Thursday, July 18, 2013

Fiction Review: Sealed with a Kiss (SP Alert)

I'm adding a new feature here on The Everyday Reader. I actually read self-published books on a regular basis. I admit, partly because I'm a sucker for kindle freebies. They don't get a lot of love in book-bloggy land, but there's a lot of goodies out there. So from now on, I'm going to occasionally highlight self-published titles with an SP Alert. Really it's the same as a normal review, but I'll highlight that it's self-published in the post title, category and explain in the review how it came to my attention and what formats it's available in. My first pick is going to be Sealed with a Kiss, by Rachael Lucas.

Kate breathes a sigh of relief when she's dumped at her best friend's wedding. Faced with moving back home, she takes a job with a cottage on the remote island of Auchenmor. Kate's told Auchenmor is too small for secrets, but prickly new boss Roderick is keeping something to himself. When his ex-girlfriend comes back on the scene, their budding friendship comes to an abrupt end - and Kate finds out Fiona's got a sinister motive for coming back to the island she hates.  Can she be stopped before it's too late, and will the island find its way into Kate's heart?

Sealed with a Kiss

Lucas, Rachael (2013). [Genre: Chick-lit]

Formats: Kindle, Paperback

How I found it: I was browsing on Amazon for something light and fluffy to read and it had a cute seal on the cover. C'mon! Cute cartoon seal!!

Sealed with a Kiss is the heart warming type of chick-lit. It makes you feel all warm and fuzzy inside, and what's even better with this particular example of the genre is that the characters have a dose of reality to them.

Kate takes the opportunity to run off to a Scottish island after finally ending a going-nowhere long term relationship, taking a mysterious job as 'girl friday.' The island turns out to be just what she needed, with new friends and new sights giving her a new perspective. As a main character, she is everything you could wish for really. She has a humorous, slightly sarcastic voice that is very real and relatable. Her relationship woes are realistic - I've seen many friends in similar situations, stuck with a man that they don't really love any more but don't leave because being with them is easier than breaking it off. Overall, she's the sort of person that you can imagine being your friend. The friends she soon makes on the island are just as good. Although they are introduced with a speed that initially left me a little confused as to who was who, they all quickly develop in to three dimensions. The dialogue between Kate and Susan (who is the most realistic portrayal of a young mother in a stable loving marriage that I've seen this year) is so much fun - again, it feels very much like a conversation you could be having with your own best friend on a girls night out.

The plot is fun, even if not particularly serious. Really, it's about Kate finding herself as a person, with a man, some seals and a nasty ex (of the man's, not Kate's) thrown in just to provide a few complications. I've seen the tone of the book described in other reviews as breezy and that's exactly it, but it's breezy in a relax-in-the-bath-for-the-evening type way, not throw-book-at-wall-in-frustration-over-lack-of-substance type way. Lucas has a great writing style and doesn't use the genre to compromise on language, the story flows smoothly while extending your vocabulary just the right amount.

I only have two slight qualms with Sealed with a Kiss. This first is Roderick, the 'hero.' He's almost a bit much. . . gorgeous, genuine Scottish lord, heartbroken (in need of the right woman to heal him of course) and  . . . . drumroll . . . . rescues seals. I'm not saying he's not a realistic character, because like all the others in this novel, he comes across as warm and genuine. And he is certainly better than some of the other leading men I've seen in the genre. It's just that it comparison to the realism Lucas installs everywhere else, he falls just slightly into the realms of stereotype.

The second qualm is the novel's denouement, which relies on Kate taking someone she doesn't like at their word, completely out of character for the relatively sensible girl we've seen throughout the rest of the story. These two qualm's aren't enough to stop Sealed with a Kiss being a gorgeous read though. If you read chick-lit/romance and own a kindle, there's no excuse for not picking it up.

4/5 Stars

1 comment:

  1. […] but it turns out I read self-published even more often than I think. In contrast to debut author Rachael Lucas, Courtney Milan was already an established published author when she decided to self-publish her […]