Following Spoiler Alert, Olivia Dade returns with another utterly charming romantic comedy about a devil-may-care actor—who actually cares more than anyone knows—and the no-nonsense woman hired to keep him in line.
Alexander Woodroe has it all. Charm. Sex appeal. Wealth. Fame. A starring role as Cupid on TV’s biggest show, God of the Gates. But the showrunners have wrecked his character, he’s dogged by old demons, and his post-show future remains uncertain. When all that reckless emotion explodes into a bar fight, the tabloids and public agree: his star is falling.
Enter Lauren Clegg, the former ER therapist hired to keep him in line. Compared to her previous work, watching over handsome but impulsive Alex shouldn’t be especially difficult. But the more time they spend together, the harder it gets to keep her professional remove and her heart intact, especially when she discovers the reasons behind his recklessness…not to mention his Cupid fanfiction habit.
When another scandal lands Alex in major hot water and costs Lauren her job, she’ll have to choose between protecting him and offering him what he really wants—her. But he’s determined to keep his improbably short, impossibly stubborn, and extremely endearing minder in his life any way he can. And on a road trip up the California coast together, he intends to show her exactly what a falling star will do to catch the woman he loves: anything at all.
Olivia Dade grew up an undeniable nerd, prone to ignoring the world around her as she read any book she could find. Her favorites, though, were always, always romances. As an adult, she earned an M.A. in American history and worked in a variety of jobs that required the donning of actual pants: Colonial Williamsburg interpreter, high school teacher, academic tutor, and (of course) librarian. Now, however, she has finally achieved her lifelong goal of wearing pajamas all day as a hermit-like writer and enthusiastic hag. She currently lives outside Stockholm with her delightful family and their ever-burgeoning collection of books.
If you want to find me online, here’s where to go!
11/26/2021: I've been waiting so anxiously for this book that I was nervous to actually read it. Would it be as good as the first? Would I even like Alex as a main character? I finally got my hands on a copy of the book and sat down to read it.
Reading about a character who is of a different size then you normally find in this kind of book, was nice but I'm still not overly fond of how Alex would describe her throughout the book. Even as he started to fall for her. He still continued to use words like "round" even at the end. Maybe Lauren is fine with it, IDK. But if my husband called me round - we might have a problem.
Overall the book was beautiful. I loved how their romance took time. I felt like I better understood Alex and why he seemed so scrambled and impulsive. Lauren was such a good balance for him. She understood and didn't try to fix anything, because there was nothing to fix. She just let him be and he really needed that. And Lauren really needed Alex to help her realize she had actual worth.
...and without giving away too much, I can say that the the pegging is
5/31/2021: Holy shit, I got an early copy from Edelweiss. I cannot wait to read this!!!
I absolutely hate to say it because I adored the first book in this series, but this one did not work for me. I was so excited for this because the snippets we got of Alex and Lauren in Spoiler Alert were EVERYTHING, but they almost felt like an entirely different couple in this one??? All of their interactions felt really forced and heavy handed and I didn't believe their chemistry at all. I also feel like (in a complete contrast to the first book), the sex scenes in this one were awkward as heck. I didn't believe that Alex and Lauren really liked each other, so reading about them being intimate didn't work for me and I am just SO SAD ABOUT IT. I will definitely read more from Olivia Dade in the future because I am all about romance where fat girls get theirs, but All The Feels unfortunately was a pretty big miss for me. Womp x9874923462734
Hooray! When I read Spoiler Alert I felt so much love for geeky couple Marcus and April and I thought I couldn’t enjoy second book more! But I was definitely, truly, extremely wrong! I gave Spoiler Alert five stars so I should give All the feels six stars to be fair!
Those incredibly witty, funny banters, hilarious text messages gave me stomach cramps because of laughing too hard. I knew Alex from the first book but when I learn from his traumatic , his guilt feelings, his sweet and vulnerable sides, his illness, I just wanted to give him longest and tightest hugs!
And what about Nanny Clegg, harpy, Wren, Alex’s Wren...don’t get fooled of her cool, tough, blank vibes she gives: that’s just the facade. Of course she’s kind hearted, trustworthy, reasonable, a real friend you can lean on and share all your secrets: those amazing traits make her the greatest trauma therapist. She lets people criticize her looks, her choices. She get used to be insulted for years. Even her loved ones don’t truly understand what she’s been getting through.
When the popular TV shoe Gods of the Gates’ Cupid a.k.a. charming, charismatic, ultra witty actor Alexander Woodroe involved in a bar fight, finding himself at jail, the show runners hired someone to control and watch him 24/7 not to harm his character and public image. And this babysitter is showrunner’s cousin Lauren Clegg, an ER therapist who needs a current break from her job, but she cannot say no to her family and her holiday plans in Spain are canceled when she makes mistake to stop by at show set to say hi to her cousin she truly hates.
Now she’s been hired to accompany him at everywhere including LA house till the show airs its last episode. If Alex doesn’t do what Lauren says, they will replace her with more vicious babysitter and he will suffer from the legal and professional consequences outlined in his contract.
