Friday, February 12, 2016

Book review: Kiss and Make Up by Robyn Neeley

Kiss and Make Up is an enjoyable small-town, clean romance with a little bit of magic and spooky moments.  It’s book three in the Bachelors of Buttermilk Falls series and, although it can be read as a standalone, I would recommend reading book one and two first, in order to enjoy it a little more.

The book introduces two characters that in the previous books had been on the sidelines. Caitlin was actually a sort of nemesis for Abby, the heroine in book two, and wasn’t really a nice character in book one either. I was surprised when the author included a shocking revelation about Caitlin at the end of book two, and I wasn’t really sure how this book would turn out since, truth be told, I hadn’t had any elements that would help me warm up to her in the previous books.

Josh, the hero, never really appeared in the previous books, if not through Abby’s words and he sounded like a workaholic who liked living in the city and couldn’t care less about his family or his hometown.

I’ll be honest: I was a little skeptical when I first approached the book because, even though I’d liked the previous books and was looking forward to reading more about the quirky small town where magic is in the air, I didn’t know if I’d ever warm up to the characters.
The author did a great job pulling me right in and slowly making me care for the characters. She redeemed both the hero and the heroine, and surprised me with spooky scenes that I wasn’t expecting.

Caitlin and Josh have known each other forever, and have secretly been in love with each other since they were teenagers. Because of a misunderstanding in high school (which included a public face slap to Josh courtesy of Caitlin) neither of them ever knew how the other felt and they carried on their lives despising each other.

Years later, Josh has an important job in Kiss and Makeup, a perfume and makeup company based in New York. He has no intention of ever moving back to Buttermilk Falls but something unexpected forces him to reconsider all his choices. The last time he was home, he and Caitlin ended up in bed together—and nine months later, two baby girls and a baby boy were born.

Even though he was there when the triplets were born, he hasn’t been around much and isn’t completely sure he wants to be in the triplets’ lives, since his job keeps him busy enough and it’s in New York. It isn’t until something odd happens in his brother-in-law’s inn that he’s forced to come home and face the fact that the magic streak that runs in his family is in him, too. 

Back in town, he meets Caitlin, who's flirting with his best friend, Adam (who I think will be the hero in book no. four) and within a minute, they both go back to their not-so-friendly banter. But fear not: their hate for each other is all a pretense!

Caitlin didn't budge from her spot. Her eye lashes lowered. "You haven't changed one bit."
Josh laughed sarcastically. "And neither have you. Guess my prediction in high school came true. At least you ditched the tight dresses, or are you having trouble squeezing into them these days?"
And that did it. The bitch slap she'd given him in high school didn't even compare to the one she delivered in the bar. He closed his eyes and took a deep breath. The sting he could handle and, after his last comment, deserved. 

When Abby and her magical cousin Emma find a wooden box with Josh and Caitlin’s names on it, and with a glittering blue spoon that looks exactly like Emma’s magical one, they can’t help thinking the spoon is meant to be used by Josh to predict a bachelorette’s true love. So when they force Josh to come home to perform the magic, Caitlin’s hoping that his forced stay in Buttermilk Falls will make him want to spend more time with the triplets and, as a consequence, with their mother.

Then Caitlin finds out that the theater she’s just purchased and is working on restoring is haunted by a ghost that wants her to marry Josh’s best friend Adam, and things get complicated and, well, a little spooky!

Page after page I was pulled deeper into Caitlin and Josh’s minds, and little by little I warmed up to them, understood where they were coming from and rooted for their happily-ever-after. I loved reading how hung up on Caitlin Josh was, even though to everyone else he looked as if he couldn't stay in the same room as Caitlin, whereas all he wanted was to confess his burning love. 

Her scent—now swirling around him—was another matter entirely. A fragrance so powerful he'd spent countless hours in the lab trying to replicate it. He realized now that what he'd created was nowhere near as intoxicating as the real thing. 

Even though there are some scenes where you’ll be holding your breath, this book is mainly a feel-good read—a sweet, second-chance romance that will warm your heart and leave you with a contented smile when you’ve finished it, just like the previous books in the series. And, just like the previous books, when you reach the last page you’ll be looking forward to the next book. I know I already am!


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