[ARC REVIEW] “Kiss to Belong” (Blairwood University #5) By: Anna B. Doe

The newest book in the Blairwood University series is here!

What is “Kiss to Belong” by Anna B. Doe about?

New Year has kicked off on a rough start for Alyssa Martinez. Pregnant, homeless, and alone, she has to figure out how to start over before her baby arrives.

Maddox Anderson has always been a brainiac. If only confessing to his best friend he has been in love with her his whole life would be as easy as coding.

When Maddox finds out what’s going on with Alyssa, he demands that she move in with him. When sharing a bed turns into late-night snuggles, and movie nights end up with Alyssa straddling his lap, something will have to give.

But can Maddox prove to her they belong together when Alyssa is convinced that he deserves somebody better than her?

Rating: 4/5 Stars

Review:

This book is part of a series, and while it can technically be read as a standalone, I highly recommend reading the previous books in the series to get a better understanding of the friendship and character dynamics. Plus, the events of those books are mentioned a few times in this one, so it’s better to not start with this one.

I’m the first to admit that surprise pregnancy books are one of my least favorite tropes – especially when the reader is surprised by it, too. However, the direction that “Kiss to Belong” took is a more refreshing approach, which was a bit of a spin on previous books with a similar trope that I’ve read in the past. 

It’s been almost two years since I read the first book in the Blairwood University series, “Kiss to Conquer,” so I don’t remember a ton about first meeting Maddox and Alyssa. I am a fan of friends-to-lovers though, especially best friends-to-lovers, and was intrigued about how their story would play out. The two of them were close and fit together well, despite not really having anything in common. For the majority of the book, Maddox was a really great guy – he stepped up when Aly needed him, and is overall just a good friend to her and the rest of his friend group. Letting them live at the house rent free, etc.

That’s what makes the breaking point for the two of them so unnatural. While Aly isn’t a saint by any means, Maddox starts acting completely out of character. I get that it had to be something redeemable for the both of them that started to create distance between the two, but Maddox acknowledges that what Aly says in front of his mother upsets him when it shouldn’t – it’s a bit difficult to talk around it as I don’t want to give any spoilers, but the context of the situation shouldn’t have made Maddox react that way. He took his own insecurities out on Aly, without having a mature conversation about what upset him, and that was really immature and made me think less of him than I had before. The same goes for their decision to attend a social event together – but I do understand that it made sense for the plot. 

We get to see a lot of our favorite characters from the previous books, and it was fun to see them interacting in happy times when they aren’t the center of the turmoil. My favorite part about that is that I know the other characters from reading their POVs etc., but in Maddox and Alyssa’s story, they’re just other people. What I mean by that is that it’s interesting to see how the guys in the group, and girls for that matter, are viewed through the lenses of their friends, not by someone who has romantic interest in them.

I would’ve liked to have seen Maddox’s parents at Aly’s graduation, but I liked how Aly’s parents storyline played out – or rather, how it didn’t. After they cut her off, she barely has any other contact with them, which was for the best. It felt more realistic that way.

Overall, I think this was a solid addition to the series, and sets up the next novella, “Kiss Me Forever.” I’m excited to read the final few books in the series. As with all new adult romances, I recommend it for mature audiences due to some of the sexual content. Huge thanks to Anna for letting me read an early ebook copy! The book is available now.

***

Reviews of Anna B. Doe’s Books:

“Kiss to Conquer” (Blairwood University #1) – ARC

“The Penalty Box” (Greyford High #4) – ARC

“The Stand-In Boyfriend” (Greyford High #5) – ARC

“Kiss Before Midnight” (Mistletoe Kisses Anthology) – ARC

“Kiss to Forget” (Blairwood University #2) – ARC

“Kiss Me First” (Blairwood University #0) – ARC

“Kiss to Remember” (Blairwood University #4) – ARC

“Kiss to Belong” (Blairwood University #5) – ARC

Playlists of Anna B. Doe’s Books:

“Kiss to Conquer” (Blairwood University #1) 

“The Penalty Box” (Greyford High #4) ♪

“The Stand-In Boyfriend” (Greyford High #5) ♪

“Kiss Before Midnight” (Mistletoe Kisses Anthology) ♪

“Kiss to Forget” (Blairwood University #2) ♪

“Kiss Me First” (Blairwood University #0) ♪

“Kiss to Remember” (Blairwood University #4) ♪

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