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Book Review: A Merry Little Meet Cute (ARC)

Expected publication September 20, 2022

Author: Julie Murphy & Sierra Simone

Cowritten by #1 New York Times bestselling author Julie Murphy and USA Today bestselling author Sierra Simone—a steamy plus-size holiday rom-com about an adult film star who is semi-accidentally cast as a lead in a family-friendly Christmas movie, and the former bad-boy pop star she falls in love with.

Bee Hobbes (aka Bianca Von Honey) has a successful career as a plus-size adult film star. With a huge following and two supportive moms, Bee couldn’t ask for more. But when Bee’s favorite producer casts her to star in a Christmas movie he’s making for the squeaky-clean Hope Channel, Bee’s career is about to take a more family-friendly direction.

Forced to keep her work as Bianca under wraps, Bee quickly learns this is a task a lot easier said than done. Though it all becomes worthwhile when she discovers her co-star is none other than childhood crush Nolan Shaw, an ex-boy band member in desperate need of career rehab. Nolan’s promised his bulldog manager to keep it zipped up on set, and he will if it means he’ll be able to provide a more stable living situation for his sister and mom.

But things heat up quickly in Christmas Notch, Vermont, when Nolan recognizes his new co-star from her ClosedDoors account (oh yeah, he’s a member). Now Bee and Nolan are sneaking off for quickies on set, keeping their new relationship a secret from the Hope Channel’s execs. Things only get trickier when the reporter who torpedoed Nolan’s singing career comes snooping around—and takes an instant interest in mysterious newcomer Bee.

And if Bee and Nolan can’t keep their off-camera romance behind the scenes, then this merry little meet cute might end up on the cutting room floor. 

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A Merry Little Meet Cute is my second novel by Julie Murphy and the first by Sierra Simone. I can sometimes be hesitant to read novels by two authors as they can sometimes feel disjointed, but these two authors created a very enjoyable tale. As the weather is still hot outside, it was nice to read a cozy Christmas story set in the gorgeous location of Christmas Notch, Vermont. The concept of this story sounded unique and entertaining, so I was excited that this story delivered on my higher expectations.

The story is dual perspective and follows our two main characters. Plus-size adult film star, Bianca (Bee) Hobbes, who performs under the pseudonym Bianca Von Honey on ClosedDoors (an Only Fans-type site) and works for adult film company, Uncle Ray Ray’s. When the company decides to expand their industry and begin making Christmas movies for the Hope Channel (a Hallmark-style one), Bee wants to take part. She ends up with a role in the movie “Duke the Halls” and will play opposite her teen crush, former member of the boyband INK, Nolan Shaw. As Bee needs to separate this new role from her former one, Nolan is also hiding a secret as he is a superfan of Bee’s ClosedDoors channel.

Nolan is trying to improve his public image from his former “bad boy” one while Bee is proud of who she is but is fearful others may judge her and fire her from the movie. The two characters meet and have instant chemistry as they each are secretly huge fans of each other. While the two of them get to know each other, it was difficult to comprehend if they truly matched or were just head over heels at the beginning because of the images they had of each other as fans. Their physical chemistry was very apparent from the start, but it seemed that there were not enough emotional intimacy going on between them. There was some between them, but, for me, it was overshadowed by the physical side. Without more emotional connection, for me, it came across that the two were euphoric and in love because they finally were with their idols instead of their actual selves.

The story features great body positivity and sex positivity. While there are many novels that feature sexual relationships and plus-size/fat main characters, it is rare to find the actual sex industry mentioned or even adult toy usage.  Bee’s confidence and comfort with herself as a fat individual was well-written and realistic. As a plus-size reader, I loved how this was represented in the writing. The two main characters had great interactions with the secondary characters, with some positive and some negative. There were obstacles the characters had to deal with and I enjoyed that there seems to be room to expand this into a series featuring some of the secondary characters!

**I give a special thank you to Netgalley and the publisher, Avon and Harper Voyager, Avon, for the opportunity to read this enjoyable novel. The opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.**

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