Lauren is trapped in her job because she cannot say no to her family and the money they offered will give her enough time to think what she’s gonna do with her life without worrying about her bills.
And Alex is trapped with her because he has commitments, sending regularly exact amount of fund to charities and his mom and he doesn’t want to ruin his entire career he’s built!
At the beginning he acts like a spoiled child who wants to get full attention of their parents around her, talking nonstop, making jokes, doing everything to crack the facade she’s built around to make a connection.
At first Lauren thinks she’s gonna blast because of babysitting a whiny, selfish, narcissistic Hollywood brat! But as soon as she learns more about him and spend more time with Alex, she finds out he’s kind hearted, being loved by his entire crew and generous man who helps the people suffer from traumatic experiences.
A true and genuine friendship blossoms around them which eventually turns into an intimate relationship. They have feelings for each other but the people can be so mean, hostile and criticizing with their biased thoughts when they talk about a Hollywood star’s love life.
Alex can be so impulsive, acts violently without pondering and his volatile manners can ruin his entire career when he sees someone he cares hurts! And Lauren never stands for herself, letting people hurt her not to get involved in fights !
Can they change them and meet in the middle for a second chance of happiness? Or are they doomed to fail from the beginning?
Oh boy! I can repeat millions time: I love this book so much! I love this book so much! I love this book so much! I love this book so much! I love this book so much!... it goes on and on!
I highly advise you to take this freaking amazing novel at your reading list. This is one of best five romance reads of the year! I laughed! I smiled! I cried so hard! But when you finished the last page: I felt extremely good! This is the magic of great book which always heals your soul and fills your heart with happiness!
So many thanks to NetGalley and Avon and Harper Voyager for sharing this amazing digital reviewer copy with me in exchange my honest opinions.
I usually don't rate a book unless I've read most of it, but I couldn't push myself to finish this one, and I think that deserves consideration.
It is very hard to get past the first 25% of this book. The male MC constantly negs the female MC... like constantly. It isn't charming, and it wasn't funny to me. Yes, I know he is a "good guy," but I found it extremely hard to see any sparks happening between them when he constantly calls her bird-like, short, and round... like, barely concealed disgust for her looks. This is supposed to be an enemies-to-lovers story, but I think the author didn't quite go about it the right way.
The chemistry felt so forced that I couldn't finish it. Maybe I'll return to it one day, but today is not that day.
All the Feels by Olivia Dade is a 2021 Avon publication.
Alex, who plays 'Cupid' on the wildly popular show, "Gods of the Gates", is having a hard time with his image. His repeated and very public scuffles have landed him in hot water with the powers that be. To keep him from blowing up his career, he has been given one last chance… and a minder….
Enter Lauren Clegg. Lauren desperately needs a break from her job as an ER therapist. She’s offered a handsome sum of money by her cousin to keep Alex in line. The position is challenging because of Alex’s impulsivity, but once Lauren gets to know him, the lines between professional and personal begin to blur…
While I enjoyed ‘Spoiler Alert’ well enough, I’m not really the demographic the author is writing for, and it made me feel old. LOL! I had already queued up this follow-up, so I felt obligated to at least give it a chance.
As it turns out, I enjoyed this one more than the last. I found Alex’s guilt complex issues compelling, and Lauren’s serious high stress job burnout was heartrending and eye-opening, as well.
The way the romance developed was absolutely adorable! Alex is funny and sweet, despite his reputation, and Lauren was the perfect match for him. The couple complimented one another perfectly. Their banter is so entertaining!!
The fanfic is still a part of the book, but it was toned down just a bit, and because I had a little more familiarity with it this time around, it wasn’t as much of a distraction.
Overall, I went into this one with a little bit of trepidation, but ended up getting swept up in the charm, humor, and warmth of this story. I loved it all the way from beginning to end!
After reading 'Spoiler Alert' last year, I was looking forward to reading All the Feels. I just knew this book about Marcus's best friend Alex would be so much fun. And parts of it were. I truly enjoyed a lot about this book and I liked both Alex and Lauren, Alex specifically was fantastic. But, and this is a huge BUT I never felt the connection between them. As a romance, I need that spark, that chemistry, and it was lacking for me. Sigh. I wanted to love this, but the romance wasn't what I wanted it to be. I enjoy Dade's writing and I loved that she talks about important topics, but Lauren and Alex together. I didn't feel it.
Olivia Dade is officially joining the ranks as one of my favorite romance authors because this is the third book from her that I have adored! All the Feels is laugh out loud funny (okay, humor is subjective, but I certainly laughed out loud!), but also has a lot of heart and gets into bigger issues like toxic family dynamics and being the child of a domestic violence survivor.
It's an opposites attract story- Alex is charming and chaotic, trying to manage his ADHD alongside a Hollywood career. Lauren is reserved, organized, and self-assured. When Alex gets bad press after a barroom brawl, Lauren is brought on as his minder to keep him out of trouble. It's a slow burn relationship- they become good friends but keep their mutual attraction under wraps until she is no longer tied to him through her employment. (yay for healthy power dynamics!) But things do head up eventually and I was here for all of it! Plus we get fantastic fat rep, and not just with an hourglass figure! Dade does a fabulous job of being body positive and letting Lauren be sexy without it becoming a weird fetish thing. And the BANTER! I love the banter so very much. This is so my thing and one of my favorite romances from 2021. I received an advance copy of this book for review via NetGalley. All opinions are my own.
