Size Doesn’t Matter (95): Kiss Cam; Lodestar

I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Size Doesn’t Matter (95): Kiss Cam; LodestarKiss Cam by Kiara London
Published by Swoon Reads on October 18, 2016
Genres: Contemporary, Romance
Pages: 272
Format: ARC
Source: Publisher
AmazonThe Book Depository
Goodreads
three-stars

In Kiss Cam, teen author Kiara London asks, what's a little harmless kissing between friends?

Juniper, Jasper, and Lenny have been friends forever and co-own a vlog channel called WereVloggingHere. Their fans are huge "shippers" who believe that Juniper and Jasper are perfect for each other, and, despite warnings from friends and family, a simple Truth-or-Dare inspired kiss soon spirals out of control into a whole new world of making out and surprise kisses.

Juniper and Jasper's relationship begins to shift. But as fan requests for different "Kiss Cam" segments keep pouring in, Juniper puts her worries aside and convinces herself that it doesn't mean anything. After all, it's just kissing… right?

As has been the case with most of the Swoon Reads offerings, I love the premise of Kiss Cam but the execution left quite a bit to be desired. It was saved by a cute ship, but both writing and character development could use some serious editing.

The best character, and the reason that I shipped this one pretty strongly despite consistent reservations, is Jasper. Of all the characters, he’s the one who has consistent and clear motivations and personality. He’s vibrant, fun, daring, and at times hesitant and shy. When he’s around, banter happens. With him off screen, the novel turns banal. However, the chemistry between Jasiper is real, though how on earth do their parents let them have regular sleepovers in the same bed???

Main character and first person POV, Juniper, called June, is inconsistent in characterization. Agreeing to regularly kiss Jasper on their vlog makes absolutely no sense because she’s terrified of a) having feelings for him and b) damaging their friendship. Her reactions to things vary really oddly, and it keeps her from feeling real. For example, she freaks out at the idea of trying to taste chapstick flavors off of Jasper’s lips but is okay with the challenge to give and receive a massive hickey. She decides she’s in love with Jasper a couple days after he confesses and then just does nothing until circumstances delay again because it was too soon to get together; this makes her so hard to understand.

I do love the concept, the way that having fans who ship you can have an odd impact on a relationship. Friends to lovers is hit or miss for me as tropes go but this one totally worked for me. I love friends to lovers that develop as the result of a physical catalyst like this. However, I do think (and this isn’t the first time with Swoon Reads) the novel suffers from how innocent it is. There’s nary a mention of anything beyond kissing, even in June’s head. Also, I’m grumpy that the dudes wouldn’t kiss for their fans too. Just one little kiss. This premise would have mad an amazing m/m/f love triangle just saying. But alas.

Kiss Cam‘s certainly not a paragon of originality or strong writing, but it’s cute and shippy. It’s one of the better Swoon Reads titles I’ve read, so if you’re wanting some pure fluff, go for it.

Tl;dr – Review in a GIFfy:

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Size Doesn’t Matter (95): Kiss Cam; LodestarLodestar by Shannon Messenger
Series: Keeper of the Lost Cities #5
Published by Aladdin on November 1, 2016
Genres: Fantasy, Adventure, Romance
Pages: 688
Format: Hardcover
Source: Purchased
AmazonThe Book Depository
Goodreads
three-half-stars

Dark schemes unfold—and Sophie’s loyalty is pushed to the limit—in this thrilling fifth book in the bestselling Keeper of the Lost Cities series.

Sophie Foster is back in the Lost Cities—but the Lost Cities have changed. The threat of war hangs heavy over her glittering world, and the Neverseen are wreaking havoc.

The lines between friend and enemy have blurred, and Sophie is unsure whom to trust. But when she’s warned that the people she loves most will be the next victims, she knows she has to act.

A mysterious symbol could be the key—if only she knew how to translate it. Every new clue seems to lead deeper into her world’s underbelly and the Black Swan aren’t the only ones who have plans. The Neverseen have their own Initiative, and if Sophie doesn’t stop it, they might finally have the ultimate means to control her.

This series has broken me. Emotionally, for sure, but also in some ways that are less easy to put a finger on. I know that the first couple books of this series sucked, except for that ray of sunshine, Keefe. At this point, I’m in so deep that I’m sometimes convinced that Keefestar Lodestar is actually good. Then something super fucking absurd happens and I think hmmm maybe not. However, Messenger’s definitely getting better at this.

The reason that I love this book, and I really really do, though not quite enough to give it a top rating (some of me remains intact, I guess), is Keefe. He’s such a brilliant character, well-drawn, complex, and oh so lovable. He makes so many mistakes in Lodestar, and it breaks me. He’s less funny in this book, because he’s falling apart while trying to hold himself together for Sophie, and that breaks me even more.

Now, though, it’s not just Keefe who’s well-drawn. He’s been slowly radiating personality out to those around him. Sophie’s not just a special snowflake anymore. There are actually some pretty heartrending baby Bellarke parallels in the way that Sophie and Keefe are the ones who step up to protect everyone, who make the tough choices, knowing they may lose friends over them. These two are such perfect partners, and Sophie defends him to the end, even when she thinks she can’t anymore and I have such feelings that only Gillian understands.

Lodestar is a book of ship and massive ship teasing. As much as this is a Sokeefe book, Messenger is not giving up Sofitz either. THE TAUNTING IS REAL. AND PAINFUL. Though Fitz is also clearly being put into his own love triangle with Linh. Who might also have a thing with Wylie potentially. Meanwhile, Dex, Biana, and Tam are obviously going to be a love triangle. Basically, everyone developed hormones very suddenly. And absolutely everyone in the book is choosing Team Sokeefe or Sofitz. I love that everyone is pushing Sophie to realize that boys have feelings for her and she’s ostriching so hard and dear god i have to wait another year how.

Characters aside, Messenger does seem to be improving a bit at plotting. The plot’s still not phenomenal; I mean, anytime the book turns towards plot there tends to be some infodumping and also it goes so fucking slow. But, unlike the earlier books, twists are actually surprising, rather than painfully telegraphed. Good and evil aren’t as cut and dried as they were.

I’m still just a wee bit ashamed of my love of this series, but not too much anymore tbh. I’m not reading them for snarking purposes anymore. I cannot resist Keefe or this ship. Want to join me in the madness? That’s what real friends do.

Tl;dr – Review in a GIFfy:

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2 responses to “Size Doesn’t Matter (95): Kiss Cam; Lodestar”

  1. SOOOOOKEEEEEEFE 5EVA NO REGRETS okay lots of regrets NO SHAME okay a lot of shame but OH GOD THE OTP IS TOO REAL

  2. Why does Swoon Reads tease us so?! The premises are pure catnip. This does sound cute but I think June would annoy me. Lol I love that you love Keeper of the Lost Cities! And I love that you’ve descended from pure snark to pure ship hahah.
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