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Friday, December 6, 2013

ARC Review: A Kiss by Design by Christy Hayes

A Kiss by Design is the first book I have ever read by Christy Hayes, so I didn't really know what I should expect when I first started this one. I was really intrigued by the blurb though, and I knew I just had to read this story. There were things that I really liked about this book, and then there were things that I didn't really care for. But for the most part, I found this story to be a quick and enjoyable read.

Emily has been best friends with Dylan since they were little. So when she finds an engagement ring in his backpack she immediately thinks that he is about to make a huge mistake and ask a girl he barely knows to marry him. What Emily doesn't know is that Dylan has been in love with her for forever, and that the ring doesn't actually belong to Dylan. The ring actually is Zach's, who just so happens to be Dylan's brother and Emily's boyfriend. As Dylan works to finally put his feelings for Emily to rest, Emily is more determined than ever to make sure that Dylan doesn't ask the wrong girl to marry him. But when Emily enlists the help of her friends and her plan starts to fail, she realizes that it is time for her to step in and figure it out on her own. But the more that she begins to think that Dylan is serious about someone else, the more she begins to realize that her feelings towards him go beyond friendship. More confused than ever, Emily must decide if the possibility of a relationship with Dylan is worth breaking up with Zach for. And Dylan must decide if the risk of a shot with Emily is worth the pain and damage he will do to his relationship with Zach and his family.

I really liked Dylan. He was sweet, supportive and really caring. I thought that he was a really good guy that just happened to be in a very bad situation. He really tried to fight his feelings for Emily and tried to push her away many times in order to spare his brother. You could tell that it really did tear him up about what he was doing, and no matter what he was in a lose lose situation. My heart really broke for him on more that one occasion. But his connection and feelings for Emily really were something that doesn't happen often, and you couldn't help but root for him. I had my moments of like and dislike with Emily. I thought that she was sweet and was a great friend, but then she was also immature and tended to react without thinking. There were several times that I couldn't figure out why she didn't break up with Zach sooner. The way that she let him treat her was something I just didn't understand. Its not like he abused her or anything, but I just couldn't get why she felt so loyal to him and allowed him to be so selfish and self-centered. It was like she had no regard for her own thoughts and feelings and just let him walk all over her. I loved how different things were with Dylan though. They had a very strong connection and friendship, and I loved that they were able to lean on each other for support. I would have loved to see more of their relationship developing and I felt that even though they had very strong chemistry, that we really didn't get to see much of it.

I think that my biggest complaint is that this story focused more on Emily and her friends hatching this ridiculous scheme and trying to figure out what was going on rather than the actual relationship development. Things went back and forth a bit too much for me, and I felt like it really took away from the story. By the time that we got to the huge conflict and reveal of Emily and Zach breaking up and her and Dylan admitting their feelings for each other the book was almost over. It felt like their story was unfinished and that we had just started their journey together. I was hoping that we would have seen more of the two of them as they began to date and start their new relationship. We barely got any of them together in this story, and I think that hurt how believable their connection and love was. I had hoped that since we didn't get that resolution until the end that we would get more of them in the second book. However it looks as though the second book is Zach's story. I can't say that I didn't see Zach's story coming though, you could tell that he was attracted to his tutor from the very start and it almost made his reaction to Emily and Dylan seem a bit over the top. I understand that he was hurt and felt betrayed, but isn't this the same guy that just kissed his tutor and was so attracted to her that he felt like he needed to go and take care of himself? That doesn't sound like someone who should be asking someone else to marry him. Overall, I liked the characters of this book and I really enjoyed the author's writing style. I just wish that we would have seen more of Emily and Dylan together, and I felt like we missed out on so much with them. I would have liked less of Emily and her friends and more of the growth and development between Emily and Dylan as we watched their friendship change to a loving relationship. I am interested to see what happens in the second book though, and I just hope that maybe we will get more of Emily and Dylan in the future to sort of wrap up their story and give them the conclusion that they deserve. I think that this story is definitely worth giving a shot, especially if you like the New Adult genre. However if you are expecting a story with a lot of steam and depth of relationship this might not be the story for you. Despite the issues I had with this one, this was a promising start to the series. I will give the next one a shot to see where the author goes from here and hope that we will get a bit more in the next one.

**ARC provided by NetGalley**

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