ARC Reviews

ARC REVIEW: Soft on Soft by Em Ali


DmWgqnmXsAI05I3Publisher: Self-pub
Release Date: September 10, 2018
Received From: Review copy from the author

June Bana might post nearly daily makeup looks that gain thousands of likes but Real Life June has built a wall behind which she exists with her two cats.

But with messy feelings getting in a way of an early hermit life, June begins to realize that she wants more. She wants model/actress, Sunshine Reincarnated Selena Clarke. It doesn’t hurt that Selena is amazing with cats and quiets down June’s anxiety to bearable levels.

June is given the choice of facing her anxieties about relationships to gain not only a girlfriend but also a better understanding of how far she’d go for love.

But would she take it? Would she leave her comfort zone for something softer?

Contemporary fluffy piece where one homebody and one extrovert make one hell of a love story.

Content warning for a discussion of a passed-away parent in chapter 2 and a depiction of a panic attack in chapter 8. Both are from the POV of the MC and are #ownvoices experiences.


GENDER: cisgender
SEXUALITY: pansexual, demisexual
ROMANTIC ORIENTATION: panromantic, demiromantic


TROPES: introvert x extrovert, class disparity, mutual pining, pure fluff
TAGS: adult, contemporary, romance, queer romance, queer characters, fat characters, Middle Eastern character, Arab character, Persian character, Black character, POC character, Middle Eastern author, Arab author, POC author, ownvoices, touch averse character, Muslim character, Muslim author
WARNINGS: parental death mention, mental health (anxiety, panic attack, depression), anti-ace hatred mention, pregnancy (of a secondary character), anti-fat hatred mention, explicit panic attack, slurs, gendered slurs


What a sweet story!

The title and blurb promise more fluff than one person can possibly handle, and woo boy, does Em Ali deliver! June and Selena are so sweet together–first in their mutual pining and friendship, and then as they progress to friends and romantic partners. They’re so gentle with each other and understanding about the other’s needs. I particularly enjoyed the way Selena was so understanding of June’s anxiety and tried very hard to be calm and comforting, doing whatever she can to ease said anxiety.

Another thing that I loved about their relationship was the slow pace that they decided to take! There’s no right speed to move at when you’re in a romantic and/or sexual relationship–just what’s most comfortable for those involved–and I really liked that both June and Selena were content to move slowly. They hold hands, touch and kiss each other, but it’s not a stepping stone to sex.

Also, I loved how Ali incorporated a few different mediums in the text! There’s the general narration and dialogue, but they also include FaceTime, instagram messages, and text messages between Selena and June, as well as a few times with June’s friend Shelby. I love books set in the contemporary age that utilize different communication mediums between their characters! It’s such a great way to show how modern technology plays a role in their lives and relationships.

In this book, too, the prologue and epilogue are from Selena’s point of view, while the twelve chapters in between are all from June’s. Generally, I like to get the points of view of all involved in the pairing when I’m reading, but I think that this setup really worked well for the story being told! It was fun to get some insight into Selena at the beginning and end, and then read through June for the rest.

There’s not very much in the way of conflict throughout the book, except for some anxiety on June’s part about them being a couple publicly, but Selena is so understanding and it’s all wrapped up very nicely without there being an angst or a breakup of some kind. And by the end, they’re both even happier, even if June does occasionally still experience some anxiety about being so much in the public.

All in all, this book was very soothing and lovely to read, and I definitely recommend!


Em is a part-time whiner part time cat parent. They spend a lot of time reading romance books and crying to Twitter about how good they are. They live in a pretty chill place called Their Brain, but they allow for visitors.




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