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I love to explore genre fiction, and while I usually go for books with a romantic thread running through it, I just love great character and world building. And since I can hardly stand to let go of my favorite characters, I like series.

Kiss and Make Up - Faye Robertson Bottom Line: The key words for Kiss and Makeup? Charming. Intelligent. Swoon-worthy. ^_^ In short, this story is such an easy read. Easy for a summer day on the beach or a rainy day in the homestead. The plot, setting, and tone are crafted with a deft hand that makes the plot flow effortlessly and convincingly. The characters–the mains in particular–are intelligent and believable, never romantic caricatures. Here’s a book that contemporary romance fans will want to read through and then keep on hand for a burst of the feel-goods. ^_^Review (originally posted at Book Lovers Inc):“I had sex with an orc once.”Awesome way to open a book, don’t you think? ^_^ It’s a great representation of the charm and wit displayed repeatedly throughout Kiss and Make Up. The premise of this contemporary romance promised a fun, flirty tale starring two magnetic personalities. Makeup actually does not factor all that heavily into this story–in a direct way, that is. That element is involved via the fact that the heroine is a makeup artist who is talented and focused on fulfilling the immense promise of her career trajectory. But Kiss and Make Up absolutely delivers in setting up a warm and breezy romantic tale.The personalities of the two main characters are easy and enjoyable. I so adored Eli and Tabby as individuals. They were painted as intelligent, sharp, interesting, ambitious, and logical. I recall at one point digging one of the heroine’s ponderings:Was it possible to fall in love in such a short space of time?I loved that the character (and by extension, the author), acknowledges this atypical situation as worthy of being specifically examined. It’s just one of many moments that made the Tabby and her crew believable to me, even in the context of a whirlwind romantic tale. Robertson creates very realistic and relatable characters with understandable feelings and behaviors. I got that feeling that I would *love* to be their friends, that they are the kind of people that you could truly meet and connect with. The author deftly touches upon their playful sides, their emotional turmoil, their fears and passions.Indeed, the story is not over complicated. It’s driven forward by a clear, tightly framed plot line. It was such a breath of fresh air to have a romantic entanglement that did not involve silly, manufactured misunderstandings to build tension. Instead, the dilemmas that develop for each of the two main characters are logical, introduced with just enough sentiment and demonstration to leave a lasting impact. The author manages to make the reader truly *feel* the frustration that the main characters do, yet understand and appreciate the complexity of life and its occasional messiness and inconvenience.And the steamy aspect? Wow. The attraction between Tabby and Eli is immediate and undeniable. Their interactions are absolutely incendiary while simultaneously being sweet and romantic. Each and every romantic encounter had a smoldering, sensual feel that served also to underscore the genuine affection that the two had for each other. I personally love it when a romance is truly spicy *and* sweet, and when the narrative is visual and tactile enough to draw that out to the max. This book absolutely delivered on those accounts.I think I had this book rated as a four at one point, but rethought and had to adjust, because there is just nothing I dislike about this book. Okay, that’s a lie. I took very minor exception to one of Tabby’s actions near the end of the book, even though objectively I understood the reasoning behind the character’s decision. This particular action drove the story to the end that any reader would’ve come to expect, but I felt it ever so slightly out of sync with the legitimate convictions Tabby’d had previously. Though ultimately, it all just goes to show how much I cared about Tabby by that point to really want to stand up on her behalf! ^_^I must make note that the book is set in various towns in New Zealand, and the author writes the setting as a wonderfully lush, inviting place. It certainly shows care for the balance between characters, plot, and settings…the last of which is not often a top consideration in contemporary romances.