ARC Reviews

ARC REVIEW: Best Laid Plans by EM Denning


Best Laid Plans eBookPublisher: Paper Gold Publishing
Release Date: March 20, 2019
Received From: Review copy from the author

In a world where omegas rule, alphas must provide. Maxwell Moore is a successful omega who loves his job as CEO of his family’s automotive company. After successfully navigating the company through an economic slump, he wants nothing more than to keep doing what he loves, but his alpha brother, Howard, has other plans. Faced with the threat of being forced into a marriage he doesn’t want, Maxwell comes up with a plan.

Diagnosed as infertile when he was a teen, Chase Grant is a lonely, unmatched alpha with no hope of getting the life he’s always wanted. Working a menial, but fulfilling job at an animal shelter, he doesn’t expect things to change for the better. When he’s approached by a dashing older omega with a mutually beneficial proposal, Chase can’t think of a single reason to say no.

Weeks turn into months and feelings develop between the two men, proving love knows no bounds and fate yields to no one. When an unexpected development turns their world upside down, Max and Chase come together, only to find their separate goals are now the same and they must work together to save the life they’ve built and make their dreams come true.

Best Laid Plans is set in Star Valley, a fictional omegaverse where centuries of power struggles have seen the omegas come out on top. Alphas still provide, but it’s the omegas who call the shots. This book also contains a little angst, a fetch-loving canine, a dash of mpreg, and some naughty knotting.

Cover: Designs by Dana


GENDER: cisgender
SEXUALITY: homosexual


TROPES: marriage of convenience, class disparity, mpreg, age gap
TAGS: adult, contemporary, romance, queer romance, queer characters, omegaverse
WARNINGS: infertility, cancer mention, parental illness mention, ableism, rape mention, slurs, gendered slurs, anti-fatness, anti-bi/anti-pan, anti-trans, pregnancy, childbirth, c-section mention


As a new to me author, I wasn’t quite sure what to expected from Denning’s writing and worldbuilding, but overall, I did enjoy this first book in her newest series!

Both of the main characters were really wonderful and I cared a lot about the two of them by the time the story reached its end! Chase is such a sweet character who grows into himself so beautifully by the end. At the start, he’s beaten down and depressed due to the shock of his lack of fertility, and he’s just so hopeless and sad until Max enters his life and the two of them get to know and care about each other. Max is a great character as well, and I enjoyed the fact that he had something he was passionate about and (for the most part) had people in his life who supported him and his ambitions. And I really enjoyed the two of them together and how they’re able to eventually get their lives intertwined in a such a way that works for them and are able to work together to figure out roles in their relationship and home and work lives that makes things better for themselves, not going by what other people think.

Also, I really enjoyed the various friendships and other relationships to be found within the novel! Chase and Ty’s friendship was really important to Chase’s character, and I only wish we got to see a bit more of Ty on page so we could see the two of them interact more. Similarly, I enjoyed the friendship between Max and Farley and how supportive and understanding Farley was, as well as being willing to do anything to help Max out. Additionally, there’s the friendship that grows between Sid, Chase, and Max, which I really liked–it was nice to see Chase and Max essentially adopt Sid into their family and help take care of him when he’s down on his luck.

My main complaint about the novel was largely due to the worldbuilding as it left me with several questions, and a little bit with the writing. Perhaps it’s because this is my first venture into omegaverse/mpreg, but the world these characters lived in had a lot of unanswered questions for me. It’s supposed to be set in a contemporary kind of society, but there are never any women, nonbinary, or trans people mentioned throughout the story. So is it a (cis) men only world/society? Women, enbies, and trans people just don’t need to exist because the cis men are all attracted to only men and the omega men are able to get pregnant? That just seems strange from a societal standpoint, but it also creates a world that is then inherently anti-queer since homosexual is the only sexuality that’s allowed to exist, and inherently anti-trans because only cis men exist in this reality. That didn’t really sit well with me at all, but I enjoyed the overall story enough that I will probably read the next of the series to see if any of this is addressed.

And as far as the writing goes, it was generally good and enjoyable to read, but it had a few issues. Other than some significant editing issues, I had a difficult time with the fact that time jumps aren’t indicated in any way. The first chapter happens five years previous to the rest of the novel, but there’s zero indication of that until later in chapter two or three (I forget which one) when the time gap is mentioned. The same happens with Max’s pregnancy–one minute he’s a couple months pregnant and a chapter or so later he’s suddenly giving birth. There’s a few other instances, but those are the most notable. It’s not a massively terrible thing, but it’s just a bit jarring to have no kind of warning about the jumps. Additionally, sometimes the segues into conversations or other aspects of the plot were a bit abrupt and unwieldy without any kind of real build up, which made things a little hard to follow in certain sections.

Overall, though, I did enjoy the story and the romance, and I’m interested to see how Denning continues the series.


3.5 stars rounded to 3


14215226E.M. Denning is a writer from British Columbia. She loves her family and animals, and anything cute and fuzzy. She was born a hopeless romantic, and when she’s not writing romance, she’s probably reading it. She loves love.

You can find her on her website, Facebook or on her blog.



review by nicky tyler


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