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That's What I'm Talking About

I generally review romance, paranormal and urban fantasy. I tend to pick review books that I want to read, so generally my reviews will be positive. I always give my honest opinion: good, bad, and indifferent. 


Note: on my blog I use a letter grading system. I've listed the ratings below. For sites with stars, I have listed the equivalent rating. If I didn't finish the book, I will not rate it with stars.


A+  Personal Favorite (5 stars)
A    Loved It (4.5 or 5 stars)
A-   Enjoyed A Lot (4 or 4.5 stars)
B+  Liked It A Lot (4 stars)
B    Liked It -- Recommend (4 stars)
B-   Liked It -- But I had a few small issues (3 or 3.5 stars)
C+  Liked It -- But I had issues (3 or 3.5 stars)
C    Finished It -- Liked some, didn't like some (3 stars)
C-   Finished It -- Liked a little, didn't like a lot (2 or 2.5 stars)
D    Not A Big Fan (2 stars)
E    Don’t Waste Your Time (1 star)
TW: Reading this book was like watching a Train Wreck
DNF: Did Not Finish


updated July 9, 2015

Currently reading

Operation: Endgame (Ministry of Peculiar Occurrences Book 6) (English Edition)
Philippa Ballantine, Jeanne H. Ballantine, William Morris
Just You and Me (A Contemporary Romance Collection)
Fiona Miers, Caitlyn Lynch, Liz Durano, Deelylah Mullin, Cate Farren, Jacquie Biggar, Vicki Batman, Kate Richards, Brenna Zinn, Dalton Diaz, Tierney O'Malley, Desiree Holt, Nicole Morgan, Ashlyn Chase
Bitter Bite: Elemental Assassin, Book 14
Audible Studios, Jennifer Estep, Lauren Fortgang
Progress: 27 %

Review: A Fine Mess by Kelly Siskind

A Fine Mess (Over the Top) - Kelly Siskind

Lily has been living in break-up limbo for a year. She and boyfriend Kevin have been together for 11 years, but the relationship has turned comfortable and loveless. Finally getting the courage she needs, she ends things with Kevin. The primary push to finally make the break generated in her feelings for her friend and boss, Sawyer, whom she met nine months ago on a girls’ weekend in Aspen (My Perfect Mistake) The spark between the pair made her realize how much she doesn’t love Kevin any longer. 


Sawyer is head-over-heels for Lily since the moment he met her almost a year ago. They have so much in common, and she’s become his sounding board, muse, and best friend. But she’s got a boyfriend, so he’d never push for more, instead drowning his feelings in endless one-night stands. Yet when Lily calls to tell him she’s ended things with Kevin, he gets scared that his family’s history of broken relationships will doom any future he may have with Lily.


I absolutely loved A Fine Mess. Plain and simple, Lily and Sawyer’s story was fabulous. The friends-to-lovers trope being one of my favorites, I loved that their story begins in the previous book and takes time to develop, so when they make that leap to be lovers, you know they are already in love. But theirs isn’t an easy road, and I honestly hated Sawyer at the beginning of the book.


A Fine Mess is shared in dueling first person POVs, so readers understand the motivations, histories, and feelings of both Lily and Sawyer. I’m starting to become a fan of this method of storytelling for these very reasons. I was put through both highs and lows as the characters come to terms with their issues, both mental and emotional. Sawyer comes from a long line of broken marriages and men who cheat. He honestly believes he will inevitably hurt Lily someday, so he’d rather never start anything than break her heart. Understanding his pain makes some of his less desirable behavior a bit more tolerable for me. 


Lily struggles with change and saying goodbye. She deals with her emotions though shopping and hoarding. It’s a real problem, one that she’s hidden from family and friends, and I adore that Sawyer understands this and doesn’t make light or run away. In fact, Sawyer is beyond understanding, he’s extremely intuitive and honest (mostly), which is so refreshing in a romance hero. I love that Sawyer gets it. I love that he’s not deliberately obtuse. He understands Lily, which gives him so much power. What he chooses to do or not do, how he reacts, is done with full understanding of what it will do to Lily.


What I enjoyed most about A Fine Mess is that, for the most part, Sawyer and Lily’s story isn't two steps forward and one step back. It's a slow progression forward. Always forward. They do stumble and have setbacks, but it’s exciting and real, not silly and contrived. It’s overflowing sexiness and joy AND utter heartbreak with moments of despair. It’s moments like after their first kiss and Sawyer thinks:


“By the time I pull away, she’s swallowed my heart.”


Or when he understands her fears of being intimate with him and he tells her:


“You don’t have to survive me, you have to survive with me, and I can be a real pain in the ass.”


In the end, I just loved Sawyer and Lily’s story. A Fine Mess flowed so well from beginning to end and was a perfect balance of joy and sorrow, friendship and sexy times. I loved that we got to see their friendship develop in the prior book, so when this one begins with Lily’s breakup, things are able to move forward. They are best friends and so cute together. Ms. Siskind has created entertaining characters whom I want to know, set in an adventurous world I’d love to live in. Hands down, A Fine Mess is one of my favorite books of 2016.


My Rating:  A+ Loved It, Personal Favorite

Originally posted at That's What I'm Talking About

Review copy provided by publisher.