Quick update after reading some other reviews: I find it interesting that so many people seem not to get the chemistry between the characters because Lauren isn't described as pretty and Alex affectionately teases her about being short and birdlike. I love the fact that Lauren doesn't have to be traditionally pretty for Alex to be into her. And I love the fact that we aren't allowed to FORGET that she's not traditionally pretty. She's a plain, imperfect heroine with beautiful eyes and features that are compelling and appealing to Alex, which is all that really matters. I think if the same characterization was done with a male character, no one would bat an eye because men don't have to be "pretty" or conventionally attractive to be desirable. Well that shouldn't apply to women either! All that to say, I was super into the slow-burn chemistry. The heat in a touch or a look...I loved it. And I loved them together. He had a good sense for what would actually be hurtful to her and never did that. Okay, getting off my soapbox now.
Sometime in the last month or so, I was listening to a romance podcast where the cohosts applauded an author for the clear love they have for their characters. They're nuanced, they make mistakes, they're imperfect, they want to be better, and they're treated with respect by the author.
This book isn't that book.
It's a very interesting choice to spend the first 25% of your book negging a heroine. Lauren is not ""traditionally attractive,"" and you cannot forget it. Alex acknowledges she isn't pretty, Lauren acknowledges she isn't pretty, her cousin acknowledges she's pretty, all the background narration acknowledges she isn't pretty. (As an aside, Lauren on the cover of this book? GORGEOUS.) Alex never calls her fat, but he sure does spend a lot of time reminding her that she's irritatingly short and making digs at her intelligence, as well as mentally remarking about things like her crooked nose, her wrinkles, and her undereye bags.
Lauren is less of a character and more of a way to prove that Alex is a Good Man. And the thing is, I don't think we need to have that proven. I think it's really clear that Alex is a good man, who cares about treating people with decency, who wants to support the people he loves, who understands so much of his privilege. But then he's just so rude to Lauren under the guise of a sharp wit, when she has done literally nothing to earn his ire besides being paid to sit and read a book while he works out. He's so quick to jump in and defend her to other people, but refuses to defend her from himself. Marcus even points out this hypocrisy at one point, reminding him that he's constantly calling her a harpy and a shrew -- but Alex thinks it's okay because he does it because he thinks he's funny, not because he thinks it's true.
I like Alex. I think he's intelligent, thoughtful, and vulnerable (his reaction in the black moment especially so). And I think there's literally no need for him to be so mean to Lauren over and over, even if it's masked by this "just joshin'!" aura. To be clear, Lauren really never takes any of these comments to heart. But I think you can write a minder/enemies-to-lovers story without spending a truly irrational amount of time reminding the reader that the world thinks the heroine is ugly. The rudeness eases up, but it lasted long enough to make me seriously consider DNFing the book and to make the story nearly irredeemable for me.
I don't think that Alex and Lauren were treated with respect by Dade. I think Lauren wasn't given room to shine as her own human being self, and I think she did Alex dirty by making him act like a petulant and rude child to Lauren for as long as he did when he could have been straight golden retriever and get essentially the same story out of it. It's disappointing, particularly given the level of trust a lot of communities have put into this author.
The best thing about this book was also the best thing about the previous book! The delightful text exchanges, snippets of past movies, and best of all, the fanfic excerpts are back. I would absolutely love to read more fanfics about either the show they're on or the characters in this universe -- it's truly shocking to me that nothing exists on AO3.
I'm not going to NOT mention this book to people asking for recs. But I'll certainly be mindful of who I recommend it to, and it won't be coming out of my mouth without some heavy caveats. And after all of this, we did't even get
This is a companion story that centers around the actors in a game of thrones esque show and their love interests (who are all plus sized). This companion series does a good job of not only addressing fatphobia but also has the lead male characters so far have their own struggles (the main character in this has ADHD for example). The characters in this series are also older than a lot of romances, in their mid to late 30s. These are cute but something keeps me from connecting as much as I’d like to. The male main character in this comes off as a little immature for an almost 40 year old and there is some heavy leaning into fanfiction that becomes a bit heavy handed.
I had a really hard time with this book. For the first half of the book, I wanted to DNF it. I really didn't like Alex's character or how he treated/talked to Lauren. He was so obsessed with her body and describing her as a bird TO HER FACE? Like she wants to hear you constantly obsess over the shape of her body?? This went on for so long and I was so over it. But, the book did really pick up in plot halfway through the book and Lauren and Alex really did share some tender moments together. But overall this book dragged on too long and it was hard for me to see what they really saw in each other. I didn't buy their romance or their HEA, and I really didn't care for the story overall when I finished.
Hi, everyone! In case you haven't already heard, here are more details about my changed release date and how to get my bonus pegging scene for ALL THE FEELS:
1. ALL THE FEELS is now coming out three weeks later than originally intended because of supply chain issues. The new pub date is 11/16/2021. I'm so sorry!
