Joint Review: Rider’s Kiss by Anne Rainey

Publisher: Samhain
How did you get the book: e-arc from publisher
Release date: May 13th

In high school, Victoria was every guy’s buddy. And ever since, she’s been stuck in the friend zone. Sex appeal? She doesn’t have enough of that to fill her smallest measuring spoon. Thankfully, her catering business keeps her too busy to think about her personal life—or lack thereof.

riderskissWhen her old high school crush strolls back into town, heating up feelings she thought she’d shoved to the back of her emotional freezer, she feels compelled to take up her best friend’s offer to do a makeover. Maybe it’s time she play the siren, not the sidekick.

Back in Summit Green to open a new branch of his auto repair service, Rider James barely recognizes the alluring brunette as the clumsy, introverted girl from high school. He always liked her, but back then she was too innocent to mess with. Now she’s all grown up…and turning him on.

Yet Victoria can’t help wondering if Rider will ever look past the sinful pout and stiletto heels—and love the vulnerable woman who still hides beneath.

Warning: Features a slightly nerdy caterer, a man determined to do more than kiss the cook, a generous portion of steaming-hot sex, and a dash of bondage.

*blurb taken from goodreads*

Lou: When I read the blurb for this book, I was like GIMMIE. I love the unrequited love trope, the older brother hero of best friend trope, and I love a nerd heroine. Sadly, while the premise pushes all of the right buttons, I sadly didn’t like the execution of the story. Considering it’s only a 90 odd page novella, there was a lot of info-dump at the beginning story I struggled to get into the story, especially when a flashback occurs at the beginning alongside the info-dump. Everything was explained why Victoria was the way she is and sadly I couldn’t connect to Victoria. I found her a little too woe-be-gone for my taste and I wanted to shake her up and tell her not to be such a downer, considering the fact she hadn’t seen Rider in years.

MinnChica: I was also pretty excited about this book, because I absolutely love the best friend’s older brother trope. While I didn’t love it as much as I had hoped to, I thought once the book got past the info-dump, it did get a little bit better. I like to take chances on novellas, because I think some authors can really knock my socks off, however, this one didn’t wow me like others do. I felt as if a lot of the story was left underdeveloped because of the limited page count.

Lou: That’s exactly how I felt also in regards to the story being underdeveloped. Victoria had issues with her body and self-esteem, especially when it comes to men. Rather than empathising with her, I got annoyed a little and I think it’s because her character doesn’t progress a lot from the beginning. Usually characters go on journeys but with Victoria, I felt as if she hadn’t grown. I don’t want to spoil the ending but even towards the end, rather than thinking logically, she believes the strange scenario in front of her with Rider. I don’t know. I’m finding this review a little difficult to write. It just seemed that a lot of the emotions were told rather than shown.

MinnChica: I absolutely agree with that. There were many times throughout the book that I felt as if someone was just reading to me in a very monotone voice. While I think I saw a little more character development in Victoria than Lou did, it definitely wasn’t much. I would have liked to see her grow more out of her shell, become more comfortable in her own skin, and really accept her place in life instead of just riding it out. Like Victoria, I thought Rider had a little bit of development, but didn’t really grow much either. His character seemed to be the stable, driving force of the novella, and I never really felt like I fully connected to him, mainly because the scenes in his POV were few and far between.

Lou: A lot of the issues Victoria had felt cliched to me; from wearing baggy clothes to then getting a makeover done by her best-friend. For those to work for me, I need the characters to have depth and be unique so something is different. Rider was definitely the driving force of the entire novella, and I didn’t understand why he said those rude comments about Victoria to his sister if deep-down he really liked her. There wasn’t a lot of conflict in this novella also. For the middle part, Victoria and Rider get along and then comes the big huge black moment. I thought what drove them apart was kinda strange because why on earth wouldn’t Rider tell Victoria about his friend. Why was it kept a secret?

MinnChica: I also found the big conflict to be a bit questionable. While I understood Rider wanting to keep his friend’s secret, it also seemed a little ridiculous that he wasn’t willing to come clean to Victoria about it, especially if he really was in love with her. The whole thing felt a little forced, and it didn’t really help with the other issues in the story.

Lou: The premise of Rider’s Kiss was awesome but sadly the novella just didn’t work for me. The conflict wasn’t strong enough, and sadly, I just couldn’t connect or engage with Victoria and Rider.

I give Rider’s Kiss a C-

MinnChica: All in all, I thought this book really struggled to live up to the intrigue of the blurb. While the sex scenes were good, the rest of the book fell flat for me. Between the lack of character development, and the drama that didn’t make a lot of sense to me, I think this book would have been much better with a longer page count.

I give Rider’s Kiss a C-

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