ALL THE FEELS by Olivia Dade

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I received an Advance Reader Copy of this book from the publisher in order to write this review.

Alex is being punished. The showrunner for the wildly successful fantasy cable show Alex has acted in for the past nine years doesn’t even ask him whether the tabloid stories about a drunken bar fight are true (which, for the record, they aren’t…mostly). He just assigns Alex a babysitter. Lauren Clegg–or Nanny Clegg, as Alex prefers to call her–is joyless, unless she enjoys killing Alex’s joy, in which case she must be overflowing with well-disguised mirth. Because Nanny Clegg is in charge of making sure Alex doesn’t do anything fun or interesting (read: embarrassing to the production) for the next nine months until the final season of the show airs.

After leaving her job as an ER therapist, Lauren had been looking forward to a break. But when her mother asks her to do her cousin a favor, she can’t exactly say no–not without causing family drama–and so she ends up as the babysitter of a TV star who is by all accounts a wild, irresponsible party boy. Within a few days of knowing Alex, however, she begins to suspect that the tabloids–and her cousin–have gotten him all wrong. In fact, with the exception of some impulsive behavior stemming from his ADHD, Alex seems like a responsible and compassionate person. As their relationship develops from something purely professional into a real friendship, Lauren’s loyalties are tested. But it is Alex’s devotion to Lauren (surely just friendly devotion, right?) that ends up causing the next scandal, costing Lauren her job and Alex his career. With their professional relationship over and both of them steeped in guilt over the fallout, Alex and his one-time nanny will have to figure out how much sacrifice their friendship is worth–and whether friendship alone is really enough.

This hilarious, swoon-worthy, steamy romcom picks up the love story of two secondary characters in Dade’s bestseller, SPOILER ALERT, and if it’s possible, I think I liked this one even better(?!). Mostly because Alex, but also because the issues of self-worth and sacrifice were so powerful and accessible. Also, despite Alex’s occasionally juvenile sense of humor, the relationship was extremely mature: gradual to develop and always respectful, without the kind of lies and deceptions that often provide the tension in romance plots. I certainly enjoy lie/deception based suspense, but sometimes it’s nice to sink into a romance where the relationship is actually pretty healthy throughout and it’s the characters’ need for individual growth that creates the obstacles to their relationship’s success.

FYI, you do not need to have read SPOILER ALERT to read this one. You can read them in either order. If you have read SPOILER ALERT, you will notice that ALL THE FEELS has less fanfic but don’t worry: it still has plenty of amazing references to fanfic romance tropes (and, of course, pegging).

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