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ARC Review: Maggie Moves On by Lucy Score

Publication Date: June 21, 2022


Can these opposites turn up the heat… without burning down the house?

House-flipping sensation and YouTube star Maggie Nichols can’t wait to dig into her next challenge. Arriving in tiny Kinship, Idaho, with only a cot and a coffeemaker, Maggie is prepared to restore a crumbling Victorian mansion in four months or less. She has her to-do lists, her blueprints, and her team. What she doesn’t have is time for sexy, laid-back landscaper Silas Wright.

The man takes flirtation to a whole new level. And he does it shirtless…sometimes pants-less. He and his service school-dropout dog are impressively persistent. But she’s not interested in putting down roots. Not when fans tune in to watch her travel the country turning dilapidated houses into dream homes. A short-term fling on the other hand could fit nicely into her calendar. After all, Maggie remembers what fun is like. Vaguely.

As their summer gets downright steamy, Silas manages to demolish the emotional walls she’s spent years building, sending Maggie into a panic. He’s the wrench in her carefully constructed plans. With the end of the project looming, she has a decision to make. But how can she stay when her entire career is built on moving on?

My Review:

Rating: 3 out of 5.

Disclaimer: I don’t often read contemporary romance, and if I do, it’s almost always queer contemporary romance. So in some ways I was expecting this to not be 100% my thing.

In a lot of ways, I absolutely loved this. I’m a sucker for found family, always, and this is a really excellent example of a huge, boisterous, loving, slowly growing found family. It’s one of the best examples I’ve come across recently, in fact, and that part I would absolutely rate 5 stars.

Similarly Maggie herself I would give a high rating as she was an excellent main character. Hands-on, not afraid to get dirty, quick to see the potential in things, slow to trust, but with a huge heart, once you get past her walls.

My beef is with Silas, the love interest, also known as “Hot Landscaper Guy.” He is… confusing. In most ways he is 100% the typical ‘alpha male’ hero who manhandles, bosses ‘his girl’ around, is sure he knows what’s best for her in all situations, etc. I cannot stand alpha males, hence the lowered rating.

The confusing part comes in when he isn’t being your typical alpha male. He could also be thoughtful, sensitive, emotionally well-adjusted, intelligent, and romantic. Then, at the drop of the hat, alpha male Silas was back. It was weird – almost as if the author were trying to create the ‘perfect man’ to please every reader.

Also, the romance is insta-love and ‘fate’ and he knows he’s gonna marry her from the second he meets her (despite just getting out of a five-year relationship) and he spends the rest of the book attempting to convince her of that when she very much does not want to be convinced. It was very ‘I’m right and you’re wrong about your life choices so you should just do what I say.’

And he would just kiss her into agreeing with him basically. Like he would kiss her and her brain just went right out the window. And he gets all pout-y near the end when he thinks she might actually leave as she’d been planning to all along and he goes off and sulks for a month.

The sex scenes were also VERY alpha male and VERY straight and they made me cringe. I rolled my eyes and skimmed past them.

I also wished quite a few times that this were a queer romance. Like, pairing Maggie with a ‘Hot Landscaper Gal’ would have worked SO much better for me. Really, I would have happily taken a male-but-not-an-alpha-male love interest. Or a nonbinary love interest. I did like the queer secondary love story, but it was very much in the background.

I really enjoyed seeing the house slowly come together as the whole town pitched in, and I also really really enjoyed the historical mystery and treasure hunt storyline.

I should note that people who enjoy the alpha male dynamic will probably really enjoy this story.

*Thanks to NetGalley and Forever (Grand Central Publishing) for providing an e-arc for review.

Favorite Quotes:

“How’d you know I’d be here today?” she asked, shoving her hands in her pockets.

“You just bought yourself a playground. Where else would you be?”

Maggie Moves On by Lucy Score

His mouth was firm and warm against hers, and this time, instead of stealing her breath, it felt like he was giving it back to her. The tightness in her chest loosened, and something light and bright bloomed inside. Like heartburn. Only nice.

Maggie Moves On by Lucy Score

“It’s scary as fuck. I get it. But you can’t wait for everyone to be comfortable when it comes to you living your life. You’re the only one who gets to live it. So you might as well do what you want.”

Maggie Moves On by Lucy Score

“You ever stop and wonder what if life isn’t about earning your way to pleasure? What if it’s enjoying it when it makes itself available to you?”

Maggie Moves On by Lucy Score

“Just because you work hard and play hard doesn’t mean you’ve had to try hard to get what you wanted. Until now.”

