Review: Holly Freakin' Hughes by Kelsey Kingsley


Note: This ARC was provided by the author via Wordsmith Publicity in exchange for an honest review.

I had moderately high hopes for Holly Freakin' Hughes when I first read the blurb for it. I say "moderately" because this was the author's debut and I always try to keep my expectations realistic when it comes to new and new-to-me authors. I applaud Kelsey Kingsley for taking the plunge because putting something you've worked hard on out there for people to either gush or grumble over. She had, what I felt, was a strong idea for the story that she wanted to tell. However, while the storytelling itself was pretty good, I simply couldn't connect with one of the main characters the way I wanted to, and because of that, I wasn't as invested as I feel I needed to be with a book.

A quick rundown of the story itself: Holly Hughes used to have the kind of life other women may have envied. She had a good job, a good boyfriend, good relationships with her family and friends. Everything was good...until it wasn't. Her boyfriend turned out to be gay, she lost her job, and she was now living with her sister and her family and earning money by babysitting her niece. What she needs is to get her life in order once again, and go after what it is that she wants. Who would have thought that all it would take would be for her young niece to literally run into it, or rather, HIM--Brandon Davis--in a bookstore? Now to convince him to take a chance on her...on them.

Brandon and Holly have both gotten their hearts broken. They become fast friends and they try to ignore the underlying attraction that simmers between them. I really liked Brandon because he was such a refreshing change of pace from the usual alpha male who's all huffy and puffy and makes demands and sets the pace of the relationship. He was sweet and sensitive, and he may not be everyone's cup of tea, but he was one of the better things about the book. He deserved love and happiness. But here's where I have a problem. See, I don't think he and Holly were meant to be together as much as I think the author wanted me to believe they're supposed to be.

As much as I liked Brandon, I wasn't a fan of Holly's. It often felt as if she waited for things to happen to her rather for her to pursue what it was she wanted. She also didn't really appreciate the good stuff in her life, choosing instead to nitpick and bemoan what she thought was lacking. It was that lack of initiative and motivation that made me...not like her. And the thing is, I really, really, REALLY need to like the main characters in the romance novels I read. As in both of them. Yes, there are times I like one more than the other, but there has to be some amount of likability. While I liked the story to a degree, adored Brandon, and felt Kingsley's writing was promising, I didn't like Holly. At all. That affected my overall reading experience. The result? 3.5 stars for Holly Freakin' Hughes. ♥

Date Read: 07 August 2017

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