Netgalley review: Curves For Days by Laura Moher

Summary of the book:

Alice Rose Barnes, who chooses to go by Rose, has a history of trauma that has made her wary of trusting others. She wins the lottery, which leads to a sudden influx of people trying to connect with her due to her newfound wealth. Feeling overwhelmed and unsafe, she decides to escape her old life and start fresh in Galway, NC, under a new identity.

In Galway, she manages to build a new life for herself, forming friendships and integrating into the community while keeping her lottery winnings a secret. Her interactions with the grumpy carpenter she hired to reno her new house, Angus Drummond, lead to an unexpected relationship. Angus is someone who values honesty and authenticity, which attracts Rose despite her decision to hide her millionaire status.

As the story unfolds, Angus helps Rose open up about her past trauma, and their relationship gradually evolves from initial tension to a more romantic connection. At the same time, Angus’s own challenges, particularly related to his experiences as a military veteran, are explored, adding depth to his character.

The novel addresses themes of trust, healing from past wounds, the impact of personal history on relationships, and the importance of authenticity in forming meaningful connections. The “slow burn” of their relationship suggests a realistic development of their feelings over time, while the gradual revelation of their secrets adds intrigue and emotional depth to the plot.

General Review:

This book was so amazing.  I have read other books by this publisher, and they have not hit me like his. I loved the setup. I loved the setting. I loved the main characters so much. I love the secondary characters. It was impossible for me to find major fault with this one. It is a cozy, charming read with deep issues addressed and dealt with in ways that seem realistic and sweet. Can’t wait t read more from this debut author.


Rose’s trauma is believable and relatable.  As a plus-size woman and someone bullied in school, I found myself cheering her on so hard.  I wanted to see her move past her trauma and find the connections she was looking for. While I understood why she was so leery to disclose her lottery winnings, I knew that it would be the downfall of her relationship with Angus.  I loved Angus; he is my perfect book MMC. But Angus has some culpability here as well. He is so blinded by his own issues that he is not as forthcoming with Rose as he needs to be for her to see how important the absolute truth is to him.

As for secondary characters, I hate the ones Moher wants me to hate and love the ones that are so refreshingly kind and sweet and accepting of Rose.

Tropes and Triggers:

Slow burn, small town. Enemies to Friends to Lovers, Grumpy/sunshine, Forced Proximity

fatphobia, death, sexual assault/rape, bullying, PTSD, suicide (mentioned).


“Kissing Angus was… a lovely way of getting to know my sweet friend better. How can a man who could break me in half with his hands be so incredibly gentle? He tasted like… security and spice. And he held me like I was treasure. Wanted you to feel safe. Lordy.”

“There’s not a damn thing missing from you, Rosie. You’re one of the most complete people I know.”



NetGalley Review: Once More with Feeling by Elissa Sussman

Summary of book:

 This is the story of Kathleen Rosenburg (Katee Rose) and Cal Kirby, who were previously involved in a scandal that resulted in the destruction of her career. Now, Katee has left her pop star image behind and is living an ordinary life as Kathleen Rosenberg. However, Cal reappears in her life with an opportunity to star in a Broadway show he’s directing written by her best friend specifically for her.

As the story unfolds, Kathleen is torn between her desire to pursue her dreams of performing and her apprehension about working with Cal again. Both characters blame each other for their past, creating a tense and ego-driven atmosphere during rehearsals. Despite their reservations, Kathleen and Cal find themselves drawn to each other once again, unable to deny the chemistry between them.

The story’s central question revolves around whether it’s a good idea for Kathleen to rekindle her relationship with Cal, considering their history of being burned by their past choices. This theme explores the complexities of second chances, forgiveness, and the risks involved in pursuing one’s passions.

The story blends elements of romance, drama, and the entertainment industry, delving into the challenges and pressures faced by celebrities. It also explores themes of personal growth, self-discovery, and the pursuit of happiness.

General Review:

I take handwritten notes for my Netgalley reviews, but this book literally has two lines in my notebook.  I was so into Sussman’s book that I stopped thinking in terms of a review and just fell into this story.  I stayed up until I was finished because I loved these characters so much and the story had so many of my favorite tropes and plot points.  I enjoyed the Then/Now structure which gives what happened then tension to the story. Enemies to Lovers and Second Chance romance tropes are done so well here. The anger Kathleen has for a system that punishes her for her choices is so relatable and her anger at Cal for not stepping up for her drives the story in a way that is relatable and believable. 


