Wednesday, May 29, 2013

KISS CHRONICLES by Virginia M. Sanders - Book Review

Rating: 4/5 -  A satisfying read that’s worth every word.

Title: Kiss Chronicles

Author: Virginia M. Sanders

Format: ebook

Published: 2013

Genre: Memoir

Publisher: Smashwords

Landed in my hands:
downloaded it myself

Summary (from Smashwords):
When I turned 30 without getting my first kiss — yes, you read that right. Read over it again if you need to. Anyway, when I turned 30, I decided I had to take action and get a first kiss to be remembered. So I devised a method to get my first kiss in a way that would be guaranteed to make it meaningful: I would auction off my first kiss for charity.

In this quirky memoir, I share details from my life, exploring exactly how it was that I came to a kissless crossroads at age 30, and I tell all about the exciting and challenging experiences I faced as I developed the Kiss Chronicles project.


I’ve done something here I’ve never done before. I’ve read a self-published book I heard about through word of mouth.

(Mouth... kiss... am I the only one chuckling? Yes? That’s okay... it’s pretty lame. I’ll own it.)

Anyhow. I enjoyed this foray, despite going against the grain of my self-published-book snobbery (yes, usually I avoid them—even tiny presses are a better, in my honest opinion, if only from the more polished result). I think I lucked out and hit a winner with Kiss Chronicles, though, as I’ve encountered a lot of garbage floating around out there, and this book wasn't part of it.

Ms Sanders is genuine and her tale is identifiable. She’s putting herself out there with an honesty that is endearing, and her voice (and personality) come through loud and clear. Kiss Chronicles doesn’t read like a flat project outline. It’s got heart.

Now, that’s not to say it doesn’t have its problems. There’s a point early on when Mr Sanders plays an icebreaker with her readers, and well... meh. In her defense, she clearly states the reader can skip it and fall back in at a later point without missing anything. Naturally, since I wasn’t sure whether or not I was going to review it, I read every word. The ice breaker game didn't grab me, and I wouldn't advocate telling your readers they can skip parts of your book... and... meh. I wouldn’t’ve put it into the book, but that’s me.

And while I enjoyed the added shorts about first kisses from other writers (she’s got mini chapters dedicated to tales of kissing), it was the source of a moment of confusion for me. I (stupidly) had to put the book down mid-chapter, and when I returned I hadn’t remembered I was in the midst of one of these shorts... since the entire book is written in first person viewpoint, there wasn’t a reminder that I was outside the main narrative of Kiss Chronicles. So I was stymied when suddenly there was a kiss in the middle of what one would suppose would be a kissless book (at least until the end, right?).


Reader fail, yes, and I’ll own it.

Otherwise, I enjoyed those kiss-dedicated shorts. They were a nice break from the main event, the tale of the ups and downs of the Kiss Chronicles fundraising project.

Overall, I commend Ms Sanders on her job here. She’s put herself on the line with a diary-like honesty. She recounts her life growing up, her struggles, and the events (some hilariously creepy) that led to her kissless status at the age of 30.

I dare you to read this and not identify with Ms Sanders. Yep, daring you. Because you’ll be touched by her, and then be moved to donate to her cause. The book is free, but she's politely requesting a donation in lieu of a sticker price. Read Kiss Chronicles to understand the significance of the donation, but trust it’s a good one. And not because of the charity benefiting, but because Ms Sanders has earned it and more.

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