Book Review: First Kisses Collection Rating: 3.5/5

Since I subscribe to author Camy Tang’s newsletter, I found out that this brand new anthology was on sale for only $0.99 on Kindle. I bought the novella and do NOT regret it. Shortly after purchasing, I also requested the book on NetGalley, so here is the review.

First Kisses: Inspy Kisses Collection #1 is the first collection of novellas from some of my favorite authors! Each story has a theme around first kisses, which is incredibly sweet and sometimes hilarious. I was surprised that they squeezed in 5 6 different stories in one book.

The Rambler’s Bride by Linda Goodnight

Jericho North gets the surprise of his life when he is greeted with a kiss from his brother’s widow, Esther, who he believes has a sordid past. Jericho’s quest is to claim what is rightfully his from his brother’s will, but he didn’t know about his nephew. Esther is desperately trying to make life in Kansas work but she will not sell the land that her husband would want to leave his son. Is Jericho the answer to her problems?

I enjoyed this story that starts with a bang! Right away I was drawn into the lives of Jericho and Esther. Esther is a strong woman, and she was not willing to be pushed around. Jericho is conflicted about what to do with his rising feelings for Esther and his nephew; his struggles are sincere. I thoroughly enjoyed this story.

Lovebirds at the Heartbreak Cafe by Janet Tronstad

Set in the 1950’s, Penny, a widow, needs a job to support all her children. She meets a truck driver, Buddy, who helps her find a job and take care of her family. While Buddy can’t help falling in love with the sweet woman, he can’t ever imagine Penny returning his feelings. Can these two find love at the Heartbreak Cafe?

This story was one of the sweetest ones I’ve read in a long time. The tone is so down-to-earth and homey. I feel like I need to live in a small town and experience all the quirks and hospitalities that occur. The story is a very light-hearted read that will put a smile on your face.

Her Mule Hollow Cowboy by Debra Clopton

Meet Cliff Masterson, the famous bull rider who is ready to settle down. Showing up at his brother’s place early, he rescues Maddie Rose, one of his brother’s partners. Although she is hurt, Maddie Rose can take care of herself. Even if there’s something drawing her to Cliff, she will not be hurt by that cowboy. Will Mule Hollow’s matchmakers have their work cut out for them?

I love the fun banter between Cliff and Maddie. Maddie is feisty and determined. Reading about Mule Hollow made me want to read more from Debra Clopton. I didn’t want the story to end.

Deadly Hunt by Margaret Daley

Tess Miller is a bodyguard who is on vacation in her uncle’s isolated cabin when a wounded stranger collapses at her door. Shane Burkhart is grateful to this guardian angel but Tess is hesitant to trust him. She’s not sure if he’s a victim or a criminal. Who would want to kill Shane? Can Tess figure out what’s going on before someone else gets hurt? Can she shove aside her feelings of attraction for Shane and do her job?

As a huge fan of Margaret Daley, I was excited to jump into this short mystery-thriller of a story. I was fully committed to the characters and their struggles. For such a short story, the pacing was great and the story didn’t suffer too much. I only wish there was more to the story. I love Daley’s strong women who stand up for justice. I encourage everyone to pick up some of her other books – they’re that good.

Necessary Proof by Camy Tang

After becoming a Christian in prison, Alex Villa started working to help stop all the gang activity happening in Sonoma, but now he’s been framed for the death of a cop. Can his old friend, Jane Lawton, use her skills as a computer expert to prove his innocence without getting both of them killed in the process? Can Jane let go of her mistrust in men and trust the man she initially rejected?

Camy Tang is another of my favorite authors of all time and yes, it’s because I’m biased. She always writes about Asian-American heroines which I absolutely identify with. She has a great voice that is sometimes humorous and yet authentic. She is true to what she knows and the pacing of this story was exactly what I wanted. This mystery-thriller is full of action and suspense but nothing too dark. Fans of romance-suspense will definitely enjoy this one.

Kissed by a Cowboy by Lacy Williams

Haley Carston used to be the shy girl who followed around Katie Michaels her senior year of high school, but she has returned to Redbud Trails, OK, to spend time with and care for her aunt dying of cancer. She runs into the first boy who ever kissed her, Maddox Michaels (Katie’s older brother), and can’t decide if her teenage crush would ever have feelings for her. Maddox feels he is barely holding everything together; what could he even offer the beautiful Haley?

Although I didn’t experience all the Haley did growing up, I identified with getting over her shyness. On the outside, she looks almost perfect but on the inside she still struggles with insecurities and daddy issues the way that most of us do. Maddox is a cowboy who struggles with the “provider” hat that was placed on his head after his dad drunk himself to death. The constant pressure is overwhelming at times for him. The religious thread in this story was almost non-existent, which was a little disappointing to me but others might appreciate the author’s subtly.

All in all, I rated the novella 3.5/5 because the stories are too rushed for my taste but it can’t really be helped. I would definitely recommend the book to those who love reading fun and heartwarming stories.

I received this book for free from NetGalley but was not required to give a positive review. Although, I also purchased this book from Amazon.

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