Review by Booklist Review
Bee Hobbes is a very successful adult-film star, appearing as Bianca von Honey. But now Bee wants to take her career in a different direction. Playing Felicity in Duke the Falls, a wholesome holiday romance in production for the Hope Channel, will provide that opportunity as long as no one connects the professional dots between Bianca and Bee. But Bee's new path takes an unexpected detour when she meets her costar, Nolan Shaw. As the sexy member of the once-famous boy band INK, Nolan provided plenty of fodder for Bee's own sexual fantasies; what is more problematic, though, is that Bee thinks that she may have starred in a few of Nolan's fantasies too--as Bianca. The sex in this very flirty, a little dirty, and very, very funny first collaboration by best-selling Murphy and Simone is hot enough to melt snow, but the coauthors also deftly incorporate a rich layer of sweetly satisfying emotional connectivity between the protagonists. With plenty of cheeky charm and a cast of superbly nuanced characters, this brilliantly executed rom-com both cleverly skewers and unabashedly celebrates the appeal of squeaky-clean holiday romances, while also championing body positivity in life and love.
From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.
Review by Publisher's Weekly Review
Bestseller Murphy (If the Shoe Fits) and Simone (A Lesson in Thorns) take readers on a bumpy but enjoyable ride in this playful holiday romp. Notorious former boy band star Nolan Shaw is on a mission to rehabilitate his playboy image by starring in a wholesome family Christmas movie. Though he's determined to remain as "pure as driven snow" throughout production, this proves difficult when the producer unknowingly casts Nolan's favorite porn star, Bianca von Honey (real name Bee Hobbes), as the leading lady. Hardly anyone else on set knows of Bee's other profession, and though she's proud of her career as a plus-sized sex worker, Bee knows it would be catastrophic if her secret leaked to the conservative streaming service producing the movie. As chemistry ignites between Bee and Nolan both on- and off-screen, however, it becomes impossible for them to resist each other. There's a lot of promise to this amusing premise and the authors admirably touch on many feminist themes, but Bee and Nolan's narrative voices are virtually indistinguishable, and the romance itself remains disappointingly surface level. Readers wanting romance with substance should look elsewhere, but for cheery holiday fluff this works just fine. Agent: John Cusick, Folio Literary Management. (Sept.)
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Review by Library Journal Review
Librarian-turned-novelist Simone (Misadventures of a Curvy Girl) and YA crossover novelist Murphy (Dumplin'; If the Shoe Fits) collaborate on a holiday rom-com full of quirky and fun characters, witty dialogue, and over-the-top Christmas cheer. In the town of Christmas Notch, VT, where every day is Christmas, filming has started on the Hope Channel's newest family-friendly, incredibly chaste holiday romance, Duke the Halls. Unbeknownst to the Hope Channel executives, the female lead is adult film star Bee Hobbes (aka Bianca Von Honey), who has always wanted to break into mainstream media. This is her big chance--as long as her identity stays secret. The show is also co-star Nolan Shaw's last chance to shake his bad boy image, earned during his boy band days. So when Nolan realizes that his new co-star is also his favorite adult film star, he keeps the secret, and soon Bee and Nolan are hooking up behind the scenes. Murphy and Simone have written a spicy, hilarious contemporary romance whose protagonists have immediate chemistry--Bee and Nolan's sex scenes are hot enough to melt all the snow in Vermont. Bee's adult film career is treated with refreshing respect throughout the novel, as is Nolan's mother, who has bipolar disorder. VERDICT An engaging, unputdownable holiday romance that will resonate with readers.--Heather Miller Cover
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Review by Kirkus Book Review
An adult film actress and a bad-boy pop star are cast in a wholesome, made-for-TV Christmas movie. What could go wrong? Teddy Ray Fletcher is a bit of an anomaly in the film business. On one hand, he's the producer of Fletcher Productions' holiday films, which run on the Hope Channel; on the other, he's the owner of Uncle Ray-Ray's porn studio. When Teddy's golden starlet falls ill, he's hard-pressed to find a new Felicity before the filming of Duke the Halls starts in Christmas Notch, Vermont. When the Duke director spots a nude headshot Teddy accidentally placed in the wrong folder, she's convinced they've found their new, edgier star. Against Teddy's better judgment, they hire Bee Hobbes, aka plus-size porn star Bianca von Honey, who's "gorgeous and filthy and great for business." While Bee loves the freedom and power of sex work, she hopes this movie will finally be her big break…even if she has to follow Teddy's rule about staying "above reproach" while filming and pray that "chaste-as-hell" Hope Channel fans and Uncle Ray-Ray viewers don't align. Added to the mix is former boy band member Nolan Shaw, the actor playing the duke, who's in need of major image rehab after photos of him at an orgy during the Duluth Olympics spread around the world. Following his career downfall, Nolan will do anything to support his bipolar mother and teenage sister, like be contractually bound to good behavior for the two weeks of shooting. It turns out, however, that a fortnight of celibacy will be easier said than done for Bee and Nolan, especially when Nolan recognizes Bee as Bianca and they have mouthwatering chemistry on a set with heaving corsets and tight breeches. Murphy and Simone's holiday romance is laugh-out-loud funny and so deliciously hot--"She smelled so sweet, like a warm sugar cookie, and the corseted dip of her waist under my hand felt like sin itself"--that readers will be glad it's made for chilly weather. A sexy holiday romp that's the perfect combination of naughty and nice. Copyright (c) Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.
Copyright (c) Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.