Audiobook Review: Not That Kind of Ever After (ARC)

Expected publication February 16, 2023

Author: Luci Adams

Narrator: Josie Charles

Audiobook Length: 12 hours 30 minutes

Fairytale meets feminism in Luci Adams’s Not That Kind of Ever After, a frothy adventure of one woman’s journey to claim happily ever after in times of serial dating, swiping right, and the quest to find your soulmate…

Bella Marble’s life isn’t what she imagined. Instead of an author, she’s receptionist at a small press. Instead of happily married, she’s single, and her lovey-dovey parents are divorcing. And to top it off, her best friend of twenty-nine years, Ellie Mathews, is moving out and marrying the heinously boring Mark. (He’s not worthy of her. No one could be). Bella feels rudderless, only slightly soothed by time spent with Ellie’s (not hot) brother, (he’s not hot) Marty (okay, he’s hot. But he’s also the aggravating brother she never had—right)?

When Marty recommends Bella stop looking for “the one” and just have fun, Bella finds a new, empowered side of herself. But when she posts a fairy-tale retelling of a disastrous one night stand on a storytelling app, all of a sudden, Bella has become B.Enchanted. And she’s gone viral.

Now, Bella’s in a fight with Ellie, her new roommates are so, deeply, weird, and the pressure is mounting to find new fairy tales to write about—but she’s got to live them first.

Not That Kind of Ever After follows Bella Marble, who is in her late 20s and at a crossroads in her own life. There are multiple storylines that take place throughout the story surrounding Bella and I can see her character being dividing among readers. The love interest is introduced early on as the brother of her best friend but is forgotten for a time as Bella deals with everything else in her life. Going into this novel, I thought the love interest would play a larger role to make this fall under the romance genre I thought it would be instead, this novel read more like a women’s fiction novel where Bella is learning to grow and put her life back together.

Bella and Ellie are great friends, so it was understandable when Ellie “leaves” Bella to be with her fiancé Mark and Bella is having trouble adjusting. However, the part that turned me off a lot was the way Bella seemed to constantly put Ellie on a pedestal. A lot of the story revolved around Bella “losing” Ellie, even though they continued to be friends and spend time together. She also disliked Mark before the book even began, but I could never figure out why she hated him aside from him being with Ellie. Luckily, this is dealt with a little throughout the story, but I feel it needed a bit more to feel complete. As Marty, the love interest, is Ellie’s brother, I really had a difficult time that this romance could be possible without more involvement from Ellie. Considering how much Bella loved Ellie, it seemed odd that Ellie was not part of this romantic journey in some way.

At the beginning of the story, readers find Bella working as a receptionist at a publishing house with dreams of being an author. She has dreamed of this for years but does not do a lot about making this a reality, which seemed odd to me. While at work she learns of a site called B-reader (like Wattpad), where aspiring writers post their own stories. As Bella goes on some interesting dates to find Mr. Right, she uses these experiences to create stories. This part of the story changed her a lot as a person where it seemed she spiraled a lot.

With the romance and writing parts of the story tying together with Bella including her experiences to write new stories, it was nice to see the story come together a little. I am not sure, though, why the author chose to have so much in this novel as it all seems unfinished. As a character, Bella was not likable, and it is surprising that so many people stuck with her either in her professional or personal lives. Overall, unfortunately this would most likely have been a DNF if I was reading the printed version. Instead, the audiobook and its narrator kept me engaged enough to finish the story. I think every reader should try this novel for themselves, but, for me, this is not one I would re-read again.

**I give a special thank you to Netgalley and Macmillan Audio for the opportunity to read this enjoyable novel. The opinions expressed are completely my own.**

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