cover Image: Not This Time

Not This Time

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date:

Member Reviews

‘Not this Time’ by MA Binfield is an angsty and sweet second chance romance about a pop superstar, Sofi, and her ex-bandmate, Maddie. 

Sofi and Maddie were in a popular girl band and a romantic relationship 5 years ago. However, Sofi decided to leave the band so she could have more control over her music and personal life. The decision brought many problems to them as a couple and they ended up breaking up. Skip ahead to the present and Sofi is a solo artist with an exhausting career. She goes on a forced break and decides to decorate her home. The interior designer that her manager hires happens to be owned by none other than Maddie. Maddie has not only changed careers but is also the mother to a three-year-old, Mateo. 

What I loved about ‘Not this Time’ is it highlights that love is not always enough for a relationship to last and thrive. Especially when you have things like fame, managers, and busy schedules to overcome. It’s quite obvious from the first chapter that both Sofi and Maddie love each other deeply. They keep it a secret from the outside world but are open with their love to each other and the ones closest to them. However, they let their insecurities, miscommunication, and lies from other outside sources get the better of them. 

After they meet again, while the love is still quite obviously there, they have some of the same issues. There’s added pressure from Sofi’s people that she not come out as a lesbian so as to not ruin her career and lose her fanbase. She also has a fake boyfriend who has forgotten he’s only a fake boyfriend and lets jealousy and possessiveness come in between Sofi and Maddie and the rekindling of their relationship. Not only is he in Sofi’s life, she can’t tell Maddie the truth about their relationship or she could be sued for half a million dollars. Maddie has been out of the limelight for a while and has no desire to be back in it. She’s protective of her private life and wanting to keep her son safe. 

Maddie spends a lot of the time going back and forth about what to with the relationship. It did get a little repetitive after a while but I also understood where’s she coming from. My main issue with Maddie, and the book overall, was that she came across as making Sofi choose between her and her career. Sofi truly loves her music and I just didn’t think it was fair of Maddie to put her in that position. I feel like there could be a middle ground somewhere. 

Overall, this a very enjoyable read for me. It was angsty enough that it kept me going even in the middle of their sweeter moments together. I recommend this for fans of angsty, second chance romance and especially those who love the celebrity romance trope. 

I received an ARC from NetGalley and Bold Strokes Books in exchange for an honest review.
Was this review helpful?
Sofia and Madison had the life, playing together in a successful all girl band and in love with each other until Sofia, sick of being dictated to by their music company, wanted to branch out on her own.  Madison took the separation personally and their relationship ended badly. Both women heartbroken, they both moved on with Madison becoming an interior designer and Sofia still being dictated to her music company so much so she even had a contracted fake boyfriend.  When Sofia is forced to take a break and wants to redesign her house, Madison just happens to be the interior designer contracted by her management. 
I enjoyed this book. I loved the tension between Sofia and Madison although I would have liked the explanation surrounding their breakup to be more in depth as I think it would have made it even more believable for me and would have been good for their character development.  I think that Sofia might be a divisive character to a lot of readers given the reason why she left the band and the fact she had a fake boyfriend after going solo. It did make it hard to empathise with her. Overall a good read. 3.5 stars.
Was this review helpful?
<i>Thank you NetGalley for providing me with an e-ARC in exchange for an honest review.</i>

2.5 stars

Sofia and Madison used to be in one of America's biggest girl bands together, touring around the world and falling in love with each other--until Sofia decided to go solo, ultimately resulting in their band and relationship crumbling. Years later, things are looking a bit different. Sofia is a successful solo artist with a busy schedule, a fake boyfriend, and controlling management. Madison is an interior designer raising her son by herself. Living two very different lives now, Sofia and Madison haven't crossed paths since their band split, until Madison accidentally is hired by Sofia to refurbish her home. As the two start to reconnect, old feelings and new problems arise. 

I was ready to love <i>Not This Time.</i> Anything with a sapphic relationship and music usually intrigues me, but unfortunately, this book didn't do it for me. Right at the start of the book, I was put off by the prologue. It starts with the moment Sofia tells Madison she will be going solo. I didn't necessarily think this was a bad place to start, but it quickly morphs into a poorly written sex scene. I read the word "arousal" so many times in the first 5% of the book, which started to sound quite ridiculous. It definitely did not seem like a strong start. There's also lots of hurt feelings and confusion, which was understandable, but something about the dynamic felt off to me--but I was hoping that this was just reflective of the characters being young and still figuring out their identities. 

Unfortunately, even as the book progressed, I was bothered by the dynamic between Sofia and Madison. Neither of the characters were likable and I had a hard time believing their love for each other went any deeper than physical attraction and sex. I never really felt any sympathy towards the characters, nor did I really care if they got together or not. Everything felt so dramatic, pushy, and angry, which would have been okay given the circumstances if there were some other feelings to balance it all out. I felt bored the majority of the book, as nothing really seemed unpredictable or interesting. Most of the pages consisted of fights, misunderstandings, and unhealthy behaviors. 

