Hey y’all! Thank you for stopping by today!
Please join me in welcoming my partner in crime, Jude Sierra, today. Rather than join as a reviewer, today she’s here on “authorly business” to promote her novel A Tiny Piece of Something Greater. Due to personal circumstances she couldn’t promote the book when it came out last May, so we’re doing a Tiny Reboot!
I asked Jude to tell us about her five favorite first kisses in romance – and she delivered! You’ll find the post below!
Reid Watsford has a lot of secrets and a past he can’t quite escape. While staying at his grandmother’s condo in Key Largo, he signs up for introductory dive classes, where he meets Joaquim Oliveira, a Brazilian dive instructor with wanderlust. Driven by an instant, magnetic pull, what could have been just a hookup quickly deepens. As their relationship evolves, they must learn to navigate the challenges of Reid’s mental illness—on their own and with each other.
Release Date: May 17th
When Annie asked me to share my five favorite first kisses in romance, I was *hella* excited. What’s better than a great first kiss? As a romance reader I can testify that a good kiss is what will elevate a good book to an all time favorite book. I love when an author is able to build the chemistry and anticipation so well that you feel breathless when it happens.
Imagine my surprise when I sat down to write about my favorite five and realized…most of the kisses I was thinking about were actually second kisses! I don’t know what this says about me as a reader, other than that to achieve a spot on my favorite first kisses list, an author has to work for it!
The Remaking of Corbin Wale by Roan Parrish
“…Corbin came into the kitchen with the wild smell of the wind and the trees on him. He moved like a sleepwalker and his eyes were hazy. He drifted closer and closer to Alex until there was no distance between them at all. Then he leaned in and kissed Alex on the cheek.”
So bear with me. I recognize this is a cheek kiss. But allow me to tell you that the way Parrish builds to this kiss, Corbin’s fears and reticence and the love and work he puts into baking out his curse–this moment is absolutely electric. Like, I felt it in my bones. And the prose, good golly, the prose in this book is gorgeous. It’s really Parrish at her best. The tension and anticipation she put into this book and the slow burn, which is delicious and perfectly executed, just slays. And it’s evident because it’s only with a really well executed dynamic that an author could make me tingle from a kiss on the cheek.
And it Came to Pass by Laura Stone
“Adam held Brandon’s face; his thumbs traced the hard edge of Brandon’s jawline. His heart beat wildly. His voice quiet and choked with emotion, he quoted back, ‘And David arose, bowed three times and they…they kissed one another.”
The intensely emotional and beautiful first kiss Adam and Brandon share is hard to capture even in a few short lines. There’s beautiful reverence to the way these characters fall in love while learning to navigate who they are and their feelings in conjunction with their faith. At each point in this story we get to see both of these men grow into themselves, even in struggle and heartbreak, while also experiencing how intimate and moving expressing love in a multitude of ways can be. This book is just a really beautiful and nuanced story, and Adam and Brandon are characters I fell deeply in love with. Stone has this really elegant way about her writing, and in this story in particular, it felt like so much care shone through.
The Star Host by F.T. Lukens
“It was probably the worst first kiss in the history of kisses, but it was Ren’s, and his alone.”
Ren and Asher are a book couple that I could sincerely read 25 books about. Lukens always does a fantastic job weaving stories with action and gripping plot that also explore wonderful found family interpersonal dynamics and, yes, romance. The Broken Moon series is a journey for readers–a literal intergalactic journey–with so much intrigue and adventure that rides some great highs but also takes the reader through some very real lows. It could be easy to forget that when this series starts, Ren is a teenager. That both he and Asher are young and go through some intense trauma. Watching them grow closer and fall in love, and the sweet and new moments Lukens gives us are a delight. They both need these touchstones, and Ren in particular: I love the moments of being a teenager, of getting first love, we are gifted. These two are believable, and as a reader, you root for them so hard. This first kiss was a lovely culmination of building trust and friendship and closeness in the middle of very hard times, and it is so well done.
On Point by Annabeth Albert
“That Ben hadn’t expected, but Maddox smiled even while kissing.”
Ben and Maddox are a go-to love story for me. I am a sucker for a good friends to lovers story, I won’t lie. There’s something about this story, about Ben and Maddox and their long history, the complexity of their desires and fears and need to love and be loved (even though Ben would insist that he doesn’t believe in love), that makes this a book I keep coming back to. Ben and Maddox, even when failing to communicate, when their own anxieties blind them to each other’s deep feelings, still expose and express the ways in which they love each other. Albert does a great job with this. As the reader, I felt like I was in on a beautiful secret, and that I got to watch something sweet and heartfelt happen even when things got tough between them.
Farm of Fancy by Julianna Thorn
“Gabe dragged him closer. David’s lips were soft; he wanted more, to put more of him in his mouth, to taste anything he could.”
So here’s what I loved about this kiss. First, Thorn creates and brings these great characters together in such a way that their interactions are sexy and loaded while also being light and at times, downright funny. She doesn’t shy away from having David process his grief and coming to terms with what it means to begin moving on after his husband’s death. She gives us Gabe, who is grumpy and says the most hilariously wrong things at the wrong times; who has a lot of his own baggage to process as well. Yet, somehow, after a night of caring for a sick horse, Thorn delivers this sexy, beautiful kiss that makes it all fade away so that you’re in the moment with the two of them. This kiss is a prelude to more: more character development, more intimacy, more healing narrative for both characters (I’m such a sucker for that). But best of all, Thorn doesn’t pull away from how utterly, adorably, fail they are in their very next kiss.
Jude is currently working toward her PhD in Writing and Rhetoric, looking at the intersections of Queer, Feminist and Pop Culture Studies. She also works as an LGBTQAI+ book reviewer for From Top to Bottom Reviews. Her novels include Hush, What it Takes, and Idlewild, a contemporary queer romance set in Detroit’s renaissance, which was named a Best Book of 2016 by Kirkus Reviews. Her most recent novel A Tiny Piece of Something Greater was released in y Interlude Press May of 2018. Shadows you Left, a co-written novel with Taylor Brooke will arrive spring of 2019 from Entangled Press.
Jude began her writing career at the age of eight when she immortalized her summer vacation with ten entries in a row that read “pool+tv”.
As a sucker for happy endings and well written emotional arcs and characters, Jude is an unapologetic bookaholic. She finds bookstores and libraries unbearably sexy and, to her husband’s dismay, is attempting to create her own in their living room.
She is a writer of many things that hope to find their way out of the sanctuary of her hard drive, and many that have found a home in fanfiction communities.