If one cannot enjoy reading a book over and over again, there is no use in reading it at all. - Oscar Wilde
We shouldn't teach great books; we should teach a love of reading. - B. F. Skinner
No entertainment is so cheap as reading, nor any pleasure so lasting. - Mary Wortley Montagu

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Review: Story of a Kiss Anthology / @XpressoReads

Title: Story of a Kiss Anthology
Authors: Various
Publisher: Good House Publishing
Release Date: February 1, 2016
Genre: Romance

There will be a thousand kisses in a lifetime but only a handful trapped forever in your heart. This Valentine’s day, join The Story of a Kiss anthology as we take you into the lives of thirteen couples. From a very first kiss of a high-school prom queen, to a kiss that travels the width of time. Kisses of redemption, heartache, discovery, and so much more.

Thirteen authors.

Thirteen kisses you’ll never forget.

Taylor Sullivan- Never Regret
At twenty-four, Margaret Andrews is still a virgin and sick of it. After a year on the top dating site in America,and a late night episode of HUNG on HBO, she’s decided to take matters into her own hands and hires a professional.

Kelly Lincoln- Maybe Now
Maybe now I should kiss her.
The thought haunts fourteen-year-old Hunter whenever he is with his best friend, Ava. The second he makes his move, their moment is destroyed and Ava leaves town. Ten years later, she’s back, and so is the maybe now that Hunter thought was buried.

Kathryn L. James- Crazy Beautiful Kiss
Two years after Calista DeLuca and Colin Williams shared a sizzling kiss…the one she couldn’t forget and the one he didn’t remember, their paths cross again. Secrets unfold. Tears fall. Hearts open. He’s the only one who can fade her pain into non-existence, but is it enough?

Sha Renée- Forbidden Kisses
Layla is enlisted in the Navy. Ethan is an officer. According to rules, personal relationships between officers and enlisted personnel are prohibited, but their desire is so strong, they can’t stand to be apart. Can military regulations separate lovers who are destined to be together?

Leslie Kung- At Long Last
Janny and Tom grew up together, but right before their friendship could turn into a budding romance, life and gravity pulled them apart. When the friends reconnected, their chemistry was undeniable–but tragedy put distance between them again. Sometimes it takes a lifetime to finally fall in love.

Emma Marie Leigh- Wrong Time
Jo Stevens is an archaeology graduate student on the opportunity of a lifetime- an excavation in Pompeii. When her group discovers a basement, everything Jo knows is rocked. Rules are broken. Lines are crossed. Jo unearths everything she’s ever wanted. She’s just in the wrong time.

Louisa Blackwood- Can’t Let Go
Josephine “Joe” Burke has been running from the past since the night her mother died, choosing solitude over dreams. She’s suddenly forced to return to her Tennessee hometown and to her old flame, Colton James. Joe can feel her defenses crumbling under his irritating charm, but with the past still haunting her future, can she open her heart to happiness again?

Polly J. Brown- Ever Be
Evangeline’s life revolved around the water until she nearly drowned. Now, she’s returned to the beach to confront her fears, and Gregory Owen, the super-bro who saved her life. Greg wants to help, but can she trust his intentions? Or worse, her own?

Jaye Cox- Love in Photographs
When her heart remembers but her head doesn’t, will one photograph change everything? Claire didn’t need her memories when everything within her knew she loved him.

Brandy Ayers- Fighting Faith
At nineteen, Faith spent one perfect, passion-filled summer in San Sebastian. But just when she thought she might have her happy ending, Jasper, the love of her life, shattered her heart. Now, ten years later, they’re forced together once more. Can she hold onto the last few remaining pieces of her heart?

Kate DeHart- Missed Kisses
Struggling with the recent death of her mother, Jess finds solace in her best friend Ben. Everything about them says they shouldn’t click. He’s the trendy guy with the damaged family; she’s the bookish introvert with a lonely heart. Years of sweet memories cause their feelings to grow, until he does the one thing that could tear them apart.

Jody Pardo- Left Swipe Chronicles
Roommates Liz and Michelle venture into the world of online dating. After a series of bad first dates, how many swipes will it take to find her Man of Steel?

Cherry Shephard- Precious
18 year old Precious Montgomery is a nobody, she’s never even had her first kiss . . . but that’s about to change. When her best friend nominates her for prom queen, Precious has just one week to make over her image and beat the queen bee – Amber Delancey. Amber has everything Precious doesn’t: Confidence, sophistication and popularity. But a chance meeting with Amber’s boyfriend changes everything.

Now, Precious has to decide what’s more important; what she’s always wanted . . . or what she’s always had.

Can a crown . . . or a kiss, really dictate your self-worth?

This is a beautiful collection of stories. Each is different except for one thing: that kiss.

My favorites are Never Regret, Love in Photographs, and Precious.

Never Regret is about a virgin and an escort. Maggie's desperate to rid herself of her virginity and James is the man hired to achieve that goal. Except the night of "just sex" turns into something more, exchanged names, meaningful conversations, and sex that rocks both their worlds. James might be an old hand at this and Maggie might not have anything else to compare that night to (yet) but there was an incredible amount of tenderness between them that made their arrangement sweet and touching.

Love in Photographs is heartbreaking yet hopeful. Each part bears the title of a song that ties into that part of the story, and each part is a step Claire makes towards remembering who she was, who her family is, and why she feels something for Jayce after an accident stole her memory. The journey they make as they spend time together creates new memories for them and Jayce captures them in photographs as much as possible. It's a photograph that brings their shared past rushing to the front and pushes Claire to go to him, to tell him she remembers him, remembers them, and remembers how much she loves him.

Precious. I don't usually read YA but this story really got to me. Precious represents every insecure high school girl out there who longs for popularity and wants the cool guy to notice her, yet hides in her insecurities with whispered answers and downcast eyes. But an unexpected kiss from the cool guy sends Precious reeling. Winning the Prom Queen title puts her at his side. A moment of weakness gives the popular girl a chance to wreak havoc and Precious nearly loses her best friend. This is high school drama in a few short pages with a very sweet, very sigh-worthy romance woven into it.

I never really thought about the story of a kiss bestowed and shared but this collection showed how unique a kiss can be, in fiction and real life.

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