Title: It Started With a Kiss
Author: Marina Adair
Series: Sequoia Lake #1
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Available: 31st Jan
With a kidney transplant behind her, Avery Adams is determined to channel her inner adventurer and explore everything life has to offer. Only problem is, the closest she’s ever come to a real-life adventure was sixth-grade science camp. So to seize the summer in her rustic Sierra Nevada town, she takes a job as a guide at the local adventure lodge. But Avery doesn’t realize her biggest challenge will register at six-plus feet of rugged good looks and alpha-male charm.
As a member of the Sequoia Elite Mountain Rescue team, Tyson Donovan has made a life out of cheating death and rescuing weekend warriors from the treacherous terrain. “The world is my home” is more than just a motto; it’s what scares off women who would otherwise try to tie him down. When his dad’s health lands the family’s adventure lodge in serious danger of going up in flames, he moves home—and quickly remembers why he left. Until he meets Avery, the irresistible new guide who makes him want to stay.
Tyson gives the inexperienced Avery a lesson in romance that her books could never teach her. And with her undeniable spirit for life, Avery shows Tyson the healing power of love. But with one misstep, everything comes crashing down, and they’ll both have to take the biggest leap of all—into the kind of adventure that lasts a lifetime.
Source: ARC from Montlake Romance via NetGalley
One moment this book was making me giggle about Avery scrawling unintentionally filthy invitations on cars with lipstick, the next it made me all teary over grief and loss and fighting to survive. But that’s a Marina Adair book for you. This might be a whole new series, but the hallmarks remain the same – emotion and humour and charm and romance and friendship and sheer enjoyment. This book has them all in spades.
Avery is a woman who wants to live large, fulfilling the wishes of women who aren’t able to finish them for themselves, especially since she herself has brushed closed to death on occasion. She’s giving and capable and funny and determined to be more adventurous than life has allowed her so far. She’s amazingly selfless as she does it too. In fact she’s amazing, especially as she continues to grow and change. I loved her and wanted all the best things for her throughout this book.
Ty made it a little harder to root for him at times. He’s big and bold and brave and charming, but he’s also grieving and hurt and a little too stubborn for his own good. Plus unwilling to always see what’s right in front of his face. I did, however, love how he was with Avery. There’s no denying the chemistry between them, but there were signs throughout of how good a couple they could be if he’d just let go a little.
Along with its recurring issues of grief and loss, plus Avery’s own kidney disease, this book also tackles dementia and parental woes. The plot itself involving the adventure centre didn’t grab me as much as I might have hoped, but things between Ty and his dad definitely held my interest alongside the romance. It was also nice to get to know a new community of characters, who I look forward to reading more about in the future.
Fun and emotional and romantic, this was everything I’d expect from an Adair book. Avery was wonderful, and the rest of the characters weren’t so bad either. In all, it’s a good start to this new series and I look forward to reading more from Sequoia Lake soon.
It Started With a Kiss is out January 31st.
Visit Marina Adair for more details.