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3 Stars / New Adult / Review

Review: ‘Tis The Damn Season by Kimi Freeman

A Hollywood starlet caught in a scandal. The boy she never got over. A Christmas season they’ll never forget…

Aspen Moore is living proof that money doesn’t buy happiness. At twenty-three years old, the singer-actress has it all. Fame. Fortune. Her own headlining tour. And yet something—or someone—is missing.

When a scandal rocks Aspen’s carefully constructed Hollywood life, she’s forced to return to her Pennsylvania hometown, where she reconnects with her first love, Roman Torres. Aspen knows they must keep their relationship strictly platonic. This game of push and pull, catch and release she plays with Roman is bad for her. She’s not staying in Fertsville, and he’s not moving to LA. But their chemistry is undeniable, and amidst rumors and drama, the bright lights of Hollywood begin to pale in comparison to the dark brown eyes she fell in love with all those years ago. Could Aspen be willing to give up everything she’s ever wanted for the best thing she’s ever had?

Title:‘Tis The Damn Season
Author:Kimi Freeman
Series:n/a
Pages:356
Category / Genre(s):Contemporary
Trope(s):Second Chance Romance
Christmas Romance
Point of View:First Person, Present Tense, Single Viewpoint (heroine)
Location:Mostly Fertsville, Pennsylvania, USA
HEA:✔️
Release Date:24th October, 2023
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Cute and fun new adult romance

3 stars

This is Kimi Freeman’s debut novel the story of which takes inspiration from the Taylor Swift song of the same name. I have no particular feelings towards Taylor Swift – one way or another – and had never heard the song in question but I don’t think that affected my feelings for this book. Perhaps fans would be more inclined to pick up this story but you don’t have to be a Swiftie to read this story.

Our story follows Aspen (Penny) Moore – a young starlet who acts, sings etc. She’s going through some scandals that are seriously denting her nice-girl image with her young fanbase – so she decides to go back to her hometown and stay with her parents for a while. Enter Roman Torres – her childhood sweetheart and the only boy she’s ever loved. He’s still in town and still making her feel the things she always felt for him. But as their two worlds collide, will they be able to stay together or tear each other apart?

Both Aspen and Roman are likeable characters – both nice and kind but with flaws that make them both believable and easy to root for. They had a good camaraderie and easy friendship but not much on the chemistry or sexual tension scale. There are kisses in this book but no explicit content.

The whole story is told in two parts – the present time and then flashbacks to the past. Flashbacks almost always disrupt the flow of a story and this one is no exception. It’s roughly a chapter in the past, a chapter in the present and so forth. So I suppose it’s more two timelines than flashbacks.

“…this was a cute and fun book…”

I think this might have worked had the storylines in the past and future been fundamentally different. For me, apart from Aspen’s fame, our couple were dancing around each other in the past and also in the present. I admit that I was a bit disappointed when I found out that Roman and Pen were friends in the present timeline. They saw each other every time Aspen came home so we didn’t even get the shock of coming face to face after a long absence. This really reduced any chemistry or tension between our couple and I didn’t see any change in their feelings between the start and end of the book. It was more about them finding a way to be together with their conflicting lives.

As an adult, I looked at the time difference between the two timeframes in our story and thought it was miniscule. In the past, Aspen and Roman are 17 while in the present they’re 24. Yes, it’s a large time gap – especially at the time – but to me, they were kids in both time periods. I’m not saying that I think there should have been a bigger gap between the past and present – I suppose what I’m saying is that I’m very old.

There was a lot of detail in this book which is great – but a lot of it didn’t move the story forward or actually bear any relevance to the romance. I felt that a lot of the information could have been pared away and instead we could have had more depth of feeling and understanding of our couple. There are some heavy topics dealt with that were skimmed over in a way that didn’t do them justice and didn’t afford them the gravitas that was deserved. I also started to feel ridiculously sorry for Aspen with all the scandals she was involved in. By the last one I actually said: “Are you kidding me? Give the girl a break!”.

The writing style of Ms Freeman was very readable and it took me no time at all to get stuck into the story. I would have liked more showing and less telling but all in all, a good tale was woven and I was happy to read it. Perhaps a younger reader might fall in love with this book where I didn’t – not just because of the Taylor Swift connection but also because the focus on social media scandals. Again, revealing my age here but the drama felt a bit juvenile. Just stay off social media! But despite it all, this was a cute and fun book and I would happily read whatever Ms Freeman decides to write in the future. 3 stars.

3 stars

Kimi Freeman writes heartfelt contemporary romance and is an avid lover of all things dance. A northern New Jersey native, she is often found enjoying a toasted cinnamon raisin bagel or taking trips into New York City, a short distance from her hometown. Her stories are swoon-worthy, fun, and always guarantee a sweet happily ever after. Follow her on her social media platforms for updates and additional information.

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Excerpt:

Nothing screams, “Welcome back to LA!” like a scathing text from your best friend telling you she’d rather gouge her eyes out than ever see you again. I guess in her mind, it’s well deserved, but in reality, it hurts like a bitch.

I try calling Sierra for a third time, but I know it’s probably useless. Just thirty minutes ago, the paparazzi spotted her and her boyfriend, Cane, walking into Nobu for their first date after our North American tour. She clearly won’t be interested in talking.

“God, Sierra!” I shout at no one in particular, collapsing onto the couch closest to the elevator.“Why can’t you just answer the phone?”

Paul, the doorman to our luxury Los Angeles apartment building, doesn’t even flinch at my outburst. I guess working in a building that houses some of the biggest young adult stars in this city, he’s gotten used to strange behavior. People in LA have a way of acting totally off the rails, then pretending like no one has a right to be upset about it. But I’m still embarrassed that I’m losing my cool like this when I usually try to come off so calm and collected.

Pretending everything’s okay is getting increasingly harder the longer I stare at the wall, unpacking what’s just happened. Unpacking what the entire world now believes. Unpacking what threatens to wreck my career if I don’t get this situation under control.

This was not the way I wanted to return home from touring in support of my debut album. My ideal homecoming would have involved a box of sausage and onion pizza, cream soda, and watching chick flicks with Sierra on our couch. The only other person I would want to spend time destressing with after a stressful tour lives three thousand miles away and is painfully unavailable.

© Kimi Freeman, 2023

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