2. The story was originally called SLOW BURN...for good reason. So those of you eagerly awaiting The Peg That Was Promised won't find it inside the actual book, since Lauren wouldn't go from zero to pegging that quickly. (Alex totally would.) But: I always intended to write the pegging scene, so I did. It's the length of a chapter, it's canon, and it's yours if you preorder ALL THE FEELS at any vendor, in any format (ebook, paperback, or audio), or request that your library buy the book. #ChekhovsStrapOn
U.S. READERS: To receive the scene after preordering, go to https://m.lndg.page/BSq6Zd and fill out the appropriate info through 10/31/2021 at 11:59 p.m. ET. For legal reasons, Avon couldn't change the end date, so starting 11/1/2021 at 12 a.m. EST, there's a NEW landing page to register U.S. preorders until 11/21/2021 at 11:59 p.m. EST: https://m.lndg.page/rH8cHW. If you have questions, reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org with “All the Feels preorder campaign” in the subject line.
INTERNATIONAL READERS AND LIBRARY REQUESTERS: I didn't want to leave you out, so I set up my own form: https://forms.gle/5o6F26MfoQtFuDXW8! After you preorder and/or request that your library buy ALL THE FEELS, go to the form and enter the necessary info through 11/21/2021 at 11:59 p.m. EST.
EVERYONE: Please make sure you keep track of your receipt or screenshot when you preorder or make your library request, because you'll need to upload the image! Also, if you've already registered once, you **do not** need to register again. I promise!
3. And finally: Readers in the UK are getting a bit of a treat, since my publisher there didn't have the same supply chain issues! You'll be receiving the book on 10/26/2021, as originally planned. :-)
That's it for now, as far as I know! If something else comes up, I'll keep you informed. Thank you again for all your kindness and patience. I can't tell you how grateful I am. ♥♥♥
I read an ARC of this last year and forgot to review it. So, here we go.
I didn't like this one as much as the first book, Spoiler Alert. Mainly because this one felt like a repetition of the previous book's themes and general plotline. But, also partly because I simply did not buy into the character's supposed chemistry.
I didn't like the way that Alex talked, or even thought, about Lauren. He was lowkey disrespectful. He kept going on about how she was unattractive and 'bird like', only to act surprised when Lauren took offense to this.
Honestly, I was so excited to read this one. I loved Spoiler Alert and the relationship between those two main characters. I also really liked the subtle hits in that novel about what Alex and Lauren's relationship would be, and I couldn't wait to get to it. Unfortunately, it just wasn't what I expected it to be. I am very disappointed, but I simply couldn't get into it like I would have liked.
Overall, this one just wasn't for me. That being said, I still really look forward to more of the author's work in the future.
**I received an ARC of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.**
Let's just get the joke out of the way now. ALL THE FEELS only gave me some feels.
Okay, moving on.
But seriously. I don't know if maybe SPOILER ALERT just caught me at the right time or what but this one only had a few moments that actually worked for me. Mostly the discussion around Alex and his mum. I got a little misty about all that so, yes, those scenes had all the feels but the rest? Eh.
While I absolutely appreciated the role and presence of all the body positivity overall I just didn't love this one or the characters. Both had their lovely moments but in general I didn't like either one and so together it was hard to root for them.
Also don't play a drinking game with the words "rubbed her forehead" or "rubbed her temples" or "Nanny Clegg". You will regret it.
Oddly enough, where I found the fanfiction elements in book one to be fun (at least from what I remember) I found them very out of place with this storyline. I didn't mind the jokes and delight about tropes but the actual writing of fic? It just seemed out of character.
I will definitely read on in this world but maybe I'll scale down my expectations for book three. I'm definitely here for all the positive rep and love that Dade will likely give us more of that. Also, I just love the snarky commentary around this not-GoT but definitely GoT show at the centre of the plot. It's incredibly satisfying.
When Alexander Woodroe, the star of America’s biggest hit T.V. show God of the Gates, gets in a barroom brawl his publicity team decides that is the final straw and he needs a handler of sorts. Enter Lauren Clegg, not only is she cousin to the decision maker in this equation, but she’s also qualified for the job in some respects as she’s an E.R. therapist who is taking a hiatus due to burn-out. She needs money and the gig is only a couple of months until the show wraps up. Easy peasy.
So this is a story that attempts to disprove the idea that . . . .
Unfortunately, it harped SO. MUCH. on Lauren being a real uggo rather than building any sort of romantic chemistry between the two leads that I had a hard time getting in the groove, so to speak. The friendzone with her taking the role as the Grumpy Gus and him the Mary Sunshine? That was a delightful twist on the norm and (for the most part) cute and funny, but until they were actually doing the ol’ . . . .
(And yes, I 100% was trying to picture Liam and Rebel the entire time I was reading this.)
I wasn’t feeling any sort of schmoopy vibes at all.
