If you’re having a hard time staying up to date with new releases, please let me know. I would love to know it’s not just me. Also, are you even invested in staying up to date with new releases? I’m genuinely curious about this. The problem with having a Netgalley addiction is that I’m supposed to stay up to date with new releases and the problem with being a mood reader is that my current reading habits have gone straight up off the rails. Anyway! Enough of me being dramatic. Let’s talk about the books I’m reviewing today!
First up, we have All the Feels by Olivia Dade, which comes out tomorrow! I was fortunate enough to receive an ARC from Avon via Netgalley, but I actually read the audiobook via Libro.fm, so shout out to them for that. Then we have Christmas in Rose Bend by Naima Simone, which is already out! Again, I was lucky enough to receive an ARC from HQN via Netgalley, but I actually read the book as an audiobook via my library. And finally, we have The Lady Gets Lucky by Joanna Shupe, which I actually did read via my ARC copy I was lucky enough to get from Avon via Netgalley. So, let’s get into the reviews!
All the Feels by Olivia Dade
All the Feels by Olivia Dade certainly gave me a whole lot of feelings. This book was originally supposed to be titled Slow Burn and if I’m being honest, I think I (personally) would have left the title alone because this book is a slow burn and that, to me, was a good thing. Olivia Dade has aways been very good at honing in on characters and bringing her characters to life and I think she really excelled with demonstrating that in this book.
Alex held me captive in this book from essentially page one. Essentially, Alex is an ADHD having, chaotic, principled mess and I love him so much. He has a wee bit of a savior complex and honestly, we love a man who knows when to apologize. When he gets saddled with a minder, Lauren, he’s really fed up with his show runners, and, I mean, who can blame him really? And then, we get to know Lauren, and oh my lanta, she is so relatable. She’s a people-pleasing, self-sacrificing kind of person suffering with crippling burnout and Alex is so determined to make her realize that she needs to take care of herself. Both of them are all too keen to self-sabotage in the name of doing what’s best for the other and I was both screaming at my audiobook and wanting them to come to life so I could give each of them a hug.
Plot wise, this book feels very insular and slow-moving, really focusing on the characters with the events naturally falling to provide a catalyst for an emotional development or the next thing. Overall, I thought the book was paced well so long as you go in fully anticipating it being a slow burn. I want to talk a bit about the fact that Lauren is a fat woman, too, because I know despite being an Own Voices representation, we (fat women) tend to have varying desires for how we would like to see someone who looks like us on page. So, Lauren is very accustomed and anticipates people in her life and the public having nasty things to say about her body. She has a hard time acknowledging that the things that people say aren’t things she should just wave off as her due and pretend they don’t bother her. However, she is both comfortable in her own skin and with her body and it’s limitations in a way that read very at peace to me. Throughout the book, there are other characters who will call people out for their hateful fat phobia, but Lauren, herself, goes on a journey.
Anyway, in case you can’t tell, I really enjoyed this book. I think I liked it even more than Spoiler Alert, which is impressive.
Content Notes: discussions of domestic violence (specifically: a past domestic violence relationship is described in a higher level conversation, there’s a fundraiser for a domestic violence charity), physical assault, fat phobia (challenged), Lauren is on vacation from a job as an emergency room psychologist and her job is referenced regularly
Christmas in Rose Bend by Naima Simone
Christmas in Rose Bend features a really fun small town (Rose Bend) going all in for Christmas featuring Nessa, a woman really going through it and also a Grinch, Nessa’s half-sister, Ivy, whom she has guardianship over after their father passed away, and Wolf, the lumberjack-esque man with a loving family and some hidden scars/depths. What I love about this book is that Simone really captures the way a small town gossip mill can run (perhaps slightly exaggerated) and how a community can really come together, while showing how sometimes people stay more on the outskirts. It just feels very true to life and the characters all feel like real people, although that one Jenna person does feel a little like a caricature of a mean girl. Anyways, setting that aside, I really like the small town portrayal in this book a lot. All of the events sound super fun and maybe a little over the top, but also, I would vacation in Rose Bend in a heartbeat.
Besides the setting of this book, Simone really crafts an intricate character web here with this intense distance between Nessa and Ivy, who experienced their father completely different from one another. For Ivy, her father was loving and present, whereas for Nessa, her father walked out of her life when she was 12 (I think) and it felt to her like he never really looked back. So the two have a very strained relationship between them. Meanwhile, Ivy warms up to Wolf and the other Dennison’s so quickly and she really starts to explore this town and have a ball. Nessa, on the other hand, is a little bit wary. She’s convinced that she’s going back to Boston at the end of this trip, that she’ll return to her job at the ER and hopefully those pesky panic attacks won’t come back, and is just hoping she and Ivy can make some in roads. What she wasn’t planning for was the way that Wolf keeps breaking down walls between them and there are real feelings there even though there shouldn’t be. Wolf is actually dealing with the return of his ex-girlfriend and feels very drawn toward Nessa while his ex-girlfriend’s return heralds the very real danger he knows exists for falling for Nessa. He’s already been left by one woman who wasn’t content to stay in his small town. He’s also carrying around some guilt over the death of a friend.
So, basically, what I’m saying is that there are a lot of feelings happening in this book. The sense of community is so strong and there are a lot more stories waiting to be told in this town. I look forward to reading more in the series in the future!
The Lady Gets Lucky by Joanna Shupe
Suddenly I’m not convinced there is a trope that I love more than kissing lessons and Joanna Shupe executed it with superb skill. Essentially, this book features Kit and Alice trading lessons on how to get a man to be interested in you and recipes. And to say the least, I was into it.
Kit is a charming man who isn’t taken very seriously, which starts to grate on him a bit as he and Preston start a supper club. He doesn’t appreciate being doubted at every turn, especially because it reminds him of the horrible things his father used to say about him. Meanwhile, Alice has a truly horrendous mother who says truly appalling things about and to her. But Alice is determined that she can escape from her mother if only she can find herself a husband ,preferably one who actually loves her. So she seeks out Kit and it turns out, he needs recipes for the supper club, so it’s a great quid pro quo. Only Alice is quite the quick study and Kit is very into it.
I really loved the development of their relationship in this one and how Alice really gets to take charge of her life. This one is such an improvement on book one and I would absolutely recommend reading this one, regardless of if you’ve read book one. I’m really looking forward to the next books in the series too!
And there you have it! A good time all around. Have you read any of these? Let me know your thoughts!
2 responses to “Three More ARC Reviews: All the Feels, Christmas in Rose Bend, and The Lady Gets Lucky”
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