Monday, January 26, 2009

'Kissing Games of the World'

by Sandi Kahn Shelton
Fiction, 2008
Shaye Areheart (Random House), hardback, 376 p.
If there’s one point that Jaime McClintock and Nate Goddard can agree upon, it’s that love is overrated. Jamie doesn’t have time for it. Nate doesn’t need it. And they certainly don’t want it from each other.

Jamie, a struggling free-spirited artist, is a devoted single mother who hasn’t been in a serious relationship since her boyfriend abandoned her after their son was born. Nate, a charismatic jet-setting salesman, is widowed and estranged from his father and five-year-old son, Christopher. Jamie would rather glue glitter to pinecones than go out on a date. Nate spends most of his nights wooing his clients.
Then one afternoon Nate’s father drops dead of a heart attack. In that moment, their highly guarded worlds collide.
I have to start off by saying that although I do love a good love story, I don’t read a lot of romance books. (I’m not sure exactly what this book would be classified as, women's fiction perhaps, but a romance is the key element of the story). Instead I usually satisfy my craving for a love story by watching a Jane Austen adaptation, a couple of the soapy type tv dramas I follow, and only the very occasional romantic comedy movie. I had a short stint where I read chicklit books but they started to feel the same. Plus I have a low tolerance for anything overly sappy. So I was originally a little hesitant about accepting this book to review, but I gave in partly because of the gorgeous cover. Isn’t it pretty?

Well, with that out of the way, I can honestly say that this was a very enjoyable, modern love story. Sure we know how it’s going to end but the journey to get there was a lot of fun to read and it kept drawing me back to the story every time I had to set it down. I even shunned the computer when I was nearing the end so I could finish it. And the characters were quirky and amusing, especially the antics of the little boys. I’d love to know if the author, who is a mother herself and has written some non-fiction parenting books, has personally experienced the incident where the cell phone gets dropped down the airplane toilet! I don’t have kids but it all seemed very realistic and added some moments of humour to the story as well. I still can’t decide if I like the ending the way it is or if I would’ve preferred something a little more dramatic, but all in all this was a pleasure to read.
You know what freedom is? It’s something people say they want when they’re afraid they can’t have what we all really crave: somebody to love. You have no idea what you’re in for. To hear you tell it, you had a horrible father and an unhappy mother and then a bad marriage to the wrong woman, and so you ran off and found something you’re calling freedom. Right now – no, hear me out – I can see this in your face. You think love is just these little, these little kissing games of the world you play - ”
Author's website

My Rating: 3.5/5
(#4 for 2008)

Thank you to the author, Sandi Shelton, and Jaime of Pump Up Your Book Promotion for the opportunity to read this book.

Some previous stops on the tour:
The Plot (the author interviews Nate, the leading man)
Scribe Vibe (guest post)
Fiction Scribe (guest post: Finding Time to Write)
Fiction Scribe (interview with the author)
The Book Connection (guest post)
Blogcritics (interview with the author)
Boomer Chick (10 Things You Didn't Know About Sandi Kahn Shelton)
Popin's Lair (review)
You can follow the rest of the tour here.


  1. I had heard about this book somewhere and it sounded fun. Glad to hear it was an enjoyable read and you are right, that is a pretty cover. Adding it to the list for a good comfort book :)

  2. I don't read a lot of romance either, but I do enjoy a good non-sappy love story. And this definitely sounds like one.

  3. I was also drawn to the cover but didn't request an ARC. If I'm going to read romance I usually prefer in in historical fiction.

    I added the link to the ARC Challenge post.

  4. I feel exactly the same way about romance books. I enjoy a little romance, but just can't get into the overly sappiness the "romance" novel affords. And I too had a whole Chick lit year!! Finally got tired of it, but it's fun for what it is.

    Nice review!!

  5. I just tagged you for the Bookshelf Meme here!

  6. The cover is nice. When I think 'romance novel' I think bodice-ripper or formulaic, but I think there are some that really have a good storyline. I've read a few the last few years that are changing my thinking about romances.

  7. Iliana - It would make a good comfort read. :)

    Nymeth - This wasn't sappy at all and just a fun read all around.

    Teddy Rose - I'm glad I gave it a chance. And thanks.

    Stephanie - Predictable is ok sometimes if the story and characters are fun, but sappy, no thanks! ;)

    avisannschild - Thanks for the tag, I'll try to get to it before too long.

    Booklogged - That's what I imagine when I think of romance too, but it's true that there are some good ones to be found.

  8. Wow! Thank you for the review of this book. I'm so sorry I didn't see it and respond to it sooner. But I feel the same way you do about so-called romance novels and love stories. I HATE SAPPY BOOKS! So when these characters appeared to me and I realized it was going to be a love story, I cringed, I fought it, I argued with myself...and then finally just let the story take me. And I'm so glad I did, because they never did seem over-sentimental (and by that I mean "unearned sentiment"). I loved writing the kids. I am a mom myself, and have in fact written three books (humor books) about parenthood. And kids show up in my other two novels as well, "What Comes After Crazy" and "A Piece of Normal" (which are NOT love stories). As to your question about if a kid of mine ever dropped a cell phone in an airplane toilet--the answer is no, but I read an online account of a guy this happened to. Post 9/11, so there was much hassle, the plane had to land unexpectedly, and he was sequestered and questioned about it. When I read that description, I just knew that had to happen to Nate! Anyway, thanks for the nice review.

  9. Sandi - Thank you so much for stopping by to comment on my review and for answering my question about the airplane incident, which still makes me chuckle. And thank you for a fun, non-sappy story that I enjoyed reading very much.


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