Play by Kylie Scott
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
5 Smile Like You Mean It Stars!
I really enjoyed the first book in the Stage Dive series, Lick, but i absolutely freaking LOVED this one!!!
I can honestly say that while reading the first 75% of this story, i laughed and smiled more than I have in quite some time. I actually can't remember the last time a book genuinely made laugh out loud, but this one did just that...several times.
Mal is a force of nature. His personality is larger than life and he is hands down one of the most endearing characters I have come across in ages. The banter between him and Anne (AKA Pumpkin) is pure gold and I think i ended up highlighting the vast majority of their early conversations.
Anne is pretty much my idea of the perfect female lead character. She's sweet and can be vulnerable. But she's also stronger than she thinks she is, and knows exactly how to keep Mal in line without being overbearing. She's pretty much a badass.
Let's be honest here; The plot was more than a little far fetched....Anne was completely on board with Mal deciding to move in with her after knowing each other for about 5 minutes, and she was incredibly blasé about the whole "Fake Girlfriend" aspect of their relationship. But, the beauty of this book was that even though there were certain elements that shouldn't have worked, or should have come off as silly and ridiculous.....the story still ended up being close to PERFECT in my eyes. Because i was able to suspend my belief system and just go on this journey with Mal and Anne and it was so worth it.
The last act of the book was a bit more serious, and while I missed the funny back and forth banter between Mal & Anne, the different vibe still worked and I found myself feeling the emotions pouring off the characters. The reasons behind Mal's sudden mood swings were more understandable, and I loved how completely supportive Anne was of him and his family. Kylie Scott really knows how to write about characters that make you experience all the feels. Just one of the many reasons to love this series....and this author.
I am all geared up for Jimmy's story and can't wait to dive into Lead. It will be a tall order to come close to topping Mal, but I can't wait to see where that story goes. But for now, I am still riding on the high that was Malcolm & Anne's quirky, sweet, and steamy love story.