Another minor detail that bothered me was the conversations about weight and body image. Sofia gains some weight, which prompts her to start fasting. Even though there's discussions about Sofia's doctor ordering her to stop fasting, I really wanted more from this part of the book. Sofia calls herself fat, and Madison quickly reassures her that she's not, but I just don't think this is the way to handle weight gain. Being fat isn't some terrible sinful thing and I just really hate when people respond to those struggling with body image issues with "oh, you're not fat!" as if fat is automatically equated with ugly. This was really a minor part of the book but I just thought it was a missed opportunity to counteract stereotypes and have Madison show her love for Sofia. 

Overall, I was disappointed by <i>Not This Time.</i> The pacing was boring, the characters were unlikeable, and the writing was simple and repetitive.
Was this review helpful?
An entertaining read. The story gives an insight on what secrets an Artist/Star in the limelight might be  forced to keep in order to maintain their public image. I particularly enjoyed how the main characters Sofia and Madison worked through their past mistakes and evolved. I would recommend. 4 stars.

Thank You NetGalley and Bold Strokes Books.
Was this review helpful?
Sofia Flores is an international pop star who collapses on stage one night and is forced to rest. Madison is Sofia's new interior decorator but also her former lover and band mate. Spending time with Madison during Sofia's rest period makes her re-evaluate her career choices and her future.

I got this book because the description sounded interesting enough but I did not have a big interest on it. However, I was wrong. 

I read this book in one seating, I could not put it down until I read the last page. The characters were interesting and had a depth. Both Sofia and Madison had made mistakes and had hurt each other in the past and I love the way they re-entered each other's life, confronted the past and were able to move on. The supporting characters were great too. I liked that there weren't side stories taking away from the main character's journeys. Also, I loved Mateo and Sofia's relationship with him.

Overall it was a very sweet, uplifting book about forgiveness and staying true to yourself to find happiness.

 This ARC was provided by Netgalley in exchange for a honest review
Was this review helpful?
I do not care much for book about famous people, singer or actresses cause sometimes they are kind of superficial and full of stereotypes, at least as far as I can tell. I can not say that is the case here but something was still missing for me. I really enjoyed the authors first book so maybe the plot was not really for me.
Was this review helpful?
I liked the premise of this book and execution was great. I just wish maybe there had been a little bit more angst? I think thats just my style of book more than anything. All in all it's a well written engaging read.
Was this review helpful?
3.5 Stars

Not This Time is an interesting second chance, lesbian romance by MA Binfield. 

Sofia and Maddie were once secretly dating, as they were in a band together. But, with the complications of managers, bad advice, and the business in general, they separated and lost contact for 5 years. 
Now, Maddie is working as a designer for Sofia, helping her redesign her house. They still have chemistry, and their want and need is well established.

The story in general is enjoyable though. I love the famous aspect, the fake relationships, and the overbearing mother. It's messy, complicated, and fun to read. The fake boyfriend is way more than Sofia ever agreed to, and makes for an interesting complication. 

It's a serious book, heavy on the emotions and conflict, but the ending is never in doubt. Instead of worrying, we are gifted with their long journey towards coming together. 

The one thing I didn't love was the lack of background about Maddie's son, Mateo. I wish I would have known the details about his father and his birth. We get a small glimpse eventually, but it still didn't satisfy me. 

Not This Time is a good choice when you're in the mood for a second chance lesbian romance. MA Binfield definitely delivers with all the feels.
Was this review helpful?
When I reviewed M.A. Binfield’s debut novel, One Small Step, in December 2019, I wrote that at first it was a bit too much tell, not enough show then got a lot better, which made it very promising. Not This Time doesn’t have this problem at all and finds its pace right from the start.

The story begins with Sofia and Maddie wondering if their relationship can survive Sofia leaving the girl band they form with two other women. Sofia wants to try her luck on her own, but part of her motivation is the chance to live their relationship openly. Five years later, Sofia, now 32, is a star in her own right but clearly on the edge of burnout. Her fake boyfriend’s possessiveness isn’t helping. As to Maddie, she’s back in Miami with her toddler. She’s not in the music business anymore and has become an interior designer. And guess who needs a designer for her new house?

Not This Time is a pretty exciting second-chance romance. Five years after their breakup, both women still feel betrayed and let down by the other, and it will take more than one chance meeting for them to be able to trust again. Yet at the same time, the pull, the chemistry haven’t changed.

