Review: The Kiss Test by Shannon McKelden

Format: E-book
Read with: Amazon Kindle
Length: Novel
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: Standalone
Publisher: Carina Press
Hero: Christopher Treem
Heroine: Margo June Gentry
Sensuality: 3
Date of Publication: October 11, 2010
Started On: October 11, 2010
Finished On: October 12, 2010

My first Shannon McKelden was certainly a delightful surprise. This title caught my eye when I received my usual Books On Board newsletter of the month. The cover and the title were enough to catch my eye that I found myself going through the book synopsis and lo and behold a best of friends turning into lovers story was just too hard to resist for me. I was watching out for its release date and as soon as yesterday got here I quickly purchased the book, and regardless of the fact that I have over 200+ books in my to-be-read pile yet to be conquered, I found myself sinking into this wonderful quirky story that entertained me with its wonderful set of characters and left me quite happy and satisfied in the end.

Margo June Gentry thinks her life to be perfect. Living with Kevin Timber, her boyfriend of almost two years who never demands more than she is willing to give and puts up with her obsession for anything Elvis there is  nothing more a girl like Margo who is commitment phobic could ask for. With a job that she loves working as a DJ for the a.m. show at WKUP, a country radio station with all her close friends and Christopher Treem, her best friend of more than 20 years living close by Margo is happy as a clam – that is until everything comes crashing down one by one. First she receives the news that her mother is getting married for the eleventh time and wants her to come down for the wedding. And next thing she knows, her radio station is taken over by South Koreans, she is out of a job  and finds herself faced with a marriage proposal from Kevin who was no longer satisfied with their give and take arrangement. Before she knows it, Margo ends up jobless and homeless within the span of a week.

Margo has always remained independent to a fault, never willing to give up her independence for any man. Margo likes being in control of her life and emotions and doesn’t believe that true love does exist. So when she finds herself jobless, homeless and minus a boyfriend she decides to take on an Elvis road-trip of sorts. But since she has hit one of those unlucky streaks that people talk about, she finds herself having to shack up with Chris and being taken care of by him when a concussion of sorts ends up with her being advised not to strain herself which included practically everything except for lying in bed. With Margo determined that she would go on her Elvis sabbatical regardless of the fact that she can’t walk a few steps without clinging to the walls, Chris bargains with her that he would drive her around if she promises to be present at her mother’s wedding, something Margo wants to avoid at all costs.

As the road trip progresses, it takes the reader on a journey of discovery of how Margo has ended up the way she is. With a father who had walked out on the family when she had been 10 years old, Margo’s mother with her genteel Southern upbringing had taken to bed, her brother Rob had turned completely into an introvert and she and her brother’s best friend Chris had adopted one another as each others best friend. The many step dads of the moment that had passed through their lives some to which she and Rob had started feeling an attachment towards only to be jerked away once the harsh reality of divorce sinks in, Margo has learned to shield herself and run from the slightest indication that her partner of the moment might need something more.

There were lots of things that I liked about this story. Since the story is narrated in first person from Margo’s point of view, it was certainly a refreshing change not to know how Chris feels about Margo for the major part of the story. Most of the time stories such as this one are wholly focused on the sexual aspect of the forbidden desire each feels for the other. Seeing Chris carrying out his famous kiss test on women he meets during the road trip and reading about Margo’s jealousy which she doesn’t even know that she feels was certainly entertaining. And though the one sexual encounter between the two is not detailed on every aspect, it certainly was hot and contributed towards making this a wonderful read. And the glimpse into Margo’s happily ever after with Chris one year on certainly put a broad smile on my face as the book ended. And you’ve just got  to love the fact that all chapters in the story are song titles from the great man himself around which Margo’s obsession revolves.

Favorite Quotes

“And lastly, before we take off, I want to remind everyone about the Manhattan Beach Surf Party tomorrow night, sponsored by KCLA and X-Treem Sports West Coast. Need a new suit or board for the event? Head down to X-Treem Sports today and ask for the owner, Chris Treem. Tell him his best friend, Margo, sent you, and he’ll give you ten percent off your purchase because he loves his wife and will do anything I say.”

Purchase Links: Amazon | Barnes&Noble | BooksOnBoard | Carina Press

[xrr rating=4/5]

Caliber Seal: GREAT READ!