Overall Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
Do you ever get excited to read a book just from the cover? I’ll be honest. That isn’t my usual way of choosing books. If I’d have to rank it, author, blurb, and cover would be my criteria in choosing a book. Part of this is because covers can be deceiving. Well, the moment I saw the covers for Emma Hart’s newest trio of books, I knew I had to read them. They are MY style. Add in interesting story blurbs, and this girl blogger was sold.
Kiss Me Not is a best friend’s brother, somewhat forbidden story. But here’s the thing. The best friend, Reagan, is completely “on board” with the match. Halley, the best friend, and Preston, the brother, have harbored “secret” crushes on each other for some time. However, Halley and Preston never act on their attraction. Instead, they act with some disdain towards each other.
Halley is the reigning kissing booth champion of the local fair. She needs a challenger. Preston steps up to challenge Halley’s reign. Sparks fly between these two. Halley struggles with hearing Preston kissing the other women, and Preston struggles with his attraction to Halley. The rest of the story follows Preston and Halley in their spiral towards each other and a relationship.
There is so much quirky goodness in this story. For one, Halley marches to the beat of her own drum. For one, she loves books and prefers reading at home to spending time out. Secondly, she kind of has pet raccoons. Granted, they don’t live with her, but she feeds them daily, talks to them about her problems, and generally cares for them. And three, many of the ancillary characters are zany especially Halley’s grandmother and Preston’s aunt.
Kiss Me Not is the epitome of a summer read. It’s light-hearted. There is very little angst if any. It’s a rom-com. You fly through reading it because the story is cute. And the characters generally make you chuckle at their antics. It’s a good solid fun romance.
Now, here’s my issue with it. Halley and Preston’s struggle against each other seems ridiculous at times. I’ve read several books in the “best friend’s brother” trope, and they are heart-wrenching for the hero and heroine. This struggle seems a bit manufactured. Preston and Halley clearly like each other, but they fight it for too much of the story. Yes, it’s fun to read. Yes, you cheer them together, but I kept wondering why they couldn’t be together. They tell us that it would potentially endanger Halley’s friendship with Reagan, but that didn’t necessarily ring true. I think their struggle could have been resolved sooner, and they could have jumped into bed more quickly. Physically, these two do a lot of kissing but don’t couple until the end. I don’t have a problem with it, but I think it could have been steamier and less fighting.
All of this being said, I enjoyed this book. I read it in one day (as you should with a fun summer read), and I fell in love with this little town and its people. I am absolutely looking forward to Reagan and Ava’s stories. If you love to laugh, and you love quirky, interesting characters, then you’ll want to read Emma Hart’s Kiss Me Not. It’s the perfect little summer read.
In love and romance,