“I bet you a kiss you can’t resist me.”
Rena Jackson is ready. She’s worked her tail off to open up her own hair salon, and she’s almost ready to quit her job at the dive bar. Rena’s also a diehard romantic, and she’s had her eye on bar regular Axel Heller for a while. He’s got that tall-dark-and-handsome thing going big time. Problem is, he’s got that buttoned-up Germanic ice man thing going as well. With Valentine’s Day just around the corner, Rena’s about ready to give up on Axel and find her own Mr. Right.
At six foot six, Axel knows he intimidates most people. He’s been crushing on the gorgeous waitress for months. But the muscled mechanic is no romantic, and his heart is buried so deep, he has no idea how to show Rena what he feels. He knows he’s way out of his depth and she’s slipping away. So, he makes one crazy, desperate play…
If there is anything I hate in a book, it’s when the author tells us what the characters are feeling, instead of showing. And The Kissing Game had that in spades.
This book got negative points right at the beginning, when in the very first page, we find out the the hero has still not recovered from the fresh wound of his mother’s death from six months. Then we go on to find out about his feelings about the heroine through his stream of consciousness, and get introduced to more characters than I care about.
Things only continue to go downhill from there. There is no real connection between the hero and the heroine. Unless you count them thinking to themselves or talking to other characters about what they find in attractive in each other. I do not simply know who was more annoying – the hero or heroine. The hero grated on my nerves right off the bat with his arrogant attitude. The heroine was flimsy with her mind changing every minute. One moment she is dazzled by him, and in the next she wants kids and decides he’s not for her.
One main reason I requested the ARC was because of the diversity and POC element. But I felt that this element was introduced to just tick a box, nothing more. Except her skin color, I did not find a single thing about her life that could throw relevance to her heritage. The hero is German, and the author makes him use German words randomly to show for it. Also, the synopsis calls him ‘tall, DARK and handsome’. But he is in actuality a pale blonde guy. Look at the cover? Yeah.
There were too many characters in the book. The main couple talk to them more than with each other. I found out later that on that this is a companion novel of sorts to the author’s books. Maybe if I had not read this as a standalone, I would have disliked it less… On second thought, maybe not.
I had expected to dislike this book and hoped for it to surprise me. It did not. I hate it when that happens!