Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Review: "Kiss Me" by Susan Mallery


After Phoebe Kitzke's kind heart gets her suspended from her job in LA, she swears off doing favors—until her best friend begs for help on the family ranch in Fool's Gold. Unfortunately, sexy cowboy Zane Nicholson isn't exactly thrilled by the city girl's arrival.

Thanks to his brother's latest scheme, Zane has been roped into taking tourists on a cattle drive. What Phoebe knows about ranching wouldn't fill his hat, but her laughter is so captivating that even his animals fall for her. One slip of his legendary control leads to a passionate kiss, but she's exactly the kind of woman a single-minded loner needs to avoid.

In his arms, Phoebe discovers she's a country girl at heart. Yet no matter how much the small town feels like home, she can't stay unless Zane loves her, too…but is this cowboy interested in forever?

Genre: Contemporary Romance
My Review:

Kiss Me is the next installment in the Fools Gold series, but as we progress through the series, I feel less and less connected to what I consider the "original" Fools Gold residents that made me fall in love with the town. This story is also set on a ranch about 20 miles outside of town, so we don't spend a lot of time in town, or with the town residents - except for, of course, our resident octogenarian busy bodies - Eddie and Gladys.

I had a hard time getting to know Zane. Who he is and what drives him wasn't immediately apparent so it took longer to really get to know him. But as I finally got to know him, I really liked him. His relationship with his brother Chase is a struggle between being a brother and a father figure, influenced by Zane's relationship with their father, and it added an interesting dynamic to the story - those two brothers couldn't be more different.

Phoebe is like an open book - she loves easily and cares for everything and everyone, which leaves her open to being hurt. And she is - often. It was fun to find her confiding in Manny, the lead steer in the cattle drive! Her almost "innocence" with regards to her view of the world makes her endearing to the reader - and to Zane. It takes a while to see through his blathering and brooding behavior to realize that he really does like her.

The secondary storyline with the childless couple and two foster kids was difficult to follow. The children were introduced at the beginning of a chapter with no background - just BAM, an introduction about two children at a bowling alley. I didn't understand what was going on. And then as the foster parents, Thad and CJ, were introduced, I also was having difficulty following along with the direction of the storyline. The author ties everything together by the end but there were times that as the reader it was difficult for me to make the connections.

All in all, it was a very enjoyable story with great characters and a well-written struggle to find happiness for the hero and heroine. I do, struggle, however, with how far from the core of Fool's Gold that the books have had to stray in order to keep the stories fresh and the characters new and compelling.  Perhaps its time to consider where the ending lies for the citizens of Fools Gold.


About the Author:

New York Times bestselling author Susan Mallery has won the hearts of millions of readers around the world with books described as “immensely entertaining, intensely emotional” (RT Book Reviews), “hilarious” (Fort Worth Star-Telegram), and “heartwarming” (Publishers Weekly). One major retailer recently described her as “the queen of romantic fiction.” While she deeply appreciates the accolades of critics and booksellers, Mallery is even more honored by the enthusiasm of her readers and the word-of-mouth that catapults her toward the top of the bestsellers lists time and again.

Mallery lives in not-so-sunny Seattle with her husband, plus a toy poodle and two ragdoll cats who are not at all impressed by her growing fame.

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