Book Review: About That Kiss (Heartbreaker Bay #5) by Jill Shalvis

Rating: 4 Stars

Published January 23rd 2018 by Avon
Summary: When love drives you crazy . . .

When sexy Joe Malone never calls after their explosive kiss, Kylie shoves him out of her mind. Until she needs a favor, and it’s a doozy. Something precious to her has been stolen and there’s only one person with unique finder-and-fixer skills that can help—Joe. It means swallowing her pride and somehow trying to avoid the temptation to throttle him—or seduce him.

the best thing to do . . .

No, Joe didn’t call after the kiss. He’s the fun time guy, not the forever guy. And Kylie, after all she’s been through, deserves a good man who will stay. But everything about Kylie makes it damned hard to focus, and though his brain knows what he has to do, his heart isn’t getting the memo.

… is enjoy the ride.

As Kylie and Joe go on the scavenger hunt of their lives, they discover surprising things about each other. Now, the best way for them to get over “that kiss” might just be to replace it with a hundred more.
(from Goodreads)

Review: This book just didn’t click with me, I’m not sure why. I absolutely loved The Trouble With Mistletoe (Heartbreaker Bay #2) and was so excited to read more of the Heartbreaker Bay series. It had all the great elements of my favorite type of contemporary romance: a small town feel, a feisty and fierce leading lady, a strong alpha male with a heart of gold, and even a case of penguin-napping to solve! It was fine, but if not for the very strong and heart-wrenching last 10% of the book where I finally really connected to the characters, this would have been a 3 star review for me. That last 10% was amazing enough to tack on an extra star, though!

I tagged this in my “small towns” shelf because the series is about a group of people who all work or live in this strip mall or shopping center that I can’t quite picture but there is apparently a quad in the center with a wishing fountain that grants true love. Kylie works in Reclaimed Woods, a furniture store in the building, as a woodworker, and Joe is a badass PI/bodyguard/bounty hunter that works at Hunt Investigations (also in the building). There’s also a pet shop, a coffee shop/bakery, a gym, a tech company, some apartments, and I don’t even remember what else. There are a LOT of characters and backstories to keep straight, which isn’t so surprising as this is book #5 in a series that’s clearly not finished yet.

Kylie and Joe have some great chemistry, and I love that they both had kind of screwed up childhoods in different ways, and they both wound up sort of parenting their parents. They’ve got some crazy explosive chemistry, but I like that they have that shared connection as well. Beyond that, I don’t know, I just didn’t emotionally connect with this book and I checked a lot to see how much was left before it was finished (never a good sign). Thank goodness for that last 10%! I also really like that there are little teasers for upcoming books/couples, like clearly Molly and Lucas are going to star in their own book – the tension there!! Also, Vinnie is clearly the best character in this whole book. ❤

This is book #5 in the series, but it can definitely be read as a standalone – just be warned you’re about to be bombarded with side characters, many of whom are already coupled off and whose stories are told in previous books. I’d only previously read the second book, The Trouble With Mistletoe, and there aren’t really any spoilers for that book, probably because the main characters aren’t really in this book at all. There are likely some minor spoilers for the earlier books, but not much more than you’d get by reading the back covers.

*I received a free copy of this book from Edelweiss+ and the publisher in exchange for my honest review.

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