The Kiss Thief [Book Review]


They say your first kiss should be earned.

Mine was stolen by a devil in a masquerade mask under the black Chicago sky.

They say the vows you take on your wedding day are sacred.

Mine were broken before we left church.

They say your heart only beats for one man.

Mine split and bled for two rivals who fought for it until the bitter end.

I was promised to Angelo Bandini, the heir to one of the most powerful families in the Chicago Outfit.

Then taken by Senator Wolfe Keaton, who held my father’s sins over his head to force me into marriage.

They say that all great love stories have a happy ending.

I, Francesca Rossi, found myself erasing and rewriting mine until the very last chapter.

One kiss.

Two men.

Three lives.

Entwined together.

And somewhere between these two men, I had to find my forever.

|CW: alcohol, smoking, cheating, violence, domestic abuse, murder|


2.75 stars for The Kiss Thief by LJ Shen.

Enemies to lovers, arranged marriages and the mafia; The Kiss Thief was an ok book.

The Kiss Thief is a book I’ve been dancing around reading for a while, and it was a good enough read.

Francesca Rossi was supposed to identify the love of her life — whom she’s already half certain about who it was —, like other Rossi women before her, by three letters from left to her by the previous Rossi woman in a old wooden chest, but things don’t go as planned and her ‘true love’ isn’t who she expected or wanted to be.

I felt impartial about the concept of finding love by some mystical family tradition. I couldn’t quite decide how I felt about a generational guide to find love (I thought both sweet and a little silly), but the letters themselves swayed my stance, because they were in themselves, too whimsical to my liking. I might have the whole tradition better, the letters had more substance, than things made of giggles and daydreams, but it wasn’t unbearable and didn’t quite make me roll my eyes.

The arranged marriage part of the plot and how it mixed with enmity and it played out the letters, wasn’t all too bad, it was actually a bit nice. I quite liked how they set each other in motion, this part of the book was actually quite nice.

The writing was ok. It was a mix of simple and casual that went well. The pacing was also good, a tiny bit on the slow side, which I didn’t mind most of the time.

The Kiss Thief was just an OK book.

The characters played their roles well enough…

I can’t say there was anything that stood out about the characters to me. They seem like your regular characters, which isn’t a bad thing in itself, but to me they weren’t exactly memorable.

I think my favourite character still would be Francesca. She was kind, resilient, and confused, as any teenage girl in her situation will be. She was also the tiniest bit eccentric, and hopeful. I do like how her character developed at the end of the book.

Wolfe is a character that I can’t bring myself to drum up more interest in past the introductory chapters. He seemed the typical harsh, brooding male character, with a tragic past, twisted games and occasional spells of kindness.

A little bit too messy and angsty…

Don’t get me wrong, I actually do love angst. I love when books make me hurt, huddle in a corner and want to cuss. But at some point, The Kiss Thief and its characters just felt like a hot mess. The miscommunication, impulsive behaviour, pettiness, the Nollywood worthy drama and the unnecessary charged emotions, wasn’t playing out for me. It left me half angry and weary.

Actually not a bad book, just not so good to me...

All in all, The Kiss Thief wasn’t a bad book, just not favourite — or anywhere close— material. I can’t really recommend it, but if you aren’t one to mind the things I said — slightly silly and overly angsty books — you could consider picking it up.


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Have you read The Kiss Thief? How did you feel about it?

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5 thoughts on “The Kiss Thief [Book Review]

  1. The premise sounded a little interesting but…LJ Shen books…hah. A lot of them (all) are dripping with misogyny and abuse. Not surprised to hear about this, but I’m sorry you had to go through that 😦


  2. Yeah, I had a similar experience when I read this story. I was conflicted because I loved the tension and banter they had but there several scenes throughout the story that made me incredibly uncomfortable or annoyed lol.

    Liked by 1 person

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