Review of ‘Year of the kiss’ by Giselle Fox.

In New Year’s Eve artist Sasha and PhD student Naomi meet by chance and they briefly enjoy an incredible kiss. But things get complicated fast and they both go separate ways without knowing anything about each other. Will they be able to meet again and find out if that initial chemistry has potential to develop into something more permanent?

‘Year of the kiss’ is a sweet romance novella set out in Boston in New Years’ Eve and the first weeks of 2019. All the characters are well rounded and credible, including the very charming Rob (Sasha’s brother in law) a huge Scottish guy with a tendency to drink buckets of whisky, engage in witchcraft and wear traditional kilts. The dialogues are funny and full of banter which gives this novella the perfect light and festive tone.

Despite that sparks fly the first time Sasha and Naomi meet, the author manages well the period they are apart. Their relationship is built slowly but when it reaches the peak it’s sizzling hot. To illustrate this, there’s a long intimate scene that considering its graphic nature seems more appropriate for an erotica book than a romance. However, it fits in the plot seamlessly and it doesn’t feel overdone.

This novel is written in third person from the point of view of both main characters, with each point of view shift marked with the character’s name. I’m not sure if this is necessary as, in my opinion, it interrupts the reading flow, but once the reader gets used to it it’s not too bad.

Overall, an entertaining, sweet and erotic novella with quirky secondary characters and funny banter. It’s my first book by this author but it won’t be my last. 4.5 stars.

With thanks to my Goodreads friend Tere for recommending this book.

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Review of ‘Emily’s art and soul’ by Joy Argento.

Emily Sanders is facing a few challenges in life. She’s recently divorced from her husband, her mum passed away and she has to take care of her 23 year old Down syndrome sister. But the biggest challenge of all comes in the shape of her new co-worker, Andi Marino who is beautiful, caring and a lesbian. Andi not only becomes her best friend but makes Emily wonder about her own sexuality.

Despite the seriousness of certain issues touched by this novel such as bereavement, Down syndrome and coming out at 35, this is a positive and humorous story. Ms. Argento sets this light tone through the leads’ dialogues which are funny, full of banter and innuendo. Even Emily’s interior monologues
while examining her sexuality are amusing. Her explorations into the lesbian world provides a peculiar but, at the same time, familiar point of view. There are a few hilarious moments like the speed dating incident or the golf scene which are done really well.

Written in third person from the point of view of both main characters, the leads are well rounded and credible. As a ‘friends to lovers’ romance the author skillfully transforms their budding friendship to an increasing intimacy. Mindy, Emily’s Down syndrome sister, is a great secondary character, very realistic in her traits and interactions with other people. Her fresh outlook on life and her ‘best friend’ declarations help to keep the upbeat tone.

I think the author draw a lot of her life experience in this book (her brother has Down syndrome, it’s set in the area where she lives and, like Emily, she is an artist specialised in oil paintings) which makes the story sound really authentic. My only issue with this book is that the light tone set throughout the novel is lost temporarily in a forced conflict between the main characters. Even though the conflict seems realistic it sticks out like a sore thumb. Luckily this is a short interruption of what otherwise is a very entertaining read.

Overall, a light and humorous story of the ‘friends to lovers’ trope along with a late coming out. 4 stars.

ARC provided by the publisher and Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

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Review of ‘Lovebirds’ by Lisa Moreau.

Emily Wellington is the owner of a bird magazine who urgently needs a breakthrough article to keep it afloat. When she travels to Ojai, California to search for an elusive flock of Madagascar lovebirds, she wasn’t counting on crossing paths with gorgeous but infuriating pole dancer Sydney Cooper. As they get to know each other, their attraction is undeniable but Emily is engaged and Sidney is not interested in getting involved with anyone. Will they have their happily ever after?

This is a light, funny and entertaining read based on an original idea with the beautiful setting of Ojai valley in California. As she did in ‘The butterfly whisperer’, Ms. Moreau describes nature skillfully. I particularly loved her use of birds’ metaphors throughout the book. The dialogues are funny and witty, the main characters are lovable and their chemistry is spot on.

‘Lovebirds’ is mainly a romance with a bit of adventure at the side. I should warn romance fans that this book deals with infidelity, though it is mild. Additionally, some situations felt a bit forced and unrealistic but they suit the lightness of the plot. In order to enjoy this book, I suggest not to take it too seriously.

Overall, an ok read if you are a nature lover and you aren’t too bothered by mild infidelity. 3.5 stars.

ARC provided by Netgalley and the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

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