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A Kiss by Design (Kiss & Tell Book 1) Kindle Edition
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I'm a sucker for a love-gone-wrong or a people-dating-the-wrong-person story (A Midsummer Night's Dream, anybody?) and that's what attracted me to A Kiss by Design. Emily is best friends with Dylan and has been dating Dylan's older brother Zach for years. Dylan has been secretly in love with Emily forever and faces a constant battle to hide it.
Some parts of the story were really funny - The scenes where Emily finds the ring in Dylan's bag and decides to stop him from proposing were some of my favourites. She comes up with some ridiculous schemes and I think it was obvious to everybody but Emily and Dylan why she was so desperate to stop him. I loved how her friends worked to open Emily's eyes to the situation.
Dylan was a great character and friend to Emily, it was really sad reading his chapters and watching him suffer. I honestly have no idea how Emily hadn't realised he was in love with her. I get Zack not noticing because he's really self involved - let's just say he won't be winning any boyfriend of the year competitions!
Zack annoyed me, but that's the point. I think you're not meant to like him and I think it's obvious from pretty early on that he's not the one for Emily. The scene with his tutor and then his later reaction was really annoying - talk about hypocritical!
A Kiss by Design is sweet, funny and fun. I would have liked the ending to be developed more and I wanted more Dylan.
I received a copy in exchange for an honest review!
Emily is dating Zach, a football star, who attends a different university than she does. Zach's brother Dylan is Emily's close friend and they attend the same school. Zach is rarely there - emotionally or physically - for Emily, so she relies on Dylan for the things most girls would turn to their boyfriends to help with. Because Dylan secretly loves Emily, he's happy to help. Until the day his brother confesses he's going to ask Emily to marry him and Dylan decides some distance is necessary, despite how easy it is for him to get sucked into Emily's pull. To complicate matters further, Emily discovers the ring Dylan is holding for Zach and thinks Dylan is about to pop the question to his quasi-girlfriend, Denise. Heartbroken because her friend didn't even tell her he's in love, let alone about to propose to someone, Emily believes his feelings can't be that strong and with the very reluctant help of her friends, sets out to make Dylan change his mind. Along the way, with help from her meddling (in a good way!) friends Kayla, Reagan and Shelby, realizes her feelings for Dylan are a lot different than the friendly feelings she thought she had for him.
I liked Emily, though I found her to be kinda wishy washy at times. I understand she was torn between the two brothers, but I just wanted her to make up her mind. Dylan was the star of this book, as far as I'm concerned. He's the swoony book boyfriend we all wish was real - and ours. He was sweet and supportive and reliable and sexy. It's no wonder Emily fell for him. Zach never really did it for me. Though he didn't feature in the book nearly as much as Dylan did, when he was around he was self-centered and, quite frankly, a bit of a jerk. I hope to discover another side of him in the second book in this series. Emily's friends Kayla, Reagan and Shelby were each awesome in their own way. Shelby was my favorite though. She was outgoing and forthright. She said what she felt and thought and I found that refreshing.
The story was cute and romantic, even if it was predictable. But you know what? I don't mind predictable when I like the characters... and I definitely liked these characters. The multiple POVs in the book ended up being a little difficult to follow at times. They changed mid-chapter and at times, I was confused as to who the narrator was.
My biggest complaint with this book was that I wish the build-up had been cut short and the ending had been a little more satisfying. While not a true cliffhanger, it left me wanting more. We spent so much time in the back and forth with Emily and Dylan that I wanted more of them together. What we got, instead, was a tease. I absolutely adored these two characters. They were so perfect for each other, I wanted a chance to actually know more than that they were going on a date. I wanted to see them as a couple. I know this is a series, but the second book is Zach's book and, given the way relationships were severed in this story, I don't anticipate much of Emily and Dylan in his book. Maybe I'm wrong. I hope I'm wrong. But, the ending caused me to knock a full star off my rating of this one.
I received a copy of this book from the publisher, via NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review.
****Rating updated 12/27****
The author contacted me after seeing my review and offered me a final copy of the book that contained two chapters not in the review copy. The two extra chapters made a huge difference in the book! I wanted Emily and Dylan together and I got it! I feel like Emily and Dylan's story is complete now. Thank you, Christy, for reaching out and allowing me to read the changes you made!
Emily has been dating Zach for years, but she’s also best friends with his brother Dylan, and feels like her relationship with Zach wouldn’t work without Dylan.
Zach is planning to ask Emily to marry him, and gives the ring to Dylan for safe keeping, unfortunately though Emily sees it in his bag, and incorrectly assumes that Dylan is going to ask another girl to marry him.
Realising that she is jealous of whoever Dylan is going to propose to, Emily starts a plan to stop Dylan, not realising just how deep her feelings go.
Will Emily admit how she feels about Dylan? And is she nuts for thinking that her boyfriend’s brother is the best part of their relationship?
This was an okay contemporary romance, but it was very awkward in the beginning.
Emily was an okay character, although she really let Zach rule their relationship. I found it a bit bizarre how she thought that if Zach was a bad boyfriend it was her own fault, and that she thought that the best part of their relationship was his brother! I don’t know what she was thinking, but thinking that it’s your fault that your boyfriend isn’t perfect? Thinking his brother is the best part of your relationship? Weird, and not good in so many ways.
The storyline was okay, but it did have its issues. The start of the book was really awkward, and things felt a bit forced and unnatural. Even the first conversation between Zach and Dylan felt awkward, and it took a long time for me to actually begin to like this book.
It annoyed me that Emily tried to get her friends to flirt with Dylan without considering that things might be awkward if he actually came on to them! I could totally see what her friends were saying – she wanted them to pretend to be drunk, and come on to Dylan, but what would they have done if he’d actually started flirting back?
There were some funny moments in this book though, and even though it wasn’t supposed to be funny, I found these lines quite amusing –
"Her eyes went wide as she realised what she felt against her leg."
"He considered excusing himself to the bathroom to spank the monkey."
"Do you know who we're playing this weekend? I can't believe you're doing this to me now."
The romance was actually quite good when we actually got some romantic scenes, but I personally would have liked there to have been more romance. We didn’t really get more than one scene between Dylan and Emily which was a bit disappointing, and this was the best aspect of the book.
The ending was okay, although it seems pretty obvious that this couple is not going to have an easy time of things after all that has gone on. It seems like the second book in the series will be about Zach, but after reading this and knowing what his relationship with Emily was like (including the fact that he just wanted to get the job done in bed, and didn’t bother with foreplay) I can’t say I’m desperate to read his story!
Overall; an okay contemporary romance, with the occasional funny moment.
7 out of 10.
Most recent customer reviews
A very well written story. I fell in love with Dylan and Emily right away. I didn't care for Zach and actually wondered how he could be so oblivious about...Read more
Emily Dilbert and Dylan Chamberlain are best friends and sophomores in college together.Read more