I really like Suzanne Brockman, she has a consistent energy and a complexity to her characters. Kiss and Tell feels like an early book of hers, it's quite heavy handed, and I have to say I was disappointed.
There was little romantic tension, not much of her trademark humour or energy. Her hero is Dr Marshall Devlin, who kisses his best friend's sister, Leila Hunt, whilst dressed as a ninja. There are fireworks, but to his surprise, she doesn't realise it was him. So instead of telling her it was him, well there wouldn't be a book if he did that, we go through 100 or so pages before she figures it out. There are some funny lines and situations, but the book never came alive for me.
All serial romances are by definition contrived, but many wear their plots more gracefully than Kiss and Tell does. I would still buy a Brockman on name alone, but if you don't need this to complete your collection, I would let Kiss and Tell go.
While on holiday at her brother Simon's house, a sensuous New Year's kiss from a stranger dressed as a ninja sparks more passion in Leila than all the kisses from her current absentee boyfriend combined. She enlists the help of Simon to find this stranger, not realizing that it is her childhood nemesis who kissed her, British transplant Dr. Marshall Devlin. He meant to return for more, but a patient's page sent him to the delivery room. When he returns and is ready to take up where he left off, he learns that she had no idea it was him and that she's determined to find her mystery man. The plan is simple, wit the help of her PI friend Frankie, she will confront the three other guys dressed as ninjas and get them to kiss her... Marsh figures she'll know its him if they spent plenty of time together, but after the lukewarm kisses from the ninjas, clueless Leila wonders if she'll ever find her guy.
Penned over a decade ago, Brockmann's first in her "Sunset Keys" series shows its age with the kind of stilted unrealistic dialogue typical of the genre even a decade before that. You know, where a woman in her 20's says stuff like dreadful? And she's contemplating marrying a man she doesn't love but has dated for a year yet has never been intimate with him? While she doesn't have to be a slam hound, I found that a little hard to believe. I liked the love/hate thing between the two, but after awhile it got tedious and there was so little chemistry between the two that the story never really came alive. Frankly I wondered what Simon saw in a dreadful woman like her when he could have had a spitfire like Frankie.
© Tracy Vest, November 2008
on July 18, 2005
This was the book that "introduced" me to the wonderful Suzanne Brockmann, and so it will always have a special place in my heart. It is not romantic suspense, so don't expect to see any Navy SEALs or terrorist plots. Instead what you have is a very simple yet very intense love story.
Leila Hunt has gone home to Florida for a much-needed vacation. She hopes to spend her days soaking up the sun, hanging out with her best friend Frankie, enjoying her brother's fun parties, and avoiding the British and annoying Dr. Marshall Devlin at all costs.
While at one of her brother Simon's infamous parties, Leila is given the most passionate and arousing kiss by a mysterious ninja (are there any other kind?), who ends up leaving Cinderella aka Leila behind at the ball instead of the other way around. Only instead of a slipper, she's left with the memory of a heated kiss.
Considering all the hostility and angst they went through as teenagers, Marsh can't believe he kissed Leila, but now that he has, he wants to do it again. Excited to see her, he gets quite the jolt when he realizes that Leila has no idea he was the one who kissed the breath out of her. So instead of being upfront and confessing he was her man of mystery, he keeps it to himself, convinced that if they spend more time together Leila will realize that he is the one she's been searching for all along. Of course he also realizes that she will end up hating him even more when she finds out he was her ninja, but it's a risk he's willing to take.
True, it's a contrived plot, one that could have been solved quite easily, but what fun would that be? It works rather well to increase the incredible tension that has always existed between Marsh and Leila. I remember being blown away by the intensity Suz used with her characters even back then, and it showcases hints of her burgeoning talents as a writer. Keep in mind this story was released in '96, and look how far she's come since then. Without cutting her teeth on K & T, we would not have had Sam & Alyssa, or more recently, Max & Gina.
If you are a diehard SB fan, or if you've never read anything by Suz, I highly recommend this book. Even if you have read her books, I still recommend reading K & T. I loved it.
on May 6, 2009
Leila Hunt left Sunrise Key behind her gladly many years ago and even though she comes back to visit often, that's about as much as she can take of the small community. Nothing is private on the Key - nothing, which drives Leila absolutely nuts and reminds her vividly why she left in the first place. However, this time the visit is aggravated by the fact that her brother Simon has another house guest - Marshall Devlin, one of Leila's most hated tormentors from her childhood. But when Leila finds herself looking for a masked man that gave her the most enchanting kiss at midnight on New Year's Eve, it leads Leila to rediscover all the enchanting aspects of life on the Key. It also leads Leila to look at Marsh in a new light, but will it be enough to bring her back to Sunrise Key?
Marshall Devlin arrived the first time at Sunrise Key a lost and lonely young boy from England. However, Simon Hunt turned to be his best friend and first ally during those tumultuous months, never mind that they became partners in crime torturing Leila over every possible thing. Still, over the years Marsh grew to love Sunrise Key as his home, so after becoming a doctor he returned to become the Key's sole doctor and sometimes veterinarian. But deep down Marsh has discovered that it will never feel fully like home until he can get Leila for his own, but will he be able to convince her that his feelings are real and not a prank?