I loved how the author wrote the characters’ journey back to each other. It never feels forced, the miscommunication that is usually annoying in lesfic is justified by their common history, the chemistry is palpable because the love is undeniable. There’s character-growth too, especially on Sofia’s part. Maddie is too worried about what the consequences of taking a chance would have on her son to be very flexible and it’s absolutely understandable. Sofia, on the other hand, is ready for a big change in her life. The freedom she thought she would find by going solo never materialized and she’s more than ready to finally take charge of her own destiny. Finding Maddie again is just the incentive she needed.

If there’s one thing that’s never in doubt between Sofia and Maddie, it’s chemistry. Every time they’re in the same room, it’s there. You just know that when they finally allow themselves to do something about it, they’ll combust.

There are also pretty good secondary characters. Noah, the fake boyfriend, made me cringe quite a few times. Sofia’s mom too, for different reasons. I liked how Sofia’s manager evolved. Maddie’s son Matteo is adorable, and I really enjoyed her relationship with her sister and with Daya, her former bandmate.

After a promising debut novel, M.A. Binfield firmly establishes herself as an author to watch out for.

ARC provided to Les Rêveur for an honest review.
Was this review helpful?
I found this book really entertaining, and a cool concept. Instead of being just the basic celebrity meets "normal" person, the fact that Madison use to be famous as well is a nice twist. Plus, her not wanting to go back into the spotlight that she knows so much about, caused a lot of nice tension between the two MC's that I really enjoyed. 

The book starts off with a flashback, and part of me wishes that was a little further into the book. I also think it could have had more flashbacks, to better explain their breakup initially. You don't found out the tipping point until like 60% in. 

Apart from that, it was a steamy - will they get back together or are the obstacles to big to overcome - type of book that really played well on all the tension of exes. I would recommend others to read this book. I'll definitely read another from this author going forward.
Was this review helpful?
"No one could care as much as you. You've always put your career ahead of everything, ahead of everyone."

This is a second chance romance where the main leads used to be part of a girl band. In the opening of the book, readers get a glimpse of their past and after going separate ways, they landed in each other's orbit again 5 years later.

Present day Sofia, a successful soloist and adored by fans worldwide has been on the rise ever since leaving her band. With her career at the forefront of her life, she was driven to succeed, and after pushing herself over the limits, she finally collapsed. While on her forced rest, when she found that the interior designer engaged to design her house was none other than Madison, the woman who broke her heart, the story took us back to the beginning.

3.5 stars for me. This story touched on lives of artistes in the limelight, the secrets they were forced to keep to maintain their image and the coming out story of a celebrity. 

Coming out is never easy, more so when you have all eyes on you. 

I just reviewed Not This Time by MA Binfield. #NetGalley
Was this review helpful?
This story was very well written, it flowed well and had all the elements necessary to keep the reader wanting more.  The main characters grew and changed as the story progressed and became better people.  Though this novel is set in the world of pop music it portrayed the behind the scenes into possible real lives.  How those lives were destroyed by the fears of loss of relationships and loss of career.  This author has also grown in her ability to put a story together which has realism and romance tied together. A good read and I recommend it to anyone who likes the world of pop music as a backdrop.
Was this review helpful?
This is a very fun, engaging romance. I loved the shared history of the two main characters and the way they worked through their past mistakes throughout the book. The writing is good, although the book felt a little long in parts. Overall, a good, fun romance with memorable characters and plot
Was this review helpful?
A second chance romance about a burnt out singer Sofia and her former bandmate Madison, who is now an interior designer with a 3 year old son. A lot of past hurt to get over, misunderstandings to sort out and learning to trust. Will love conquer all? 
When the lifes of Sofia and Madison collide again it's like the universe is trying to tell them something but will they be able to listen or even want to? Lovely romance to read, I liked both characters, although Sofia had to grow on me for a bit, she seemed a bit spineless in the beginning, letting other people dictate her whole life. There is angst, good supporting characters and a believable romance in this book..I would recommend it to anyone who wants to curl for an easy romantic read on a Sunday afternoon.

