Review by Veronica

These are affiliate links. This means when you use them to purchase a book, we earn a small commission that helps keep more great content coming your way with no additional cost to you!
Win-win 🙂

“Oh. That’s right. I didn’t currently live alone, and here I was with scary bed hair, a dressing gown that had seen better days, legs that definitely needed a shave, and welly shoes. Opposite me stood a tanned, currently half-naked Adonis.”

You Only Live Once is a book that I instantly fell in love with.

When Lily’s husband dies, she moves to the edge of a tiny village, settling into a solitary life, her only real company her brother and his family. A quiet life becomes her safe space, with no risk of getting hurt.

When her brother offers her spare room to his oldest friend, Jack, Lily’s reluctant – but knowing how much she owes her family, can’t say no.

A lodger takes some getting used to but to her surprise, Lily begins to enjoy Jack’s company. Slowly but surely, Jack encourages Lily to step outside her comfort zone.

But taking risks means facing the consequences, and telling people how she really feels, means Lily might have to face losing them. But as the saying goes – you only live once – and being brave could mean Lily gets a second chance at love… 

Get ready for some major gushing on my part! I love Maxine’s storytelling abilities, and You Only Live Once just had me squealing with joy. I loved this book so much that I bought my own copy, and when it came in the mail, I proceeded to re-read the whole book.  

I knew right from the first chapter that I would be falling hard and fast for this book. Maxine always creates characters that I instantly love. I think it is because they are just so genuine, fun, and charming. Lily is one of those characters I know I would be friends with if she existed in real life. I think it is her love for books (she is a romance author), food, and everything Jane Austen that had me imagining sitting in her backyard chatting away for hours. I loved Lily’s heartwarming journey of learning to live again. I could understand Lily’s need to hide from the world and its social pressures after the death of her husband. But it was truly incredible watching as she took steps to start going out of her comfort zone and engaging with society again. I don’t know how Maxine does it, but she makes the most dreamiest, gorgeous book boyfriends. I fell head over heels for Luca from Living Your Best Life and didn’t think she could create a book boyfriend I would love even more than him. I was wrong; Jack just had me swoony and acting like a giddy teenager. Jack is so kind, understanding, and of course, tall, dark and handsome. I lost count of the times he had my heart racing. 

The story and setting had this incredible fun, cozy feel to them. It has just the right amount of those lovely qualities in Hallmark movies to give the story a heartwarming, charming feel without becoming cheesy and unrealistic. That balance between realism and charm makes this story stand out for me. It’s just such a fabulous book! Lily’s house and the garden surrounding it were lush and enchanting. I fell in love with all the garden talk in this book. And it was really perfect timing because I have been spending all my spare time working and tending to my own garden. 

The romance between Lily and Jack was oh so freaking fabulous. These two are brought together when Lily’s brother suggests (or manipulates) Lily into having Jack stay with her until he can get his business up and running. Lily has been avoiding Jack since she awkwardly confessed her feelings to him when they were teenagers. As most love stories go, the more time these two spend together, the stronger their feelings for each other grow. I admit I think this is my first brother’s best friend’s love interest trope, and I really enjoyed it. I am also a huge fan of forced-proximity love stories, which is a bonus. The romance between these two is sweet, swoony, and just oh so perfect! It’s not smooth sailing for them; they have ups and downs. Their love story has just the right amount of drama to keep me entertained and not drive me crazy. 

You Only Live Once is one of those books I will be reading again and again. 

Thank you, Boldwood Books and Rachel Random Resources, for the ARC in exchange for an honest review.