Thursday, December 21, 2017

Shut Up and Kiss Me by Christie Craig | Book Review

Shut Up and Kiss Me by Christie Craig
First Published: 2010
Adult, Romance
Welcome to Precious, Texas, where fistfights serve as dinner theater and fire ants rain from the sky. The locals are very friendly, if a bit eccentric. No pictures please, or you may find yourself a guest of the county morgue.
Photojournalist Shala Winters already had her hands full bringing tourism to this backward, podunk town, but her job just got tougher. Pictures can say a thousand words, and one of Shala's is screaming bloody murder. Now she has to entrust a macho, infuriating lawman with her life -- but she'll never trust him with her heart.
Trusted or not, Sky Gomez isn't about to let a killer get his hands on Shala's Nikon -- or any of her more comely assets, for that matter. Her mouth might move faster than a Piney Woods roadrunner, but all he can think about is how good it must taste...and how she'll never escape true love.
Sometimes, you get a book on Kindle because it's free, and you're not sure if you're going to like it--the cover is bland, or you've never heard of the author before--but you still read it. And end up really, really enjoying it. Shut Up and Kiss Me is one of those reads for me.

Now, the summary on GR is really misleading. Shut Up and Kiss Me doesn't follow one couple, but three. So I'm gonna recap that for a second.

The first story is Shala and Sky's. Shala is a photographer who comes to Precious, Texas to help boost tourism in an effort to save the town. But not everyone wants her there, and Sky, as the chief of police, agrees to look out for her just in case. Which is good, because someone would stop at nothing to get Shala's camera... Could she have, somewhere, at some point, inadvertently took a photo of something she shouldn't have?...

As far as main couples go I really liked these two. I found Shala to be easy to relate to; she was smart but cute, funny but (when she wants to be) flirty, and easily flustered but emotionally hardened by her difficult past. She fits really well with Sky, despite the rocky beginning, since he is a natural protector, strong in body and mind, but also vulnerable. And like her, he has a rough past that he rises above.  

And of course, they were also HOT together (side note: I'm curious where the steamy parts would rank if I read this now, as a far more... ahem... seasoned... romance reader...).

The second story is Redfoot's, Sky's adoptive father, who has a relationship with his neighbor. Only she wants them to keep it a secret. Tension builds and the question becomes not should they come out to their families, but can they even remain together?... 

I did love Redfoot. He was a lot of fun to read of, while simultaneously dishing some elderly wisdom to everyone else. And his story was quite unique since old people don't get love stories often, which is a shame really. Life and love don't end at 40, nor do physical needs just... disappear completely.

And the third story is that of Maria, Sky's adoptive sister. Maria is dating Matt, but she suspects he might be cheating on her. It's just her luck that amidst this inner turmoil returns Jose, her adoptive brother, and past flame. Maria has things she has to tell both men if she ever wants to move on with her life and relationships. But can she bring herself to do it?...

Maria's storyline wasn't my favorite by a long shot. She didn't really leave much of an impression on me, for better or worse. She was just... there. Ditto on Jose and Matt, who each received the personality depth of a log. Jose was comic relief. Matt was the sweet boyfriend. This is where their traits end, really. I feel like Craig could've done a lot more with these people, if I were honest. As it stands, I kind of feel like you could cut the whole thing and the novel wouldn't be worse off. 

Craigs seems to specialize mostly in slapstick, and while I am not the biggest fan of that type of humor, other parts of the story covered for it; there were a lot of genuinely funny moments that required no manhood to be bitten by fire ants, a lot of cute, enough steam, and even some heart-wrenching moments, all wrapped up on witty dialogue and character chemistry.

Although, I will definitely admit that the whole hitman subplot was subpar. It was loosely used to bring Shala and Sky together and then barely utilized, with the few bits surrounding it lacking in action and excitement.

My other big critique is that the ending of the novel kind of promises a continuation, yet it doesn't appear like we're ever going to get one. At this point, I probably won't read it even if it came out (it's been five years and I can barely remember this one), but still... sucks for everyone who loves this novel.

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