Wednesday, April 12, 2017

ARC Review: Kissing Lessons (Before...and After, #2) by Susan Laine

Kissing Lessons (Before...and After, #2)

A kiss is just a kiss. It doesn’t have to mean anything. Does it?

At seventeen, Merry’s never been kissed. Since he doesn’t want to disappoint his prom date, he asks his more experienced best friend, Boone, for some pointers. Surprisingly, Boone agrees to give him a hands-on lesson.

But they have no idea what they’re getting into.

They explore hundreds of ways to make out, but somehow it isn’t enough. A week later, they’re back together for another session. This time things go further than either of them planned, and their relationship becomes awkward and uncomfortable.

Have they learned enough to salvage their friendship and help it evolve? Their lessons have come to an end. They can either part ways forever… or share a true love’s kiss. 

Todd's rating:

Wow, that was... steamy. Talk about a buildup. And from a YA/NA story, no less.

Foreplay, anyone?

Toward the end of the first long kissing scene, which didn't rush anything, drawing out the descriptions and sexual tension, I literally caught myself holding my breath a bit and thinking, "Holy shit." (Okay, confession, I actually whispered it.) I'm not even exaggerating. I was pulled that deeply in, no lie.

Then a week later, they shared their second set of slow, steamy kisses, which I also found engaging, but those kisses definitely had a much more sexual, less purely sensual, edge to them, with that exchange ending very, well... " happily ," if you catch my drift.

So yeah, for the most part, this story totally worked for me, although, since these were 'lessons,' every single little variation on a kiss *had* to have a name, which felt like a complete reach for a ton of the kiss names.

Some of the names for the kisses were utterly ridiculous, but I didn't actually Google search the kiss names, so they may be 'real' names per-se; however, I didn't really feel like I needed to be told that a kiss on the neck was a neck kiss, a kiss on the knuckles was a knuckle kiss, a kiss on the toe was a toe kiss, etc.

Captain Obvious to the rescue!

I suspect that both myself and the inexperienced MC might have preferred to just 'experience' those particular kisses, quietly, as it was highly unlikely that his prom date was about to quiz him on kiss names. Only that he could do them well.

Regarding the supposed angst and discomfort mentioned in the blurb, the story didn't read that way at all for me. In fact, I found the drama to be almost non-existent, which I actually liked. These are two life-long best friends, who for the most part talk freely with one another, after all.

There was a bit of cheese toward the end, though, which I could have entirely done without. And the age of the dialogue could fluctuate a bit wildly.

Like this very adult phrase: " When your lips touched mine, it was a dream made manifest. "

Which was followed a few sentences later by an equally-eloquent " Duh! "

And then this straight out of a telenovela phrase, “ Let’s get started then, shall we? My beautiful randy buck.

Randy buck? Really??? I really hope that teen jock tightened the bodice of his corset, before he pulled that panty dropper out of his Harlequin, Fabio-courting ass.

Wouldn't want you to sprain an ovary, there, (lady) 'dude'. ;- )

Heh. That one got a huuuuuge eye-roll from me, along with their 17 year old promises of "forever." Yes, I'm cynical, but I did truly want to believe in their extremely young HEA.

Overall, I really enjoyed the story and would give it a solid 4.25 stars for its fun, flirty, sexy vibe.

My ARC copy of the story was provided by the publisher in exchange for a fair, unbiased review.

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