Saturday, August 10, 2013

REVIEW - After the Kiss (Sex, Love & Stiletto #1) by Lauren Layne:

Title: After the Kiss
Series: Sex, Love & Stiletto
Series Placement: #1
Author: Lauren Layne
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Release Date: August 26, 2013
Published by: Random House - Loveswept
Format: Ebook

Copy Provided by: NetGalley

Book Blurb:
Julie Greene has built a career out of falling in love. Literally. She’s Stiletto magazine’s resident expert on perfecting the first kiss and assessing whether or not he’ll call.

But when her latest writing assignment requires knowledge of relationships after the puppy-love phase, Julie faces a startling realization: she doesn’t know the first thing about staying in love.

To figure out what’s supposed to happen after the third date, Julie seeks out the most boring, reliable guy in all of New York. Mitchell Forbes has “long-term relationship” written all over his 401k. He’s calm, practical and utterly dull. Exactly the type of man she’s always avoided.

But Julie’s surprised to learn that Mitchell’s steady dependability is more than a little sexy; and that having someone to lean on is actually sort of…nice. Soon Julie’s feelings for Mitchell have nothing to do with her research and everything to do with her heart.

But will he forgive her when he learns that their relationship’s been based on a lie?

Reviewers Note: After the Kiss is book one is the Sex, Love & Stiletto series and is a Contemporary Romance written by Lauren Layne. I received this eARC in exchange for an honest review by Random House Publishing Group - Loveswept through NetGalley.

3.5 Pretty Stars!
Cute, Fun and Sweet!

The Review:
This delightfully funny little gem, though not too terribly original, kept me reading with its entertaining antics, light drama and sweet conclusion.

I’ve seen this story scenario before. Very much following a similar pattern of How To Lose A Guy In Ten Days and Never Been Kissed, the mains, Julia and Mitchell, are complete opposites who make bets with their friends that they can outmaneuver love and all its trappings. This is a well written, sometimes comical, sometimes angsty tale of two very different people coming together and despite the odds, find something worth hanging on to at the end.

Julia is a columnist for Stiletto magazine. She, along with two of her friends, write articles about the sexy stages of a relationship, her specialty being the introduction or kissing stages. She’s a serial dater and has never gotten far enough into a relationship to know what comes next, and she likes it this way, thinking “movie night” to be the next sign of relationship doom and the wearing of fat pants. Her editor tells her she must write a piece for the next months article on what comes after the kiss and Julia, who always puts experience into her pieces, doesn’t know where to start so her friends suggest luring a man into falling for her so she can get those “next-step” questions answered.

Quote Spotlight... 
Stiletto was sex and high heels, not companionship and freaking clogs.The rocky post-honeymoon period just wasn’t Julie’s scene. Which is not to say she didn’t have plenty of other skills.The first date? She had men beggin for it.The first kiss? An art form she’d long since mastered.The first time you lost your panities in his sheets? Sooo not a problem......As for what happened after all that good stuff?Julie couldn’t care less.

Mitchell is a handsome, Wall Street professional, who's used to a certain type of woman. Always thinking in terms of social status and future companionship material, he doesn’t date for “fun”. After a recent break up, his coworker and friend suggest that he can’t do flings because he always looks at a date with the potential of a marriage proposal at the end. So they make a deal that Mitchell’s next relationship be a meaningless fling with no future commitment.
When Julia and Mitchell start to know one another, sparks fly, feelings get involved but both are hiding secrets that could destroy any feelings they might be having for one another.

My Thoughts...
I really liked Julia and Mitchell as a couple. They pulled each other out of their comfort zones and together, tried new experiences. Julia was hilarious with her inner monologue and quick comebacks. Mitchell let his alpha male out and was hot and swoon worthy!

The BFF’s added a bit of humor and character to this storyline and I loved the dialogue between them.

The conflict was good and the push-pull of the relationship was fun to read. And though this kind of story has been done many times before, what really kept me reading to the end was the sweet coming together of two conflicted characters who so obviously wanted love but were scared of the repercussions of giving their heart away. I wanted to see what the final outcome was for these characters that had stolen my heart as they discovered each other.

The Wrap Up:
I enjoyed this one while I was reading it, but I would have loved to seen more originality to this story. It was fun and kept me going but it didn’t really have a different catch or the uniqueness I love in my reads. I'm not about to give up though. This author knows how to write a simple, lovely story and I'm excited to read more of her work!

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