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Ratings and Book Reviews (7 9 star ratings
7 reviews
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Overall rating

4.6 out of 5
9
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    Emotional and Enduring Love Story

    So much of life comes down to timing. Being in the right place at the right time. How one moment, one decision, can change the entire trajectory of your life. In Blind Kiss, Renee Carlino gives readers an enduring and emotional love story that spans decades. I'm not going to lie. The angst in this book is off the charts. It will not be everyone's cup of tea and there will be times when your heart cries out and you may want to throw your kindle/book across the room. Penny and Gavin don't share an easy love story and it's not a light and fluffy tale. There is loss, pain, heartache, and grief, but there's also joy, healing, forgiveness, and love. These two characters are both flawed and broken in their own ways. Meeting by chance in a psychology experiment their senior year in college and forging a friendship that blurs the lines over and over again through the years. The story is told in dual POV and switches back and forth between the past and present. I really can't say that I truly loved either Gavin or Penny. Both had so much baggage to work through and mistakes were made on both sides. They hurt and they loved each other repeatedly, but through it all, their chemistry and connection never waned. I honestly don't know who I hurt for more - Gavin, Penny, or Lance. All were selfish and selfless at different times, but I did appreciate that everyone matured throughout the book. I wasn't totally comfortable with Penny's relationship with Gavin over the years. ***** SPOILER ***** She claimed that she was not emotionally cheating on her husband, but it really felt that way to me. I don't know if she justified it to herself since the circumstances surrounding her marriage were murky, but I know that I would have not been able to tolerate that in my own marriage, no matter how good of a friend this person was to my husband. Especially if she very clearly still harbored feelings for my husband. I also lost a lot of respect for both characters when they finally gave into their feelings. Penny may have been free to explore that avenue, but Gavin was in a relationship - no matter how complicated it was at that point. It made what should have been something beautiful and what readers had been waiting the ENTIRE book for, less in my opinion. Again, many readers won't have a problem with any of this, but for me, it was a let down. ***** Though my patience was eventually rewarded in the end, I did feel like the ending was a bit rushed and abrupt. I would have loved a little more after enduring such a heart-stomping journey. This isn't my favorite Renee Carlino book, but readers looking for an angsty and emotional love story will devour Blind Kiss. *I voluntarily read an advance reader copy of this book*
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    Unique Story line with compelling characters

    Renee Carlino has once again tapped into her readers psyche and delivers an emotional <b>Ka-Pow</b>. I'm a seasoned reader of Ms. Carlino and I did the right and proper thing by setting aside a good chunk of time to be able to read and process this story in one fell sweep, and still I managed to lose hours of sleep. Ever so slightly reminiscent of Sweet Thing, her debut, Blind Kiss' heroine Penny is a character that I simultaneously wanted to hug and throttle. As for our hero, Gavin, my heart ached for him, always wanting something with someone that is just out of reach. What's so spectacular about Renee's writing is how the story unfolds. I wasn't sure where the story was going until "The Blind Kiss". Our main male leads remain nameless until that certain point, and even then what their roles are in Penny's life was a mystery. The story is told in both present, past and recent past, but your always reminded of what occurred in the early chapters, just aching to understand the situation and just what brought about the subtle dismantling of Penny's relationships. Renee's characters are on their own paths and not there to serve the readers every whim. They are on a journey and we are there to witness their decisions, misguided and ill planned though they may be. As the weeks and then years go by we gain insight into what Penny thinks about her and Gavin: “We have something. I don’t what it is, but it’s something different.” But just how she deals with this is what drives the story. She's a passionate woman who down plays the passion that enters her life. It's how she lets fear rule her world that will frustrate the reader. It's a particular quandary, how to stay patient with these characters, especially Penny. As with every book that I read by Renee Carlino, days and weeks later I find myself thinking about the characters. I want to compare them and although there's a sense of " this feels a little like..." but her characters and the situations are always unique. Penny is as guarded as they come. Gavin on the other hand is an open book, romantic and up against the wall of Penny's notions about she and Gavin "Penny and I still had a spark that couldn’t be snuffed out. All the plans I’d drawn for the life I thought we’d have together were playing out in some parallel universe. Even if I was stuck in this stupid version of us, where she was encouraging me to go out with other women, I knew there was a Penny and Gavin living as a couple out there, right along beside us." I love this sentiment and once again, Ms. Carlino delivers a 5 star story that takes the reader on an emotional rollercoaster to enjoy :-)
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    Amazing

    I loved it, I was rotating between smiling and crying the entire time.
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    4.5 stars

    Can you tell from just one kiss whether the person you are meant to be with is ‘the one’ for you? Gavin and Penny signed up to participate in a psych test, and had to kiss while blindfolded and without knowing anything about each other. Sparks flew and it seemed like they would be the perfect pairing… only- Things happened, Penny had so much going on with her school life and being a ballet dancer, she believed she didn’t have time for a relationship as well. She held herself apart from Gavin, asking for him to wait until she was available, even though she wanted to be with him. Gavin tried to make things work, but one rejection too many and he started to pull away from her and turned his attention to other women. But, he swore he’d always be there for her. Until the night he wasn’t. This set in motion a series of events that would take years to unravel. Fourteen years later, Penny is married with a young son soon to be leaving for college and she’s not happy. Not with her life or her marriage. Gavin is in and out of her life, never leaving long enough for her to be able to let go of what might have been. This story was convoluted, frustrating and heartbreakingly good. I wanted so much for these two characters. I needed to see them together, but it was a long haul getting there. I wanted to shake both of them at times, and hug them at others. They made so many stupid decisions and mistakes. They hurt each other needlessly at times and when they should have called it a day, then just went and made things ten times worse. This book is filled with angst, with heartbreak, it’s a veritable rollercoaster that will rip you apart before gentle picking you up and brushing away your tears. If this is what you love in a story, then grab Blind Kiss today but har those tissues handy.
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    Review: Blind Kiss

    Blind Kiss by Renee Carlino is a second chance romance for the ages. Told in dual POV and spanning from college through adulthood the story is told in a well woven intricate balance of now and then, past and present, Penny and Gavin's first meeting to their current situation and all the drama that unfolds in between is epic. Highly emotional and bittersweet at times, this story will have you flipping the pages faster and faster to finally see what happens when two best friends stop denying fate and allow love and what was meant to be just be. Penny is a dancer. It is her love. Her relationship with her father is strong, but her mother's focus is on her much younger sister and the beauty pageants she is always involved in. In college she is bribed with coffee shop gift cards by a friend to participate in a study - a "Blind Kiss". It is nerve wracking leading up to the experiment but once her lips land on Gavin's she is hooked. She refuses to allow a boy to deter her future goals however and keeps him at arms length. But the chemistry between them is off-the-charts. Gavin is flighty with women but serious about Penny and all the new things she has stirred up inside him. Taking her anyway he can get her, if friends is what she wants, friends is where he'll be but he'll always be ready for more. The bond they build is nearly indestructible until the one tragic accident that splinters their friendship and sets them both on the wrong course, heading away from each other. It takes years, but they always remain friends and eventually the story ends on a happily ever after. Enjoy!
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