Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Audiobook Review: About That Kiss by Jill Shalvis

Series:     Heartbreaker Bay #5
Pub. Date:Jan. 23, 2018
Publisher:Avon / HarperAudio
Narrator::Karen White
Length:9 hrs 26 min

About That Kiss is the fifth book in the Heartbreaker Bay series, of which I have only read one book. While these may technically be read as standalones, I felt like I was missing info and wish I had read all the earlier books first. There is quite a bit of character crossover and references to their stories (particularly the fateful fountain) and, as I didn't know everyone, I felt like I was the clueless new kid on the block.

So this story is about a kiss (duh) that seems to have happened off-page... or maybe in a previous book? We start off the story two days after the kiss has happened. I wish that scene had been included in a prologue or something because I felt like I was coming into the story late. So the gist is that our heroine (Kylie) and hero (Joe) had a steamy, possibly drunken, kiss at a bar. Then he didn't call her, but comes into her reclaimed wood store a couple days after.
Kylie Masters is a woodworker, making pieces for a quaint store called Reclaimed Wood. She is following in her grandfather's footsteps, who was a master woodworker and raised Kylie. This is pretty unique for a heroine, so I liked that aspect and envied her creative/crafty ability. Sometimes Kylie seemed anti-romance, but then there were also mentions about her huge crush on her boss, Gibbs. She has a close-knit group of girlfriends, which I also envied. (It's so hard to find a good girl posse as an adult! But I digress.)

Joe Malone is kind of a tortured hero. He is also anti-romance, but it has more to do with how he seems himself than what he really has to offer a mate. But Joe espouses all the characteristics of a good hero. He is tough and capable, protective, caring, and a little bit vulnerable. After a rough childhood, Joe is working in the investigation and security field with some of the earlier heroes of the series (I think). He also takes care of his mentally ill father and slightly disabled sister, and has served as the bedrock of the family from a young age. 

The romance between these two was at arm's length much of the time. They tried to deny their feelings, were deathly afraid of the town wishing fountain, but ultimately give in to the chemistry. I thought they were pretty good when they were together, but neither had the courage to communicate with the other. Luckily they had the investigation to fall back on, as that kept pushing them together as I'm sure they would have never talked otherwise. 

I didn't feel like there was a lot of character development in this book, and it kept me from connecting with either character. In fact, the heroine kinda got on my nerves. So I'm thinking that there may have been some character building throughout the series that I missed, as I don't recall this being an issue in other Shalvis books that I've read. I also felt like the suspense aspect was a bit weak. If I am reading romantic suspense, I tend to want the heart-pounding action and suspense... where this one was just a little mystery investigation. 

So while I usually like Jill Shalvis' books, this one was just okay for me. It didn't hold my interest well and I kept taking breaks during my roadtrip to listen to other books.

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