Kissing Games of the World

kissing_games_of_the_worldKissing Games of the World

Sandi Kahn Shelton

Three Rivers Press

383 pages

Kissing Games of the World, by Sandi Kahn Shelton, introduces us to the odd couple right off the bat.  Jamie and Harris are roommates who live together out of convenience.  Jamie is a young single mother–eccentric and free spirited, her son Arley is the same age as Harris’s grandson Christopher.  Christopher’s mother died when he was just two days old and Christopher’s father and Harris’s son, Nate, unable to cope with a dead wife and an infant son, flees his small hometown, leaving Christopher in Harris’s care.  It has now been five years, and while Harris was lacking as a father during Nate’s childhood, he has made a complete turnaround by caring for Christopher.

Unfortunately, Harris dies unexpectedly in the beginning of the book, leaving Jamie, Christopher and Arley alone in his house.  Nate arrives out of a sense of duty to take back Christopher and Jamie is forced to move back in with her sister.  Because of the circumstances behind Harris’s death, many of the townsfolk are suspicious of Jamie and her motives.  So Jamie and Arley are trying to make it on their own, Christopher and Nate are trying to make it on their own and yup–you guessed it–a love affair is present throughout the book as well.

I wasn’t sure what to think about this book at first.  Was it too typical?  Was I going to figure it all out before the first chapter was over?  Yes and no.  I mean, if what you’re looking for is a mystery, you won’t find it here.  It’s not hard to see what direction the book is taking.  But in the end, that mattered little to me.  Kissing Games of the World was such a fascinating and heartfelt look into family relationships that I was drawn in immediately.  For instance, you have Nate and Christopher.  Nate has not been a part of his son’s life in five years.  Understandably, Christopher is not happy to have his dad become his new caretaker.  He’s resentful of his father’s absence and yearns to have his grandfather back.  The sorrow he feels is palpable.  On the other hand, Nate is trying enormously to be a good father to his son, and while his previous actions can’t be forgotten, there were extenuating circumstances (or so it seemed anyway).  sandi_kahn_shelton_photo

Then you have Jamie.  I am not sure I liked her all that much.  She acted very passively, for the most part.  A lot of the time I found myself hoping that the behavior of others would elicit more of a reaction from Jamie.  Most of the time I found myself disappointed.  Plus, she was known to make some very poor decisions and to display bad judgment.

So as you can see, the character development was a plus for me.  I found myself anxious to see how each character evolved and I was curious as to how each relationship would turn out in the end.  I liked how each character thought of one another so differently because it left it up to the reader to decide the true circumstances behind each relationship.  Case in point–both Harris and Nate were quick to point the finger at one another but neither one was as able to own up to their own mistakes.  In this aspect, the book kept me on my toes.

On a side note, while I LOVE the cover of this book, I don’t think it relates at all to the book itself. Is the woman on the cover supposed to be Jamie?  Because she’s the exact opposite of how Jamie is described.  And if it is not meant to be Jamie, who is it?  Anyway, not a big deal really, but I just kept looking at the cover thinking that it represented an entirely different book.

I enjoyed this book and the intricacies involved with each character.

Alyce at At Home with Books is currently giving away five copies of this book!

Other reviews:

In Spring it is the Dawn

Breaking the Spine

So Many Books, So Little Time

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3 Responses

  1. Dear Lola, I want to thank you for such a thoughtful review of my book! You really nailed what I was going for when I wrote it: not a romantic suspense, but a story of two damaged people finding their way together and trying to figure out for themselves what family really means. Thanks again for such a careful reading! (And, LOL, I too have stared at that cover and wondered, “Now WHO is this, exactly?” Ah, the vagaries of publishing! Best wishes…Sandi

  2. I love a book that can keep you interested even if you know where it’s going!

  3. That’s funny that you mention the cover, because that’s what keeps catching my eye with this book! Sounds like an interesting story, though, too, so I may have to check this one out. Thanks for the review!

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