Book Review

Just a Kiss by Denise Hunter – A Marine, a Best Friend and A Kiss

A B O U T THE B O O KJust a Kiss Denise Hunter

Author: Denise Hunter

Publisher: Thomas Nelson

Source: Publisher Provided

Publication Date: 2016

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Amazon ǀ Barnes & Noble ǀ Goodreads

Series: Summer Harbor, book 3

Genre: Fiction; Contemporary Romance

Rating: 5 out of 5

REVIEW | He should have never run away. Yet that’s exactly what Riley Callahan did. Driven by the pain of unrequited love, Riley enlisted in the Marine Corp to escape the happiness of his brother Beau and Riley’s best friend, Paige. Now, Riley returns home to Summer Harbor, Maine, only this time, he’s not the man he once was. He’s returning missing part of himself physically and emotionally. Beau is now engaged to another and Paige is still as beautiful as ever – and she’s made it her mission to help Riley. 

As this novel edged closer to its release – and even when I had a copy in my hands, the only book I had read of the trilogy was Falling Like Snowflakes. Needless to say, I made time to remedy the oversight that was to have not read The Goodbye Bride. Though these books can be read as standalones, I feel like the reader gets so much more out of the characters and their respective journeys when read in their proper order. This novel, the final in Denise’s latest series, is magical.

BOOK REVIEW | Falling Like Snowflakes by Denise Hunter

While reading each novel in this series, at the time I declare the respective book my favorite of the group only to then move on to the next book and realize it has then replaced the book as my favorite. Such was the case here as I consecutively read this novel with The Goodbye Bride, which precedes this. When reading ‘Bride,’ I wasn’t sure this novel could surpass it. Happily it kept pace with its companion and either met its high standard or perhaps, surpassed it. The characters of this novel are teeming with authenticity, are real, and still find a way to seek joy. Even amidst the emotion and challenges of the story, there is a stable point that guides the story to only good results and happy smiles.

In particular I found Riley’s journey interesting. Perhaps it was the wounded soldier angle or the distance he places between himself and Paige, either way, he’s a noble, worthy and wonderful hero. Similarly, Paige doesn’t let Riley run rough shot over her or the importance of her emotional input towards his recovery. Their interactions are fraught with tension and stolen memories from long ago which keeps their time together brimming with unfulfilled love and longing.

Aficionados of the contemporary romcom genre are going to adore the journey Riley and Paige (how fabulous are these characters names!?) take. Those of you who’ve read Denise’s novels won’t want to miss this heartwarming story of finding hope when you feel everything is falling apart.


Synopsis: Watching the love of his life fall for his brother was enough to send Riley straight to boot camp. But over a year later, he’s officially a marine, and Beau and Paige are no longer an item. When Riley’s tour in Afghanistan is up, he intends to confess his feelings to Paige and win his best friend’s heart once and for all.

But all that changes when an IED takes the life of a comrade and leaves Riley an amputee. Now he’s heading home, injured and troubled. His plans to win Paige are a distant dream. She deserves so much more than the man that’s left. All he can do now is put some healthy distance between them. But upon his return he discovers his family has arranged for him to stay with Paige.

Paige is a nurturer at heart and happy to take care of her best buddy. By all appearances Riley is adjusting miraculously well to his disability. But as the days pass, Paige begins to see that the smiles and laughter are just a mask for the pain he’s hiding. To make matters worse, her job is in serious jeopardy. The animal shelter that she’s poured her heart into has lost its funding, and she has three months to come up with the money needed to save it.

As the weeks wear on, Paige’s feelings for Riley begin to shift into uncharted territory. Why is she suddenly noticing his arm muscles and the way his lips curl at the corners? Will she be able to deny her feelings for another Callahan brother? And will Riley let his heart heal so he can let Paige in? – Goodreads 

Sincere thanks to the publisher for providing a complimentary copy of this book for reviewing purposes.


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