*** An ARC was provided by Netgalley in exchange for a honest review. ***
Was this review helpful?
Not This Time by MA Binfield is a second chance romance that gives the reader an entertaining behind the scenes view of the music world. Sofia and Maddie’s love does not survive the professional pressure and decisions of their young music careers, or does it? I dare anyone not to fall in love with Maddie. She is a creative person of many talents—singer, interior designer, music video director, and a loving mother to cutie-pie Mateo.  Retired from performing, she is now back in Miami to find success as an interior designer. Maddie is hired to design for a client, and unbeknownst to her, the client is Sofia, her first love. Sofia is a popular singer who is professionally successful, but she has sacrificed her personal happiness for her all-consuming career and is now questioning was it all worth it. 
The story is an angsty true love will prevail romance. Mistakes are made, feelings are hurt, and time passes without resolution until Maddie and Sofia meet again. Life is more complicated, which makes love more complicated. Their attraction is palpable from the very beginning, and I rooted for them throughout the book. The appealing characters and engaging writing were captivating and made this angsty second chance romance a fast read.
Was this review helpful?
Sofia and Madison used to be in a successful girl band.  As time went on, Sofia and Madison became a couple.  The record company did not want their news of coupledom to be public so they were made to get pretend boyfriends to accompany them in public.  Sofia is tired of the hiding and doing whatever the record company wants, so she decides to become a solo act.  Madison is furious that she is leaving and there are fake stories surrounding why Sofia is leaving.  Madison believes them and breaks it off.
Fast forward 10 years and Sofia has a famous career and is pushing herself to tour and collaborate with other artists she is still thought of as relevant.  She collapses on stage due to exhaustion.  While taking a break. she hires an interior decorator to decorate her home so it feels like a retreat she can go to.  The interior decorator company is owned by Madison.  Madison is unaware who owns this home until Sofia opens the door.  
Will true love win out?  Or will the women decides that there is too much water under the bridge?
I would recommend.
I received an ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
Was this review helpful?
I unfortunately wasn’t really connecting to the writing or characters in this book so I decided not to finish it. 

I think the premise is good and I want a lot more sapphic second chance romances, but I wanted more out of the writing for this one. 

I do think others might enjoy this story more than I do, but it unfortunately was not for me. 

I am interested however to see what this author writes in the future!
Was this review helpful?
3 stars. Sofia is a huge pop star who is tired of traveling and never being in one location long enough to really enjoy everything. She used to be in a girl band with three other girls until she decided to go solo, which broke up the band. She also had a secret when she was in the band, she was dating her bandmate, Madison. Madison and Sofia were in love and boke up when Sofia decided to go solo. Madison and Sofia had a misunderstanding about what that meant and never talked again for 5 years. Madison is now an interior designer and is hired to decorate Sofia's house. Madison did not know it was Sofia's house until Sofia walks down the stairs. They wind up back in each other's lives. 

I enjoyed this novel. I enjoyed the old relationship meeting again storyline. I liked how they interacted and their romance developed. This book was written well but not amazing, which is why it is getting the score it is. I also wished there was more tension between the two characters and they took longer to get back together. I thought this was the perfect novel to have a lot of tension before anything happens. They both just seemed to immediately start spending time together, accepting that they should.  It seemed like a lot considering they had not talked in five years. Overall, I would recommend this novel.
Was this review helpful?
3.5 stars. This book is for all those romance lovers! It had a few bumps, but was a very fulfilling second-chance love story. 

Sofi is a pop star who started her career in a popular girl band and fell in love with Maddie. Forced to hide their relationship by their management and not allowed to make their own decisions Sofi decided to leave the band. However, due to lies and music industry politics, their relationship did not survive the band breakup.
5-years later they meet again and they soon realize that they never stopped loving each other. Their history and painful memories kept them apart, but the present circumstances are not helping either. Sofi has a fake boyfriend and a contract with a hefty fine that forbids her to talk about it. Maddie has a son to take care of and doesn’t want to be sucked in again in the crazy music scene in which Sofi lives.

Both characters are very likeable. Sofi is sweet and insecure about her body image and how to live her life. She tends to let people (e.g. her manager and her mother) take advantage of this insecurity to a point where it affects her health. Maddie’s life is pretty sorted, she has her own interior design company and her little family of which she is fiercely protective. This protective instinct also stretches to Sofi and she hates seeing her inflicting damage to her physical and mental health just to advance her career. 

There is some angst involved, due to their past and current situations, but the overall feeling of this book is that of a deep love, even when they are not together. I could really feel and believe the chemistry between Sofi and Maddie and was so hoping they would find a way to be together. The lives of Sofi and Maddie, as well as the portrayal of the music industry, are romanticized, and the ending is extremely sweet, but it gives what our inner romantic wants. 

As mentioned, there were also a few bumps for me. The book is well written, but during the second half, the constant push-pull became a bit repetitive, as well as some descriptions of their feelings for each other. I think some text could have been edited out to keep up the pace. Also, the believability of the way Sofi handles the fake boyfriend situation and Maddie’s reaction to it was a bit questionable. However, it did add some angst and uncertainty to the storyline which seemed to be the intention.

A book that will make those looking for a highly romantic book very happy!
Was this review helpful?
A first book for MA Binfield, and if Not This Time is anything to go by it will be the first of many

Lovely story with a little bit of a angst.

I liked the characters of Sofia and Madison, although I did get a bit frustrated with Madison, I felt she was trying to hold Sofia back, whereas if she had loved her she should have given her room to grow and nurture. A little bit of emotional blackmail  going on there.

Throw in some secondary characters and we have an enjoyable emotional roller-coaster of a story 

Would I recommend, Yes if you're looking for that sweet and easy romance to read
Was this review helpful?