Kiss and Tell is the first installment of the Sunrise Key trilogy and it's a spectacular beginning that will bring a smile to your face and remind you why you fell in love with romance novels in the first place. Suzanne Brockmann weaves a wonderful and touching tale of love grown from childhood taunting to passion as adults. The first time I read Kiss and Tell when it was originally published in 1996 it forever made me a lover of romance tales and revisiting now has only served to remind me why I love romance novels so much. Kiss and Tell is packed with passionate emotions that spark remembrances of that all consuming passion and happiness of feeling love returned or keeping alive the ideal of such a romance. Leila and Marsh are absolutely enchanting and are not to be missed, even if their romance is a little simple it's made all the sweeter for it. Pick up Kiss and Tell if you haven't before - it will make you a fan of Suzanne Brockmann and if you haven't read it before, get it for yourself to bring a measure of charm and romance into your life!
Reviewed for Joyfully Reviewed
on August 17, 2009
This was a quick, nice and sweet read, but Marshall and Leila drove me crazy sometimes. They were both likable, but I felt like shaking some sense into them a couple of times.
Marshall was a typical beta hero: kind, responsible, decent, and nice all around. I enjoy a beta hero now and then, but I thought Marshall's gentleness went a little too far when he just stepped aside and let Leila go around town kissing hunk bachelors in search of her "ninja in shining armor", the mysterious man who had kissed her passionately at her brother's New Year's Eve costume party and then disappeared without a trace. Seriously, I couldn't understand why Marshall didn't tell her he was the ninja and put a stop to her wild goose chase.
Leila wasn't as nice as Marshall, and her prejudice against him didn't endear her to me. Okay, I could understand her teen jealousy when they first met and he became her brother's best friend, making her feel "excluded", but she was 30 years old now and it was past time she'd realized he wasn't the "bad guy". She did say some cruel things to Marshall, in the past and in the present, and he didn't deserve it. He understood and forgave her - after all, he's a beta hero - but I can't say I did.
Even considering the less than stellar H/h, Brockmann's writing kept me entertained and the story was cute. It had kind of a Cinderella "vibe" - not by accident, Leila was dressed as Cinderella at her brother's costume party - but the roles were reversed: instead of having the prince looking for his princess, it had Leila looking for "her ninja". It was a funny twist to the original fairy tale.
This is the first book in the Sunrise Key Trilogy
On a vacation back home Leila Hunt is staying at her brother's house and attending his New Years Eve masquerade/costume party when she engages in a knee weakening kiss with a stranger in a Ninja costume at midnight. The stranger slips away and disappears for the rest of the party but Leila can't get him or the kiss off her mind. Determined to find her mysterious man, she hires a PI to locate him; all the while dealing with her ongoing rivalry with her brother's longtime friend and current roommate, Marshall.
I have mixed feelings on this book. It's well written, easy to get through and hard to put down. Having been published originally 12 years ago, it showed no signs of being dated. I liked the story line, it was very fairytale and Cinderella-ish. The idea of meeting a stranger and thinking you found your soul mate based on a kiss, appeals to the hopeless romantic in me.
Here comes the BUT...The actual romantic couple in question have a relationship based on teasing, insults and well a long history of being very unkind to one another. I have known people in my life who have enjoyed relationships that were in some sort of constant upheaval and I never understood the appeal of that. Just like I couldn't understand the appeal these two finally see in one another. Honestly, I found the bickering and their being at odds all the time, tiring. The fighting really brought down the rating on what could have been a fully romantic and sweet story.
The Kissing Game
Cherise Everhard, November 2008
on November 3, 2008
Leila Hunt is expecting her New Year's Eve to be dull and frustrating. Her boyfriend is not going to be able to make it to the party and her brother's aggravating best friend, Marshall Devlin of course is in attendance. The fact that Marshall ticks her off at every turn only frustrates her. Than at the costume party, Leila is kisses senseless by a mystery Ninja and like Cinderella he disappears with a promise to return. However to her dismay he doesn't and she wonders if she'll be able to forget that unforgettable kiss.
Marshall Devlin is in love with his best friend's sister and the fact that he has been for years does not ease the knowledge. He can't seem to be in the same room for long before he and Leila are at odds. When he kisses her on New Year's Eve he thinks that maybe they finally have a chance of putting a relationship together but he soon finds out Leila doesn't know he was the one who kissed her. That's fine, he'll woo her but will they be able to put years of animosity behind them or will they end up making the biggest mistake of their lives and walk away from each other.
This is a re-release of one of Ms. Brockman's earlier titles a perfect way for her fans to catch up with what she's produced if they are new to her writings. This is a sweet, fast read, a perfect way to pass a weekend. Kiss and Tell will only whet the readers appetite for more of Ms. Brockman's other stories!
I read this book in the Kindle edition. Its editing and formatting are excellent, making it easy on the eyes.