As a fat girl myself, I love this new wave of body positive romances and I really loved that Lauren was confident enough that petty insults or snide comments rolled off her back. But again, something was just a bit off that prevented me from having “all the feels” in this romantic comedy. I skipped over Spoiler Alert because, as I have said before, fan fiction is just not my jam. Having it included in this storyline as well seemed to be a stretch and a bit of a thirsty attempt to maintain the fans of the original. And WTF was up with all of the “pegging” talk? For as much as Alex wrote about it, Lauren did him dirty by not fulfilling his fantasies hahahaha ; ) Either that, or the author really needs to stay in her lane if she’s uncomfortable actually writing about certain sex acts.
This was so delightful! If you liked Spoiler Alert, you’ll love this one. It’s a very similar storyline in that it’s gorgeous Hollywood actor man and plus sized woman and bring on the representation! Dade always manages to weave in so much good rep without it feeling forced. Alex, our hero, has ADHD and seemingly violent tendencies (which we learn is simply not true) and is struggling with his role in Hollywood and his past but is an outwardly happy for lucky dude. Lauren, our heroine, is a more serious and realistic woman who has to learn how to put her needs over others and gets assigned to essentially babysit Alex.
I loved how many tropes are in this book, grump and sunshine is one of my favorites and this book has that but reversed from the traditional roles; he is the sunshine and she is the grump in this case. So not only are there solid romance tropes throughout the book, they are self aware of them. There’s an “only one bed” scene and Alex is fully aware and does a happy dance because that’s one of his favorite tropes in fanfic. I was dying laughing the entire time. So while this seems like a fun and fluffy romcom, there are some heavier undertones to help explain why Alec and Lauren are the way they are. It was adorable and fun and definitely a book I’d recommend,
3.5 stars - This is a case in a romance where I like both of the leads, but I'm just not totally sold on their chemistry together. I think it came together (mostly) for me in the final chapter & epilogue, but for the most part, this was a lot of me enjoying Alex and enjoying Wren, but feeling like their dynamic together wasn't totally believable. That said, this is charming and I'm excited to see more in the series. I like the way Dade reflects the experiences of fat women in their families and love lives, and these books consistently make me laugh. In particular, I loved the glimpses at the fanfic again as well as Whiskers, the cat with a memoir.
I'm such an idiot. I've had an ARC for All The Feels for months now but I kept pushing it off because it was one of two last 2021 releases I was most looking forward to. Amanda at Talk_About_Swoon calls that "book edging" - a genius word if you ask me! Anyways, I have MAJOR regrets for not having picked it up sooner because All The Feels was a goddamn delight!
Listen, I'm a big Olivia Dade fan and Spoiler Alert was a fantastic read for me last year. I didn't think she could top Marcus and April as a couple (ALL THE HEART EYES), but then she went and crafted Lauren and Alex, and wow!!! Reflecting on it now, I definitely think Lauren and Alex's burgeoning love story was even better for me.
So what's the set up here? Lauren is hired to be a minder for Alex, an actor on a Game of Thrones-que show, by her cousin and one of his showrunners because he has developed a bit of a tabloid reputation after getting into a bar fight. Alex is not happy that this short bird-nosed woman (his words not mine) is basically his babysitter, but he stomachs her because she is cute and he can't escape her. As this is a romance novel, them working together ends with slow growing feelings between the two and Olivia Dade brings all the swoon
Ok so both Lauren and Alex are amazing and I loved them both. That being said, my heart had a softer spot for Alex because he was just so damn lovable?? He was a complete chaos demon and just so full of energy stemming from his ADHD brain. The man felt every emotion at level 10000 and it made him charming. There was not one scene when he was being playful and goofy that I didn't sport a stupid grin on my face. Alex felt different from most romance novel heroes to me and it's hard to describe, so you'll have to read the book just to fall for this ball of energy. Suffice it to say, I loved Alex!! I mean, I did tweet at Olivia lamenting her lack of instructions on where to find an Alex after reading the book because HMPH!! LOL.
Lauren offered the perfect balance to Alex's chaos-demonic ways. She's much more grounded but has an equally big heart. As with most of Olivia Dade's heroines, Lauren is also a fat woman. Olivia writes fat women with a lot of care and love and what she did here with Lauren was no different. Lauren is 1000% comfortable in her own skin and body, but she's also grown so accustomed to people being rude and judgemental to her. She kind of just accepts it as a part of her life and it's hard to read but incredibly realistic. In All The Feels, she goes through this arc of learning to stand up for herself and you'll for sure be cheering her on. I also really appreciated the storyline about her feeling burnout at her job (she's a mental health clinician_ because talk about relatable.
As with every Olivia Dade book I have read, All The Feels has a very swoony romance! It has a slowwwww-burn romance, my fave!! Alex and Lauren develop a friendship at first during their time together which mostly involves Alex endearingly annoy the hell out of her. They eventually grow to see the kindness in each other and feelings beyond friendship blossom. It gave me ALL THE DAMN FEELS and it did leave me happy sighing throughout the book. There's the one-bed trope, a road-trip, and SO MUCH MORE!
Also, this book is such a pleasant reading experience because it's not only sweet, but also really funny. Alex definitely brought all the humor here, but omg, I loved the little snippets of his Gods of Hunger castmates group chat.
