Friday, June 27, 2014

Review: Never Been Kissed by Molly O'Keefe

Never Been Kissed (Boys of Bishop, #2)
Never Been Kissed by Molly O'Keefe
(Boys of Bishop #2)
July 1, 2014
Bantam publishing
384 pages
Genre: Contemporary Romance 18+
(Contains: detailed sex, mature language)
Source: eARC from publisher for Honest review
Book Synopsis:
As the daughter of a wealthy politician, Ashley Montgomery has had enough of her parents’ expectations for her future and is going her own way, volunteering to work at a refugee camp in Africa. But her act of charity turns dangerous when she takes a boat trip and is abducted by Somali pirates. Enter Brody Baxter, who was a bodyguard for the Montgomery family ten years ago and doesn’t think twice about coming to Ashley’s rescue. Handsome and tough, Brody has always done what needed to be done. So he swoops in, saves Ashley, and brings her to a place where she can rest and recuperate without the glare of the press and her demanding family: Brody’s small hometown of Bishop, Arkansas. But Ashley soon realizes that she’s not the only one in need of healing.

Holed up with Ashley in a tiny apartment over his brother’s bar in Bishop, Brody is tempted and torn in ways he never anticipated. Beautiful Ashley, vibrant despite her ordeal, fearless enough to love him beyond his wall of self-punishment, is now determined to save him. But with a little faith and a lot of love, they just may find happiness in each others’ arms.

My Review:

This was one of those stories that continued to grow on me, causing me to enjoy it more and more as the pages progressed. This was my first read by Molly O'Keefe, but it won't be my last. While Never Been Kissed is second book of the Boys of Bishop series, each book can be read as a standalone.

I'm not going to rehash the synopsis or give away spoilers. Instead, I want to say that I really enjoyed all the character exploration that O'Keefe produced in this story. It was both engaging and satisfying to read about them, and I felt completely pulled into and invested in their lives. What could have been left at a superficial level was broadened and expanded, giving me a complete view and complexity of not only Brody and Ashley, but additional key characters like Sean, Cora, and Ed. I loved the build up of getting to know their ins and outs, the whys and whats of who they are. And I want to make special mention that I loved that they were interracial couples!

The pacing of it all was great and I never felt bored getting to know Brody and Ashley and their story. This is probably because this book wasn't solely focused on their romance. And I loved their romance. But additionally we get a secondary romance, which was just as special and made the reading all the sweeter. Plus, we get great family dynamic moments, particularly with brothers Brody and Sean, but also with their dad, Ed. Then throw in some interesting political twists and some creative small town happenings, and I was completely engaged and engrossed in this story from start to finish. 

Never Been Kissed is a wonderful, character-driven, engaging story, combining worldwide excitement with small town charm, playing on themes of forgiveness, redemption, and reinvention, and leaving you with a couple of sweet (and steamy) romances and familial hope and love. I look forward to more stories from this series.
4-1/2 STARS
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