Tuesday, 4 March 2014

Book Review: After the Kiss by Lauren Layne

Julie Greene loves flings. Loves steamy first dates, sizzling first kisses, and every now and then, that first sexy romp between the sheets. Comfy pants, sleepy Sundays, movie nights on the couch? Shudder. But when Julie gets assigned the hardest story of her career—a first-person account of that magical shift between dating and "I do"—she'll need a man brave enough to give a total commitment-phobe a chance at more.

Normally, Mitchell Forbes would be exactly that man. A devastatingly hot workaholic who tends to stay in relationships for far too long, he should be the perfect subject for Julie's "research." But what Julie doesn't know is that Mitchell is looking to cut loose for once in his life. And the leggy journalist notorious for avoiding love is exactly the type of no-strings fling he's looking for. In other words, Mitchell is the polar opposite of what Julie needs right now. And, at the same time, he's exactly what she wants.

 It is very rare for me to fall head over heels in love with a romance book. That is not to say that I don’t like romance books, I love them and I read loads of them but I can probably count the number I have given five stars to on one hand. Normally I need more than a nice romance and good characters to unleash the hard to achieve five stars. Most romances deliver on chemistry, characters and sexual tension but for me to fall head over heels in love it has to have something ‘more’ and After the Last Kiss had it in spades.

It is hard to explain what the elusive ‘more’ is. I guess it is a feeling. The ‘more’ comes when I care so much about what happens that I almost can’t bear to read anymore. It comes when even though I know the characters will get their happily ever after I can’t stand to go through the fall out that is bound to come before. The ‘more’ is when I get so lost in a book I fail to notice anything going on around me and I am more in that world than my own. A book can be well written, have a great storyline and characters, be aesthetically perfect but if it doesn’t grab me in that ‘more’ kind of way then I cannot give it a five star. I would rather have a non-perfectly written book that grabs my imagination than a perfectly written book that doesn’t.

After the Kiss just got everything right for me and I can’t think of one negative thing to say about it. I loved the storyline, it is something I have read before but not enjoyed as much as I did this time. The pace was perfect, it didn’t dawdle but there was enough time for the chemistry between the characters to grow. I really enjoyed the writing and the dialogue between the characters was witty and entertaining.

The characters were great. At first I didn’t think I was going to like Julie she seemed selfish and uptight but she quickly grew on me. I liked her attitude and personality but wasn’t as fond of the woman she was trying to force herself to be. It was great to see her come out of herself. Mitchell was amazing and I think I might be a little in love with him. He was sweet, charming and fun.

By far the best part of this book was the romance. I liked that there was not this instant ‘I want to rip your clothes off’ attraction between them. When they first meet they are not overcome with lust and they don’t find each other that attractive. Then they spend time together and the chemistry grows. They were amazing together and are by far my favourite book couple of the year so far. They sizzled in and out of the bedroom and I could have read a thousand pages of them together.

After the Kiss is without doubt the best romance I have read this year. It did everything right and somehow it manages to make me care about its characters and what happened between them. I would recommend it to anyone who enjoys romance.

5 stars

Published August 26th 2013 by Loveswept.  A free copy was provided for review.  Images courtesy of Goodreads.

Review by Kate Phillips

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