You can probably tell from my gushing review that All The Feels is one of my favorite books of 2021. Can you blame me though when the book has one of the biggest simps for a love interest?? I'm a proud member of the Olivia Dade fanclub and I shall eagerly await the next companion in the series!
Content notes: Discussion of intimate partner violence (to a secondary character, not on-page), ADHD, fatphobia, toxic work environment
Relationship disclosure: Olivia Dade and I are mutuals on social media
Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for allowing me to read an e-ARC of this in exchange for an honest review!
I absolutely adored Spoiler Alert, so it was unfortunate and disappointing that I did not enjoy this one as much.
First off, the plot kind of felt non-existent in this book... things were supposedly happening but it felt like nothing really actually did. A lot of the events in the book and moments that led to Lauren and Alex being in certain situations just felt unrealistic. Even worse, a lot of the tine they spent together in the beginning where they got to know each other and spend alone time together was glossed over... there were a lot of time jumps in this book especially in the beginning and that just left me feeling unsatisfied and as if I was missing something. For me, in a romance book, I really enjoy seeing the characters interact and learn about each other and grow to understand one another, so those moments spent together in the beginning are some of my favorites and sadly those were not present in this book.
Secondly, the relationship between Lauren and Alex felt kind of... forced. I didn't feel the chemistry between the characters, which made me really sad, because it was dripping between them in the few moments they showed up in Spoiler Alert. The characters themselves were pretty good, interesting enough and well-developed, but a lot of that got lost along the way. By the time they actually got together, I didn't really care anymore and was bored... I had to force myself to read the last 200 pages of the book.
After getting into a bar fight, Alexander Woodroe is in trouble. This isn't new. Thanks to his ADHD, he often gets into trouble. But this time it's different, the two producers of the tv show that he stars on have had enough of his antics. To keep him in line, they assign him a minder... one of the producer's cousins. A woman who looks like a bird and is remarkably unflappable. Considering that she's his minder, Alex finds himself liking her. And then feeling more...
In desperate need of a break from her life as an ER therapist, Lauren Clegg didn't expect to get a job keeping tabs on a bonafide celebrity. But to keep the peace in her family when her cousin Ron asks for her help, she gives it. Grudgingly. It doesn't help that she finds Alex attractive but also a bit of an a-hole. A charming a-hole, but an a-hole regardless. Still, she can't help but like him... and maybe even feel more for him. But her assignment is only for nine months, besides guys like him never fall for a girls like her. Except...
Okay, All the Feels totally lives up to its title. This book hit me in the feels. Multiple times. Like so many times. When I first read Spoiler Alert, I wasn't sure how I'd feel about this story. I wasn't totally in love with Alex, and Lauren wasn't a major character in the first book at all. But I trusted that the author would be able to make this pairing work, and she did.
There's a lot of good in here. First off, can we talk about how Alex has ADHD and how it manifests? We get to see his Rejection Sensitivity Dysphoria and how it can cause him to make poor decisions or jump to conclusions. We get to see how the medications that he takes for it both help and hurt. We get to see his decision processes which can be a bit chaotic and feel impulsive to the extreme. We get to see how he hyper-fixates and also how he struggles. The portrayal of ADHD in this is well done and while there is no one universal ADHD experience this is a pretty good portrayal in fiction.
I also like the theme of choice that runs through this book. People have to choose for themselves who they want to be. But sometimes they needs a little help making good decisions. And that goes for everyone.
I really found myself liking Alex as a character. Especially his joy in simple things like taking walks, various fanfic tropes, and even just going on an old fashioned road trip. His acceptance of fan culture and his desire to be a part of it was adorable. I mean there's a discussion on Sex Pollen. Sex Pollen for goodness sakes! I loved it.
I also really liked Lauren. She's comfortable and content in her skin even if the rest of the world isn't. While she doesn't like being made fun of for things she can't control (who does?), she doesn't let others define her. However, what she does do is rate her own self worth as lower than those around her. This isn't a fat person problem, although it does happen. It's a human problem. Particularly a woman problem. And I like that her growth is in finding her worth and what will make her happy while not sucking all of the joy out of her life.
There's some great supporting characters. The cast of the show are great as in the first book. And I really liked that we got to see Marcus being a good friend. It's also nice to see a good parent in these books. Alex's mom is kinda awesome. Lauren also has her own support system, but it's smaller and that's part of her arc. There's just so much in this book that I loved. I laughed out loud so many times. So so many times. I found the little interludes great.... particularly the group chats... (it's honestly all about Whiskers ~_^) I loved the consent. I loved that both leads were in their late thirties. I loved that the book featured a plus-sized heroine who was okay with her weight... even if the rest of the world wasn't.
Honestly, I hope that there's more to this series. This book and the previous book are going on my reread list and if you're a fan of fandom and plus-sized romances, then you need to read this book.
This book hit me right in the feels. And for that it gets...
This is potentially my favorite Olivia Dade book yet, and that is saying something. I generally don't care that much about male characters but I'm obsessed with Alex Woodroe and also might be him???? Excellent ADHD rep, is all I'm saying. The book used to be called Slow Burn, and it makes you feel it, but it's definitely worth it. Love these idiots to lovers.