Maggie Moves On by Lucy Score

ARC Review: Count Your Lucky Stars by Alexandria Bellefleur


Publishing Date: February 1, 2022


Following Written in the Stars and Hang the Moon, national bestselling author Alexandria Bellefleur pens another steamy queer rom-com about former best friends who might be each other’s second chance at love…

Margot Cooper doesn’t do relationships. She tried and it blew up in her face, so she’ll stick with casual hookups, thank you very much. But now her entire crew has found “the one” and she’s beginning to feel like a fifth wheel. And then fate (the heartless bitch) intervenes. While touring a wedding venue with her engaged friends, Margot comes face-to-face with Olivia Grant—her childhood friend, her first love, her first… well, everything. It’s been ten years, but the moment they lock eyes, Margot’s cold, dead heart thumps in her chest.

Olivia must be hallucinating. In the decade since she last saw Margot, her life hasn’t gone exactly as planned. At almost thirty, she’s been married… and divorced. However, a wedding planner job in Seattle means a fresh start and a chance to follow her dreams. Never in a million years did she expect her important new client’s Best Woman would be the one that got away.

When a series of unfortunate events leaves Olivia without a place to stay, Margot offers up her spare room because she’s a Very Good Person. Obviously. It has nothing to do with the fact that Olivia is as beautiful as ever and the sparks between them still make Margot tingle. As they spend time in close quarters, Margot starts to question her no-strings stance. Olivia is everything she’s ever wanted, but Margot let her in once and it ended in disaster. Will history repeat itself or should she count her lucky stars that she gets a second chance with her first love?

My Review:

Rating: 5 out of 5.

I really, really enjoyed this story. The whole setup is classic romcom material and it was very well written. I was hooked from the beginning and flew through the pages.

Watching Margot and Olivia navigate their past and learn to trust in each other and build a future together was very satisfying. Margot’s friends were amusing and I love how they welcomed Olivia with open arms. Cat was also very amusing.

This was very much a story where the conflict was internal instead of external — learning to deal with feelings that had been shoved down and old hurts that had never healed. Margot and Olivia each have a lot to learn from each other and I love how they actually do learn from each other and admit (albeit reluctantly) that the other might have a point.

*Thanks to NetGalley and Avon for providing an e-arc for review.

ARC Review: Love and Other Disasters by Anita Kelly

Love & Other Disasters

Publishing Date: January 18, 2022


The first openly nonbinary contestant on America’s favorite cooking show falls for their clumsy competitor in this delicious romantic comedy debut “that is both fantastically fun and crack your heart wide open vulnerable.” (Rosie Danan, author of The Roommate)

Recently divorced and on the verge of bankruptcy, Dahlia Woodson is ready to reinvent herself on the popular reality competition show Chef’s Special. Too bad the first memorable move she makes is falling flat on her face, sending fish tacos flying—not quite the fresh start she was hoping for. Still, she’s focused on winning, until she meets someone she might want a future with more than she needs the prize money.

After announcing their pronouns on national television, London Parker has enough on their mind without worrying about the klutzy competitor stationed in front of them. They’re there to prove the trolls—including a fellow contestant and their dad—wrong, and falling in love was never part of the plan.

As London and Dahlia get closer, reality starts to fall away. Goodbye, guilt about divorce, anxiety about uncertain futures, and stress from transphobia. Hello, hilarious shenanigans on set, wedding crashing, and spontaneous dips into the Pacific. But as the finale draws near, Dahlia and London’s steamy relationship starts to feel the heat both in and outside the kitchen—and they must figure out if they have the right ingredients for a happily ever after.

My Review:

Rating: 5 out of 5.

I absolutely LOVED this book. I wasn’t sure what to expect, because I don’t generally read contemporary romance, but I saw ‘queer and nonbinary’ and took a chance, and I’m SO glad I did.

The representation in this book was SO SO good. As a queer, nonbinary person myself, so much of what London said and was rang true. And I loved queer disaster Dahlia so much for her warm acceptance of them. They were just so good together and (almost) everyone in the book was surprisingly cool with respecting them and their pronouns.

I also loved how well-written this was. I was totally invested in this fictional cooking show and I don’t even watch real life cooking shows. Dahlia’s and London’s love of cooking came through so well, I could almost taste the dishes they were creating.

I was also totally invested in their relationship. And the writing was just so beautiful and there were so many passages that just viscerally struck true. I loved the discussion of Dahlia’s divorce, and the way she was trying to reinvent herself in LA, and when London realized that exuberant Dahlia was just… sad.

Gah I just loved it so much.

*Thanks to NetGalley and Forever (Grand Central Publishing) for providing an e-arc for review.

Favorite Quotes:

It would be September soon, and Dahlia was glad. It would be easier, somehow, she thought, to be sad in the fall.

A flurry of expletives ran around London’s mind like foul-mouthed bunnies on speed.