Review: “Kiss to Belong” by Anna B. Doe

Series: Blairwood University #5

Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Steam: 🔥🔥🔥

Release Date: March 18th, 2022

Add to Goodreads | Amazon.in (Available on KU)

CW: toxic families, character suffering from eclampsia

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?

 

Maddox and Alyssa’s story might just be my favourite of the Blairwood University series. While I haven’t read the first two yet (it’s on my list), I have loved all of these characters through the other stories. But this book ticked all my boxes and I loved everything about this story so much! As a sucker for best friends to lovers, I was rooting for Maddox the whole way through and toss in some terrible parents, lots of pining and the most incredible group of friends, this book made me all kinds of happy.

For as long as he can remember, Maddox has been in love with Alyssa. They grew up together with their parents being friends, and he’s always just been the nerd while she was the prettiest girl in the world. As they got older, their friendship got stronger, but so did his feelings. And now that they’re both at Blairwood together, Maddox has accepted that Alyssa will never see him the way he hopes. After all, she’s been dating a tool with the dumbest name for a while and despite Maddox dislike the guy, he’s never done anything more than get his name wrong. But when Alyssa discovers she’s pregnant, disowned and homeless, Maddox steps up and provides her with everything she needs. Little does he know that things are going to get complicated and confusing before they get better.

There’s just so much pining in this book and I’m here for all of it! Maddox is such a great character too—nerdy, charming, funny, friendly and hella swoony. I loved that while he’s got these big feelings for Alyssa, he doesn’t do things just to get her attention. He does it because he wants to help and make life easier for her. Maddox’s feelings for Alyssa are so much bigger than he knows what to do with, but he’s so soft and gentle and kind with her. I admired his strength in the face of lust and desire taking over everything. I loved his honesty and care. With everything that Alyssa is going through, Maddox just steps up and provides a shoulder and more for her to lean on. And through it all, he’s just always there. Alyssa is such a strong character. I can’t even imagine what it would feel like to be in college, pregnant, broke and homeless. But I admired how she stood her ground with her ex and her parents, not letting anyone else tell her what to do with her life. The only person she allows to push her around is Maddox, but it’s because Alyssa knows he only has good intentions for her.

“Don’t you understand it by now, Aly? I’ll choose you. Always.”

Their relationship is a wonderful slow burn and I appreciated that just because the universe tossed them together, things didn’t happen right away. I liked the time they took to not only strengthen their friendship, but for Alyssa to slowly see Maddox in a different light. I loved all of the scenes surrounding Alyssa’s unborn baby—doctor’s appointments, shopping for the baby and talking about it in general—because it really shows how deep their friendship runs and how beautiful their relationship could be. I also definitely credit their large group of friends for stepping in and snapping these two into action! I was so mad when Alyssa tried to play matchmaker because she was confused by her own feelings, but at the same time, I totally get it. I appreciated the fact that she didn’t fully understand what she was going through herself and instead of risking it, she pushed past it. Which only led to confessions and feelings exploding and ah, it was beautiful.

There’s some miscommunication, but I liked the way it was handled. There’s lots of feelings (big and small) and there’s some trauma that had me sitting forward and reading at insane speed to see how everything would turn out (there’s an HEA, obviously, calm down). But the way Anna crafted this story definitely had me a little concerned at points and I loved that while it was clear where things were going, we didn’t take the easy way to get there!

Every time I read one of the Blairwood University books, I’m drawn into just how much I love the friendships. With Maddox sharing his house with some of the guys, Yasmine and Callie being there a lot, it was so much fun! These supporting characters have all told their own stories already, but to see them again and to see how strong these friendships were made me happy. I loved how supportive and generous every single one of them was. And how as Alyssa went through the pregnancy, how everyone stepped up in their own ways.

Knowing that there are 2 more books coming has me really excited to see where these stories go and what happens to all of these characters!

Thanks to Anna B. Doe for generously providing me with an advance copy. I am voluntarily leaving an honest review.

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