All the Feels by Olivia Dade was my first book of hers and wish I could say I enjoyed it. All the elements for a promising story was there. Tropes I enjoy, slow burn and some enemies to lovers and the overall romantic comedy vibe. I definitely got slow burn but the enemies to lovers aspect didn’t work. I didn’t like Alex or Lauren. His remarks to and of Lauren was cruel and not funny in any way. Alex kept going at her and Lauren did what she’s been used to. Took it and let it bounce off of her.
It was a very slow paced story and I felt there was nothing interesting that happened to force the story forward. The interludes interrupted the pace and flow of the story. I understood the purpose of them but for me they became an irritation. Alex and Lauren had no chemistry at all. She was hired to make sure Alex didn’t get into trouble off set and throughout the entire story I felt a distance or disconnect between these two. So when I couldn’t feel neither chemistry or a connection it felt weird and forced when it progressed to them being intimate and starting a relationship. I appreciate the author for taking on important topics such as plus size representation and ADHD but the overall execution lacked. I’m really disappointed this story didn’t live up to its promising blurb.
*The ARC of this book was provided by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review*
I have not read the first book, All the Feels not really have all the feels. Miss Dade fails to bring that extra jazz into this book. The idea of the story is good. It is slow burn romance. The audiobook is 12 hours long.
Somehow in the middle, I lost the connection with the characters, the story, the plot, the chemistry. I keep waiting for that kick on the banter/ conversation that can give this book more feeling.
The chemistry is there but lukewarm. So at the end I do not feel liking this book more than 3 stars.
I really detest this book. I cannot make that clear enough. That said, I knew going in that I was not going to like it- it was more of a curiosity to see just how bad it would be. Spoiler Alert blew my mind with how plainly it was self-insert fanfiction with Jaime Gameofthrones' name replaced. Spoiler Alert had downright plausible deniability compared to this.
But let's put that aside. Let's pretend this isn't someone's clear wish fulfillment for (insert far too high number here) pages. Let's look at what we've got while offering the most generous of interpretations. I promise, it doesn't make things any better.
Before diving in, I had read a few ARC reviews that warned about the general cruelty toward the heroine in the first half of the book. I didn't think it could possibly be too bad, but I did start highlighting every line directly insulting Lauren. Even getting lax around the halfway mark and exempting some instances that seemed to be presented as genuinely affectionate, I ended my journey with close to 200 highlights.
I know this may sound like a harsh leap, but I kinda worry about the author. I hope that it's only an exaggeration to prove some murky point, but I cannot imagine people being so needlessly and openly cruel to someone because they're fat and ugly. I'm speaking from experience here. These characters are, ostensibly, out of high school...except in the way that any single one of them acts.
Lauren might pass occasionally for mature, but her strongest characteristic is her willingness to let other people treat her like trash. Every single time someone who is not Jaime Gameofthrones II is terrible to her, she is quick to let it go. See, she's been exposed to over-the-top assholeishness so often that she's built up a natural immunity. It doesn't actually matter if people treat her like shit because she has decided it doesn't matter. It's kinda sad, except handled pretty poorly. I wouldn't say she develops much over the course of the story, though by the end she seems amenable to the idea that she might be human after all.
Alex (I use his name under great duress and profound laziness wrt keeping the Jaime Gameofthrones II joke up) is...... well, an asshole. That part is on purpose it would seem. The text itself wants us to believe he's a *delightful* asshole though, and that's a bridge too far for me. From the first moment we see him, he is happily insulting Lauren at every possible moment, but this is apparently affectionate insulting, despite us not seeing any actual affection until around the 60% mark. He's also weirdly possessive- nobody can treat her like shit but him, thank you very much. It sends a bit of a mixed message given the abuse B-plot, but that's handled with about as much care as anything else in this book, so go figure.
I suppose this could be considered a slow burn in a way, as we spend a good half of the book with Alex directly berating Lauren. Always fun. I forgot to mention that the D&D stand-in is so intentionally, deeply, unfathomably cruel that it kinda becomes funny. Ah, yes, the showrunner who publicly CC's 80 people in an e-mail calling his cousin fat. This tracks.
I don't want to imply here that I believe romances should be limited strictly to healthy relationships. I like my fair share of fantasy toxicity, but this is something else. I hate to imply that something like a silly romance novel can truly be harmful, but it honestly does concern me. I can't imagine being someone who actively seeks out plus size romances only to read a solid 80 insults in the first 20% of the book. And then to be told it's natural and correct to ignore and allow this. Definitely rubs me the wrong way.
Heat level is low for the vast majority of the book. There are probably a combined 20ish pages of fuckin' and they're mostly consecutive. Is it good fuckin'? Well, I guess that depends on what your AO3 looks like. Lots of quivering pussies, in case you were wondering. (I wasn't).
On that note, this book suffers in some of the same ways the first one does from a more objective standpoint. You're going to have trouble following this if you're not entrenched in fandom. There are once again sections formatted as excerpts from AO3 stories. Not only should you know what this means (the author does not bother to even stray from the abbreviation in terms of explanation between two books so far), but you should also be at least passingly familiar with a plethora of popular tropes. Not quite as unbearable, but very cringe-worthy, is all the direct whining about how bad the Game of Thrones finale was. Seriously. This happens a LOT and it is not subtle. Unless this book was already being written in mid-2019, I feel like it might be time to make contact with a lawn.
