Saturday, October 12, 2013

Advanced Review: The Sum of All Kisses by Julia Quinn (4 stars, historical)

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Thoughts After Reading:
I’ve never had an “auto-buy” list. Even if I like an author, I like to research what the individual story is about - there are plenty of plots that simply do not appeal to me. Often times I’ll pick and choose books even within a series. The one time this rule does not hold true is with Julia Quinn. I’ve read every book she’s written, and will probably continue to do so for the rest of her writing career. Regardless of the storyline, I know it will be a book worth my time.

In many ways, The Sum of All Kisses is classic Quinn.  From the first page onward, there is an abundance of wordplay – wit, irony, sarcasm, it’s all there. Clever dialogue is one of my favorite characteristics of a book, and Quinn certainly knows how to put it to good use. She never misses an opportunity to reference the Smythe-Smith “talents,” with predictably humorous results. The plot is spaced out nicely, with most of the relationship tension being resolved after the major conflict – in my opinion, the right way to do it. The overall plot is quite interesting, as well. The reader gets a unique look at “the duel” from Hugh’s perspective - why it happened and the aftereffects from his side. As a result of the duel, the heroine - Sarah Pleinsworth – has developed a hatred of Hugh… and Hugh has never particularly liked her back. The plot consists of these two getting to know each other over the course of a couple weddings, and finding out there’s a lot more to like about the other than they had realized.

Although there were many good things about the novel, there are two major complaints I had. The first is the characters. Because this is essentially an enemies-to-lovers theme, the characters do not come off immediately as appealing. In fact, Quinn seems to do too good of a job at making the characters unlikable. The hero thinks the heroine is a bit shrewish and prone to dramatics because she really is a bit shrewish and prone to the dramatics. The heroine thinks the hero is somewhat standoffish and made a very horrible decision because he is, and he did. To be fair, the characters are eventually made rounded and given appropriate development. But a good 20% of the novel has to be waded through before the progression can even begin. I was also disappointed with the conflict. The story was moving along without any problems, and Quinn tends to be consistent. So – like clockwork – a conflict pops up at the 70% mark. Unfortunately, it was not a very believable issue. It truly felt like the issue was suddenly thrown in there just to have a roadblock. Following this is a kidnapping scene employed straight out the pages of a Minerva Press novel, and an unsatisfactory resolution is given to an unsatisfactory conflict.

I enjoyed Julia Quinn’s latest work, as I always do. The clever quips and comedic dialogue found in The Sum of All Kisses kept me smiling throughout. Most parts of the story were written excellently, and I applaud Quinn yet again for carefully handling the romantic development. There were some issues I had with the story, and I don’t think this was one of Quinn’s best efforts. But overall, a more-than-decent read.

*I received a free review copy of this novel.


  1. You're blogging again. Do you have more time to do so. Just to let you know I would probably would buy this book because of the cover. I'm glad you enjoyed the story overall. I'm so excited to see you return.

    1. Lol, hasn't anyone told you not to judge a book by its cover? ;)

      Didn't mean to get your hopes up with the blog post. I had requested an advanced copy of the book, so I thought it was only fair to post the review my blog as well as goodreads, etc. Life's still fairly busy, but I'm trying to make more room for books. I read a traditional last weekend and posted a review to goodreads - the first novel I've read since starting this semester. And then I read Julia Quinn's novel this weekend. I just find it faster to post to goodreads and less restricting (I can write a long review if I feel the need, or just sum up my experiences in a couple of sentences). So I'm still reading and reviewing, just not posting to the blog.

    2. Oh darn. I think I might cry. Lol. Yes, I have heard, but you have read my post and I have straight up tell you why I bought a book. Coverwhore. Goodreads hasn't been sending emails on updates. Kind frustrating, because if like seeing what people have added to their collections. I guess I have go investigate. Ugh. Why don't they just do as I ask. ;D

    3. Lol, yep - I have read the posts ;). Haha... I can't imagine why they don't do as you ask. Forcing you to visit the site? The indignity!

      I think if you go into the email settings on Goodreads (, you can set it to send you emails about new reviews from your friends. For me it's the opposite - Goodreads keeps sending me too many emails.

      It's nice to talk with you Melody.

      - Chris

    4. Problem solve!

      The funny thing was my email settings were the same as set them. Slackers!

      It's always great talking to you, Chris.


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