Title: Kiss Me Hard Before You Go
Author: Shannon McCrimmon
Source: paperback from author for review
Every summer, Gray Barnes and his eighteen-year-old daughter, Evie, open up their farm in the foothills of South Carolina to Kip Kierkin's Carnival of Wonder. The carnival attracts hordes of locals and out-of-towners, and it brings in the extra cash that Gray and his daughter need to keep the family estate running.
Evie decided long ago that she wants nothing to do with the carnival or the farm that her dad so desperately works to keep afloat. She doesn't understand her father's appreciation for the land or the work that it takes to maintain it, but that's all about to change when she meets Finch Mills.
Finch is a lifer – a carny since birth. He's spent all of his twenty-two years on the circuit and longs for a different path. He's never paid much attention to Evie, not until this eventful summer of 1978.
This book was absolutely precious! I loved it and didn't want to put it down the entire time I read it. I had to of course, but it was with great difficulty. I knew the second I saw the cover and read the blurb, McCrimmon had a winner on her hands. First of all...how stinkin’ adorable is the cover? Like major adorable, right? Right. Secondly, loved the story. I mean 1978 was an awesome year. I was born. Duh.
"The Sun is a star," she said. She rarely paid attention in science class, but that was the one thing she remembered.
"You're like the sun," he said.
"You brighten my day and give it life."
We follow Evie and her father as they welcome the fair onto their land for the next five weeks. Well, Evie doesn't necessarily welcome them with open arms. In fact, she despises its very presence. But this year is different. This year she meets the incorrigible Finch Mills.
Everything about him drives her nuts. And nothing she says is able to deter him from smirking at her. But soon they form a relationship that is unlike any the two have ever had.
This book will have you rolling with the flow of emotions. It will have you smiling one second, only to be tearing up the next. It will have you feel as if you are flying with the birds, elated at the happiness that is happening in the moment, just to be thrown down into the trenches of sadness in the next turn. My heart was all over the place. And I loved every second of it.
The characters. Oh these fun, beautiful, melt your heart characters. And I am not just talking about Evie and Finch. Oh no. There are all the others as well. Like Doris, Mouse, Katie, and more. They all play a role and play it well. You feel for them and only want the best for them. It was a great family of characters that you have to know what happens to each and every one of them.
She stared up at him, and he leaned down to kiss her. And for that moment he forgot where he was and where he was supposed to be, and how he was supposed to act, and gave into her.
The romance is sweet and 100% perfect. I was so smitten with it all my face is hurting from the smile I kept on my face the entire book. Well, except for the sad parts. I definitely wasn't smiling then. But it is more smiles than not. And I can say with absolute certainty I would love to reread this one again. And soon.
I wholeheartedly recommend this book if you are looking for that perfect-summer-romance read. I know you won't regret it and can bet you will be in love with everyone by the time you are only pages in. I know I was. 5 Smitten As A Kitten Stars!
“Hey,” a voice called. “Excuse me.”
Finch turned to see who was calling him. It was Evie, and she didn't look happy.
“Yeah,” Finch said, waiting for her to get on with it.
“Could you tell your friend to put his cigarette butts up in his truck bed? He's got a pile higher than a moon pie and guess who's gonna have to clean it up?”
“Mother Theresa?” Finch quipped.
She scowled at him. “You're a riot.”
“Thanks.” He flashed a sardonic grin. “If you look around, you'll see he isn't the only one smoking.”
She glared at him. “I've got enough shit to clean up. I don't need to clean up after y'all too,” she explained with a stressed expression almost evoking the word “please” with her eyes.
“I'll tell him, Laura Ingalls,” he teased and sauntered away. He could hear her breathing heavy and muttering to herself. He tried not to laugh, but she had some nerve. Coming up to him and bossing him around like she owned the place. Okay, so she kinda owned the place, but that wasn't the point. He had been there less than one hour and she took it upon herself to tell him where to stick Stoney's cigarette butts. He was libel to turn around and tell her where she could stick the cigarette butts. He knew just the place, but when he peered over his shoulder, he saw her golden hair blowing from the breeze and lost his train of thought.
Fine, she was cute. Really cute. He could admit that. But man could she give a mean look – the kind that'd send anyone running. Not him though. He could handle an irate female. And the attitude? She talked to him like he was a nuisance. Didn't she know that they were doing her dad and her a favor? They were helping them make money. There was no way those cows put out that much income, not in five weeks anyway. He figured she'd at least show a little bit of gratitude.
“Spoiled little brat,” he muttered under his breath. He turned around and rolled the dolly toward Stoney.
“Saw the girl talking to you.” Stoney was annoyingly observant.
“More like talking at me,” Finch said and shrugged her off. He was tempted to light up a cigarette and drop it to the ground just to tick her off. He knew that'd be immature, but so help him, he wanted to irritate her.
I'm a Florida native who currently resides in Greenville, South Carolina, with my husband and toy poodle. When I'm not writing, I can be found drinking Earl Grey tea with honey and cream, singing ineptly and butchering the lyrics to my favorite songs, and asking my friends ridiculous, hypothetical scenario-based questions. I'd love to hear from you. Connect with me at www.shannonmccrimmon.com
Author Fun Facts...
I actually worked on a cattle farm for the day helping my friend Gordon. Needless to say, I'll stick to writing. Farming is really hard work.
Evie's farm was inspired by my friend Gordon Lee's farm in the upstate of South Carolina. His son's name is Grayson, whom I named Evie's father after.
The Lee family have a pet steer, who I modeled after Evie's pet ox, Miles.
The town of Haines is fictitious but was inspired by Tryon, NC.
Evie's name was originally supposed to be Hadley, but I thought Evie suited her better.