I love to read and to talk about books. I review many of the books I read. I do not accept any author/publisher submissions for reviews. I do not read or review ARCs. I do not enter any giveaways or contests. I obtain the books I review by purchasing them at the same price they are offered to the general public at the time of purchase. My reviews are intended for the use of my fellow readers. They are not advertising or promotion. They are not beta reads or constructive criticism or editing or advice to the author. My only obligation to the author is to pay the price charged for the book at the time of purchase. My reviews are sometimes critical and I will not stop posting critical reviews just to spare delicate authors' feelings. I am happy to make new friends, but friend requests from authors or promoters who have few or no books (and/or friends) in common with me and write or promote categories I do not read (especially new adult) will be ignored. I used to read more self-published books. After recent meltdowns by self-published authors, I now only read self-published authors I've previously read or who have been recommended to me by fellow readers I trust. I also used to read young adult/new adult books but rarely do so now.
This was an easy choice. The minute I read today's challenge I knew I'd pick Kiss an Angel - Susan Elizabeth Phillips.
This book is rightly beloved among romance novel fans. It ended up being one of my favorites. But I put off reading it for a very long time, even after I purchased it. I put off reading it for many years even though people I trusted recommended it over and over. I think I only bought it because it was a kindle deal of the day. The reason for my reluctance despite being urged to read it by people I trust? THE CIRCUS.
I hate most circuses. Despise them. Also, I am afraid of them. It's not just that they generally have clowns, though that is an issue. I also do not like the way many of them treat or have treated the animals in their care. Then there was the miniature model circus I happened to see in a museum when I was very, very young. It was a huge and intricate model and I was fascinated by it, but in with all the cute little scenes was a guy who had been murdered with a sledgehammer. It freaked me the hell out. I have not been to a circus since.
But I've seen dozens of recommendations and claims that this book has a fantastic grovel and I owned it anyway ... so finally this past April I took the plunge and read it. I had given myself permission to DNF if the circus parts got to be too much. And then I fell into it's grip and fell in love with it. To its credit, it dealt with the animal mistreatment well. Very well. I don't really remember much about the clowns but I know they were not scary. I loved both the heroine and hero by the end and all the animals and most of the secondary characters as well. I thought it was a great story. And there was no murder by sledgehammer, just a very well-written romance that I am very glad I read.