Review: Kismet (Birch County Blue, Book 1) by April Canavan

Summary/Cover Image from Author's Website:
Birch County is a beautiful place to live. Along the rocky coast of Maine, its residents are used to a peaceful life.

Maya, a police dispatcher by trade, is one of them. Until the night she's attacked and left for dead in her own home. In the aftermath of her attack, she struggles to love not only herself but to love someone else as well.

Brian has seen terrible things during his time as a deputy in Birch County, but nothing prepares him for the attack on one of his own, especially not when he feels responsible for the person who gets hurt.

While Maya struggles to find her own sense of normal, Brian and the other members of Birch County Sheriff's Department must figure out who her attacker was, before he comes back to finish the job.
When everything else fades away, Maya must fight to save herself. Along the way, she learns that she can't escape her fate.

I feel like all I've been reading lately is romance novels and mystery/thriller/romantic suspense novels. And you know what? I'm completely okay with that since I get both sides of the spectrum: the sugary and sweet as well as the disturbing and suspenseful. 

So when April Canavan's Kismet, the first romantic suspense book in her Birch County Blue, landed on my radar I knew I had to read it. It seemed like the perfect book to continue my reading trends. Plus, isn't that cover just delightfully creepy?! It made me wonder just how the word Kismet would be involved in the novel.  

The result? While slow to start, Kismet turned out to be an overall addictive and enthralling read once the story got going and the suspense as well as the romance started building.  

Maya was so incredibly ordinary. However, I think the ordinariness here is what made her character stand out to me, especially when bringing her attack into the picture, because Maya? She could be any of us - she's just a girl trying her best to find her place in life who unknowingly attracts the eye of the wrong kind of a person. It's what made this book so frighteningly realistic. 

What Maya went though broke my heart. I was right there with her and her friends, wondering and screaming why this could've happen, and wishing I could give her a hug. However, I admire the strength she had moving on from that night. She doesn't let it get in the way of living her life; instead, she goes back to work and tries to return back to normal, trying to put what happened on the back burner. 

While I did like Maya, there is one thing that annoyed me about her....her unwillingness to forgive Brian for what happened at the start of the book. I get it...it sucks when someone who you love doesn't admit the feelings back to you...but to push that person completely aside? Blew my mind. In some ways, I got it - he was an easy person to deflect her angry at the world at - but at the same time Brian was trying his best to repent for his actions as well as show Maya that while her accident was horrific it made him want to repent his mistakes and get the girl. And I did like Brain. Yeah, he acted like a lovestruck, confused teenager at times, but at the same time, I think he was just someone who hadn't grown up yet, who was afraid of making another bad relationship decision. 

The mystery in this book was compelling, full of enough twists and turns to easily allow me to finish Kismet in one sitting. One of the reasons it was so unputdownable was the changing POVs. April gives us not only Brian and Maya's viewpoints but also the viewpoint of the attacker. The attacker's viewpoint was disturbing, creepy, and frightening, but it also had me on the edge of my seat, dying to know what he would do next as well as angry that the police just kept missing him. The attacker's identity was one I didn't see coming, but the revelation at the end around it rocked my world. Crazy, crazy, crazy, that's all I'll say. In addition to the mystery, I loved the romance component as well. Brain and Maya were the classic will-they-or-won't, and the more they fought it, the more I was scramming internally, just admit you're in love already, you two!! I especially loved how their friends and family's conspired to get them together and admit their feelings. Brian's little boys always managed to steal the show in that regard. 

I had two problems with Kismet, however. One was the story was slow to start. It took at least five chapters to really get the story going, and while that did have some importance (it helped to establish the plot and characters) some parts of me were dying for that big twist or turn. The second problem I had involved editing. I feel that some parts of this book could've been edited down a bit - sometimes certain passages did more telling and showing, especially regarding day-to-day activities and physical features - but not the biggest of deals overall. 

Perfect for fans of romantic suspense, April Canavan's Kismet is a book that will you bitting your nails, dying to know what will happen next. I can't wait wait to see where she takes this series next! 

Grade: B+

Source: eARC provided by Author/Publicist - thanks April & Author's Pal! 

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