Mental health rep here is mixed, but largely terrible. It is made extremely clear over the course of the book that people seeking emergency mental health intervention are pitiable at best, dangerously violent at worst. Alex has ADHD, which is brought up whenever he is being urged to eat breakfast so his meds don't give him a tummy ache. He also likes to randomly exercise at inappropriate moments and leave apples rotting on his shower floor. I have it on very good authority that this is pathological behavior given his diagnosis. To be fair, though, the author takes plenty of time pointing out when he takes his adderall, which is probably not too bad a thing to normalize.
There is nobody to root for in this story. Alex is a douchebag until he starts getting horny, then he's still kinda a douchebag but we're meant to believe it's the lovable sort. Lauren silently accepts every piece of abuse slung her way until the last 20 pages, at which point she makes a statement best described as backbone-flavored La Croix. The closest to an interesting character is probably either the snarky co-star we see primarily through text message exchanges or the maid/housekeeper/personal cook who has no voice of her own but, we are assured by Alex, is extremely happy with her lot in life. I'm assuming she's one of the 3 working class citizens in Hollywood paid a living wage.
I'm trying to think of redeeming qualities to put here to close out, but I truly can't think of anything better to say than that me and my friends had some laughs at particularly terrible lines, and even those dried up around the halfway point in the book. Coincidentally, this is about how long she drags out the pegging joke from the previous book before either finally getting bored of or entirely forgetting about it.
Apparently if you preordered, you get to read about the shortest, fattest, ugliest girl in the world buttfucking Jaime Gameofthrones II. Can't believe I missed that.
Alex Woodroe is the gorgeous actor on the hit TV show Gods of the Gates, a book series-turned-TV franchise that feels like a Greek mythology version of Game of Thrones.Alex plays Cupid on the show, he's beautiful, he has ADHD, and his one true flaw is this—he is all or nothing. If Alex sets his sights on a plan of action, he's all in.
Which led him to a disastrous bar fight and arrest while in Spain filming the last season of his TV show.
Which then led to Ron, the TV producer, assigning his conveniently present cousin, Lauren, to official "mind" Alex for the entirety of the season's filming and press tour circuit.
Lauren Clegg didn't realize that she was going to assigned a job on the spot when she took a vacation to Spain to begrudgingly say hello to her least-favorite cousin. When Ron hires her on the spot to watch over the gorgeous and witty Alex, Lauren sighs and decides to handle it. Because that's what Lauren, former ER therapist, does. She handles things.
Alex is fascinated by this short, round woman who reminds him of his favorite bird. She's implacable, she seems to have great depths. Alex wants to poke them out of her through sheer force of will.
Lauren looks at Alex and sees a beautiful, intelligent man who doesn't seem to fit the "hard core partier" bill that the tabloids say he is. But he's doing a great job of pretending to be that guy. Except for when he slips up in private with her. Lauren's curious about why.
Alex and Lauren quickly realize that neither of their first impressions are very accurate—and they're really not prepared to for the attraction to hit them out of left field.
Will sparks fly in this begrudging/accidental friends to lovers, or will their roadblocks stop them from happy ever after?
I thought this novel was a ton of fun. I laughed a lot. I loved Alex and Lauren to pieces, and found their romance to be extremely enjoyable to witness. It had enough drama for the book to fulfill its three act structure WITHOUT the angst that would have led to tropes and/or anxiety on behalf of the reader.
Did it have good pacing? ...No. I thought the novel dragged a fair bit in the middle, and several scenes felt like micro-scenes that really didn't do much besides provide light banter.
But I laughed for the entire read. And got allllll of the warm fuzzies by the ending. So for me, that's a 10/10 romance genre win.
Olivia Dade's books are wonderful modern-day nerdy fantasies where the actors in our favorite nerdy TV series:
1. Have in-depth, wonderfully detailed opinions of the franchise they're acting in; 2. Are amazing people, inside and out; 3. Fall in love with normal-looking fans just like us; 4. Change the world for the better.
All the Feels continues in this tradition, with Alex (who plays a Roman demi-god on TV and has the looks and physique to match) falling for Lauren, who's been hired as his minder to keep him out of trouble. This leads to some forced proximity but since they're coworkers Alex never takes things higher than the flirtation level until they're no longer working together. Once their professional relationship is out of the way Alex wastes no time in pursuing Lauren.
The book is a feel-good, sexy trope-fest and we loved basically every second of it.
Laine: Alex has a bad boy reputation but is actually a cinnamon roll, so when he's assigned an unneeded minder who is in desperate need of a hero he rises to the occasion. In more ways than one. Even when it might not be what Lauren needs.
Meg: Lauren just wanted a paid vacation from her life. What she got was paid forced proximity with the hottest TV star around. He may be hot, but Alex is all grown-up theater kid on the outside and all soft candy center on the inside. Soul mates?
This objective review is based on a complimentary copy of the novel.