He’s sweet trouble…
Natalie Holden wants three things: To be the best chocolate chemist in Hershey, Pennsylvania, to prove her chocolate recipe can help teenage depression, and to get over gorgeous Luke Elliott, the guy she’s had a crush on since birth. Unfortunately, he’s the microbiologist set to debunk her chocolate study. And, of course, he looks more delicious than ever!
Luke Elliott is still bitter over his divorce. Work is his passion now, and landing a huge promotion is just what he needs. What he doesn’t need is a crackpot trying to prove that chocolate cures depression. The last thing he expects is for the crackpot to be Natalie Holden—his “what if” girl from high school—or that she’d still tempt the hell out of him.
They may not see eye-to-eye on her project, but they can’t deny the explosive chemistry that keeps pulling them together. Even when it risks their jobs and the very different futures they both want…
Source: ARC from Entangled: Bliss via NetGalley
This cute contemporary achieved something I thought was impossible – it actually made me feel a little sick of chocolate. There is so much chocolate in this book – in the research, in the town itself, in pretty much every food or drink mentioned – that it was a bit too much for me, but it definitely gave the whole thing a distinctive style. The story itself mixes a childhood crush with an enemies-to-lovers vibe and is all around very sweet.
Actually, to be honest, it’s sometimes a little too sweet (and I’m no longer talking about the chocolate). Despite their professional issues and ethical considerations, Natalie and Luke can’t help being drawn to each other. And yet, there’s something quite juvenile about it all. They never get any further than kissing in this book, which they do a fair amount of, but it’s all pretty tame. Even their thoughts aren’t x-rated. They bicker and tease each other like teenagers, and despite how important this trial is to both of them, I was frustrated by their lack of professionalism at first. It did lead to some fun scenes, but I still wanted to slap them both on the back of the head and remind them about what was important.
Because despite the cute characters and fun moments with friends and Luke’s family, there is a deeper issue underlying Natalie’s work: depression. More specifically, her teenage brother’s depression and the impact that has had on Natalie and her family. The whole trial is about her finding a way to help him, and I really appreciated this side of the plot and her connection with her brother.
As opposed to Luke’s “villainous” role as proctor, which never felt all that believable to me. And considering Natalie dubs Luke a Sugar Nazi (which I have my own issues with, since I don’t think the term Nazi should be used unless you’re talking about actual Nazis or other similarly murderous regimes with fascist tendencies), his whole healthy-living, holistic career was easy to forget about. Which made all of that side of things feel a touch contrived, put in to provide a flimsy barrier to their flirting.
So, if you’re looking for something cute with plenty of sweetness, that’s a little tame on the romance side and has more fun than heat, then this could well be for you. The characters are nice, there is a little hint of deeper things with the depression and Luke’s own relationship issues, but mostly it’s feel-good fun and very easy to read. You might want to hide all the chocolate before you start, though, or you’ll either find yourself eating it all or never wanting to look at a chocolate bar again.
Kissing Her Crush is out November 9th!
Visit Ophelia London for more details.