5 Stars / Contemporary / New Adult / Review

Review: The Kiss List by Maya Hughes

If I were on fire, she’d break out the marshmallows.

It’s not that we don’t like each other, more like hate with the fury of a thousand suns. But it wasn’t always that way.

I still remember how her lips tasted. How they felt pressed against mine. How I wanted more.

How I still crave her. Our disastrous night together ended with her storming out, me wondering if I’d ever be able to show my face on campus again and us as bitter enemies.

When a campus competition is announced to find the most in love couple, she’s the last person I thought I’d turn to for help. But the prize could change both our lives. An internship for her and a chance to finally connect with my father. It’s too hard to resist. Just like her heated glares and tempting curves.

To win, we’ve got to prove to everyone we’re a couple. Head over heels, can’t keep our hands off each other in love. Fake the hell out of it for our chance at glory.

Maybe we’re a little too good at selling it to the whole campus because the lines haven’t just been blurred, they’ve gone up in flames.

Can I convince her I want us to be together for real and keep the prize? Or will I lose them both?

Title:The Kiss List
Author:Maya Hughes
Series:St Francis U / STFU (Book 2)
New Adult
Trope(s):Sports Romance (American Football)
Enemies to Lovers
Fake Relationship
Point of View:First person, past tense, dual viewpoints (H & h)
Location:Philadelphia, US
Release Date:3rd March, 2022
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Enemies to lovers was never so delicious

This is only the second book in the STFU series and yet I feel it’s the book we’ve all been waiting for. We first met Cole and Kennedy in the first book in the series, Kiss and Tell, and the Hate. Was. Palpable. I was there for it in that book and was here for it in this book, too. But don’t worry if you’re new to the series and this is your first book – it stands completely alone and everything you need to know is explained in this book.

We start off with the kind of enemies to lovers story that other books wish they were. Cole and Kennedy hate each other but we can immediately tell that there’s an undercurrent and the ‘why’ is never quite clear. While they’re still at odds with each other, there’s that delicious anticipation that makes the book come alive. I was almost vibrating in excitement while reading.

Then there’s a major shift in their relationship with the bargain and the start of their “fake relationship” that feels anything but fake from the get go. It felt like we, as readers, could see everything clearly where Cole and Kennedy were too caught up in things to realise.

Kennedy is the kind of girl that you can’t help but love. She’s feisty, sassy and has worked hard to be comfortable with her curves. She still has her hang-ups – especially when it comes to Cole and their history – but she was eminently likeable and easy to root for. Aside from with Cole, I loved her relationship with her sister and her all-round planner, in-charge, thrifty nature.

“…one of the top books I’ve read this year.”

Cole may have his moments but ohmigosh he is the secret cinnamon roll hero of your dreams. I adored that man boy! It is clear that he adores Kennedy and really wants to be his best self for her. He’s also a little broken which, if you know me, you’ll know is my absolute cat-nip for heroes. I’m a sucker for an emotionally damaged man. Sigh. But honestly, it’s pretty upsetting to see Cole and to get to understand why he feels the way he does and why he acts the way he does. He’s not worried about getting emotional, though, which is definitely another plus in his column for me.

As a couple, I loved Cole and Kennedy. Sometimes I find that enemies to lovers stories lose a spark when the couple in question get together and although Kennedy and Cole definitely behave differently once they strike their bargain, you can still feel that electricity between them that you get when they’re fighting. As always with Maya Hughes’ books, there’s a good amount of heat and sex, but it felt appropriate for our couple, especially once you understand their history together. I liked it. I felt it. So I was happy.

We get to know the other guys from the STFU football team in this book, too, and I can see myself falling just as much in love with them as I did with the Fulton U guys and the Rittenhouse Prep guys. There’s also more to hear from the odious Coach Mickelson and while there were revelations that I guessed in book 1, he was still able to fall in my estimations. Horrid man.

I really enjoyed Kiss and Tell but I adored this book even more and would say it’s one of the top books I’ve read this year. If I wasn’t already, this book has got me hook, line and sinker into the world of St Francis University, the football team and their friends. I can’t wait to read the next book in the series (which is where the STFU and FU worlds collide! Squee!) and if you’re not already a fan of Maya Hughes, I promise you will be after reading this book. 5 very worthy stars.

* I received this book in exchange for an honest review *

Maya Hughes can often be found sneaking in another chapter while hiding in the bathroom from her kids! 🙂 I’m a romance writer who loves taking inspiration from everyday life, namely my husband and biggest fan. Inspiration also strikes when I hear a song, meet someone new or daydream while at soccer practice.

I’m the mom of three little ones, the wife to an amazing husband and also work full time. Some of my favorite things are cinnamon rolls, white wine, laughing until I can’t breathe and traveling with my family.

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Fulton U Rivals / STFU (St Francis U) Series:

Kiss and Tell Maya Hughes
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Dirty Kisses
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Kiss It Better

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