Loved the fleshed-out main characters and unlike so many other stories found the secondary characters multi-dimensional and realistic. Harriet’s wrestling with the baggage of her friend and the man who holds her musical’s success in his hands was well done and totally human.

Tropes and Triggers:

Friends to lovers to enemies to lovers, Second Chances /  Infidelity, Panic attacks/disorders, Body shaming, Eating disorder


“His mouth found my throat and I found myself thanking whatever lovers he’d had between then and now, because this? This wasn’t a boy unsure of himself.”

“I just wanted you to know. That I love you. Harriet thinks I have been in love with you since we were kids and I think she’s right.”


Review: Hate Me by Summer O’Toole

Read “Make Me” for a book club, and some folks said book #2 was better. They were not wrong. Team Finn all the way.

Series: Fox Family Crime Syndicate

CW: Dubious consent (dub-con), Non-con, Recording sex without consent, Murder on page, Torture on page, Mentions of (off page) suicide, Grief/Loss of loved ones, Emotional and physical abuse from a parent, Panic attacks, Primal/CNC, Breath Play, Exhibitionism, Impact Play, Orgasm denial and forced orgasm, Praise, Degradation, Back-door play

Summer O’Toole

Review: Bohemian by Kathryn Nolan

Summary: When Calvin Ellis’ life of routine and structure is overturned with the death of his grandfather and his inheritance of a beloved yet troubled bookstore in Big Sur, California. A bookstore once famous for its literary gatherings and rebellious tendencies is now in danger of closing its doors.
When Lucia Bell shows up to a photo shoot at a bookshop located in the middle of nowhere, her glossy lifestyle as a supermodel is abruptly brought into sharp focus. She unexpectedly finds herself captivated by the mild-mannered, geeky proprietor. Calvin and Lucia explore their innermost hopes and dreams when a storm traps her in Big Sur for a few extra days. When the storm finally dies down, they face a moment of truth; the path ahead will involve making a choice, but the answer is uncertain as to whether their future will involve one another.

Review: This book is my favorite read of 2023 so far. Nerdy, awkward, book-loving Calvin (with a strong hot alpha hidden away) pairs with his opposite, Lucia, who is a secret poet. I loved the setting. Book lovers and publishing plots are my kryptonite; this one has books, poetry, and flirting using both.

Characters: I have read many reviews that think these main characters are unrealistic. For me, that was part of their charm. If I wanted realism in my reading, I would focus on non-fiction. A book-loving computer nerd who comes to terms with his sexual kinks, swoon. A supermodel who really was a pawn of her family and always wanted to be a poet, swoon. Add into this secondary characters who have me running to follow up books (I see you, Gabe and Nia) is why Kathryn Nolan is on my list of authors to complete their whole bibliography this year.

Tropes and Triggers: Forced Proximity, Opposites Attract, Soft Dom; BDSM, Explicit Sex, Death of a loved one, and grief

Plot: I loved the Central CA location, which allowed for a wild small-town feel, exactly what this story needed. The plot of scholarly vs. Hollywood worked in this location because of the inclusion of the infamous bookstore and its literary glamour vs. the modeling photo shoot and its Hollywood glamour. The whole plot of this book is the juxtaposition between things, scholarly vs. glitzy, introvert vs. extrovert, dom vs. sub, etc. And KN worked it supremely well.

“But the stars were bold and big, and the ocean was roaring against the shore, and I felt, so clearly, the rightness of the universe.”

“This bookstore—Calvin’s bookstore—was like something out of my wildest dreams. When I was little, before modeling became my life, all I wanted was for my parents to drop me off at a bookstore like this one, where I could lose myself in words for hours.”

“You bring joy and love to my life. I love your supposed imperfections. I should have told you I believe in you, and I want you to do the same. I should have told you that you have so much to offer to the world, and I want a front row seat to your continued blossoming.”

Stars: This book broke my star rating system. 5-stars are not enough.

Ten Gold Stars - 10

Final Offer by Lauren Asher

I loved the Dreamland Billionaires series, and I am sorry it is over. Cal broke my heart in every good and angsty way.
#AngstistheNewObssession #SecondChance #1SentenceReviews #FebruaryReads

TW: substance addiction; brief mentions of terminal illness; death of a parent (off-page); grief; parental verbal abuse.

Lauren Asher

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2024 Reading Challenge

2024 Reading Challenge
Carrie has read 92 books toward her goal of 300 books.

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