Over a decade ago, Leila Hunt abandoned her home on a small island called Sunrise Key, near the Western Panhandle of Florida in the Gulf of Mexico, for the bright lights of the big city. There are only a little over 600 residents on Sunrise Key, and everyone always knows everyone else's business. Leila much prefers the bustle and anonymity of New York City where she has a thriving, private practice as an accountant. Leila is thirty, and her biological clock is ticking. She's almost decided to commit herself to marriage to her workaholic boyfriend, even though she doesn't love him and hasn't slept with him. She's not convinced anyone better is ever going to show up--until she returns home during the winter holidays to stay at her brother Simon's home at Sunrise Key, and is kissed at midnight by an unknown "ninja" at a New Year's Eve costume party.
It's the most all-consuming, unforgettable kiss of Leila's life but, like the fairy-tale princess Cinderella, Leila's mysterious ninja flees immediately after their kiss, and in spite of promising to return soon, he doesn't come back. Leila is obsessed with figuring out who the ninja was and tracking him down, never suspecting that he's actually Marshall Devlin, Simon's best friend, a gorgeous, thirty-six-year-old, British expatriate who is the island's resident doctor and sometime veterinarian. Dev has been her verbal sparring partner the entire 18 years she's known him, and Leila has absolutely no idea that her explosive ninja kiss resulted from Dev's 12 years of frustrated attraction to Leila, whom until his unplanned kiss, he'd always assumed regarded him in the light of merely Simon's irritating friend.
I'm a big fan of Brockmann and I'd previously thought I'd read all her early contemporary romances, but somehow I missed this one. It is the first book in a romantic comedy trilogy. It really astounded me that Brockmann, who is known for her romantic suspense, would even consider writing comedy, let alone that she'd be so talented at it. The sexual chemistry is great, and the repartee between these attractive protagonists is witty and entertaining.
I have one small complaint. Though I do like Dev, he's often almost too perfect to be real. Brockmann portrays him as an old-fashioned, 19th Century country doctor, kind-hearted, generous, and utterly sacrificial. It's a bit over the top in credibility, for me anyway. I have a hard time imagining any doctor in the USA in this day and age willing to accept payment in pork and vegetables--they won't pay his bills for all the many things in modern life that require money. However, this is such a fun comedy, and the residents of Sunrise Key are so adorably grateful to Dev for all he's given them, I happily suspended my cynicism and enjoyed the ride.
on February 2, 2011
Kiss and Tell is a straightforward, very sweet, quickie romance that I ended up enjoying way more then I thought I would. Written in 96 you can tell it's one of Brockmann's early romances although her style still shines through with wonderfully written, fully developed characters. I love how she gives her heroes individual little traits (like his hair always being in his eyes and the heroine wanting to push it back)There is a thread of humour throughout this one with some amusing dialogue between the heroine and her brother. Brockmann does this really well. She also manages not to fall (too far) into the usual misunderstandings and clichés required from a serial romance, which may have played a part in why I enjoyed this so much. There is also the fact that the Sunrise Key Trilogy (this is book #1) takes place in Florida and for a Canadian in the deep of winter the white sand beaches, gently swaying palms and shorts and tank tops were a welcome relief.
Leila Hunt has returned home to Sunrise Key for her brother Simon's New Years Eve costume party. With a loosely based Cinderella theme, Leila dresses the part and at the stroke of midnight a ninja sweeps her onto the dance floor and off her feet. Kissing Leila like she's never been kissed before, including those from her all too often absentee fiancé. Then with the beep of a pager he disappears.
Unable to forget the kiss and with two weeks before she has to head back to New York Leila sets about finding her mysterious ninja. Calling on the talents of her private investigator best friend and wayward brother for help in eliminating possible suspects. Complicating matters is Marshall Devlin, Simon's recent house guest and the town Doctor. Marshall and Leila have known each other since childhood but have never seen eye to eye in fact when they're in the same room all they seem to do is fight.
But, well this is a romance so of course Marshall is in love with Leila, he has been for years but being stereotypically British he doesn't know how to show his feelings and often appears cold, standoffish and callous. He is of course also the ninja in question. (Not a spoiler) I don't usually care for beta hero's but Marshall was fun and interesting to watch bumbling around, trying to woo Leila while she goes about kissing possible ninja suspects. He is shy and has a kind heart, reminding me very much of Mark Darcy from Brigitte Jones Diary. There aren't any bad guys here or real suspense of any kind, in all honesty there isn't even much sexual tension. However I didn't seem to miss it and can recommend this light and amusing early Brockmann. (You'll finish it in a couple of hours)
on June 22, 2013
I've read a lot of Suzanne's older works and love them. This is about 3.5 stars. It's predictable and a little outdated. Marshall Devlin is a very likeable hero. I liked Leila Hunt just at times she can be so annoying. There constant fighting is a bit overboard. I thought it was only just cute that Marshall helped Leila find her New-Years-Kiss-Ninja. This is a typical Suzanne story. I don't think I'll continue reading this series though. In Kiss and Tell, there's a taste of Simon Hunt and Leila's bff Frankie's budding romance. This is a nice breath away from Suzanne's sharpshooters and Navy Seals. It's a perfect quick read for hopeless romantics (like myself).