The Kiss Thief by L.J. Shen
Narrated by Stephen Dexter and Savannah Peachwood
Standalone New Adult Romance
I think this may be a case of right book/wrong time or wrong person, because The Kiss Thief by LJ Shen is on so many best of 2019 lists for people. I can’t put my finger on why (but I will try), but it didn’t really work great for me. I think a big part may be timing. I read a newer book right before this that had a very similar storyline, so it didn’t feel as fresh and new and different to me, and I’m just kind of over the whole New Adult virgin thing.
When these young girls fall for guys that treat them like shit and are assholes, I just want to tell them to run the other way. I am too mom-like for books like this, I think. Maybe I am too jaded. I have seen guys in real life that start as assholes and they all go back to being assholes eventually.
That being said, The Kiss Thief was beautifully written and had a bit of a historical feel to me.
“I was born into a gilded cage. It was spacious, but locked, nonetheless. Trying to escape it was risking death.”
Francesca was an 18-year-old girl who had never been kissed. She was waiting to be with the boy she loved since childhood, but her father, a mob boss, gave her to someone else. Someone who stole the first kiss she was saving for another.
“They say your first kiss should be earned. Mine was stolen by a devil in a masquerade mask under the black Chicago sky.”
Wolfe was a total dick, as are most alpha-holes I usually love, but I found it a bit more creepy-mean. He just never won me over.
“I sucked in a breath, realizing for the first time what we were. A story of a Nemesis and a Villain with no chance at a happy ending. Where the prince doesn’t save the princess. He tortures her. And the beauty doesn’t sleep. She’s stuck. In a nightmare.”
When I grabbed The Kiss Thief, it was because so many people were saying it was one of their favorite books of the year. I went in completely blind, without even reading the blurb, and just found it a bit too ‘new adultish’ and too reminiscent of the 2012/2013 after-Fifty books that all seemed to have this same feel. I would have loved this back then, now I’m just kind of over it.
- Though Francesca at first seemed a bit innocent and docile, I really liked seeing her character grow in strength and ferocity.
- I love a good hate-to-love storyline.
- Angsty and dramatic.
- Interesting twists and turns.
- Well written with a bit of a historical feel.
- This is 100% me— I am over the innocent virgin falling for the irredeemable asshole.
- Wolfe, to me, was just on the wrong side of being an alphahole and I never really got over it.
- Angelo was just a side character that we never got to know to have feelings about, so it never felt like the triangle it was described to be.
- It felt like a gazillion historicals mixed with all of the romances written in 2012 and 13 that were take-offs on Fifty Shades. I loved those books then, I’m just past it a bit now.
- Books where the heroine can’t control her body and gets soaking wet whenever someone that treats her like shit nearby has just gotten a bit old for me.
I usually love Savannah Peachwood but I didn’t love her for Francesca. She made an already dramatic book a little too over-the-top dramatic. Stephen Dexter was great as Wolfe but all-in-all, perhaps it was the dramatic narration that held me back from loving it.
The Down & Dirty:
Rating: 3 Stars, 4 heat, 3.5 Narration