I ve read a number of good, but very heavy, books lately so I was in the mood for something light,happy and maybe a bit cheesy At first blush, Kiss Me seemed to fit the bill Happy is defintely a word I would often use to describe my mood after finishing one of Mallery s books.This novel, set against a cattle drive experience staged for tourists, starts off well enough Phoebe is the overly nice heroine who just can t say no to helping her friend babysit tourists Zane is the taciturn ranch o I ve read a number of good, but very heavy, books lately so I was in the mood for something light,happy and maybe a bit cheesy At first blush, Kiss Me seemed to fit the bill Happy is defintely a word I would often use to describe my mood after finishing one of Mallery s books.This novel, set against a cattle drive experience staged for tourists, starts off well enough Phoebe is the overly nice heroine who just can t say no to helping her friend babysit tourists Zane is the taciturn ranch owner with lots of baggage who can t help falling for sweet, earnest Phoebe At first I happily settled in for a feel good read and enjoyed myself However, Zane just felt flat as a character I figured I d give him time, but as the story moved along, there was an awful lot of not like other girls descriptions going on with regard to Phoebe.The whole not like other girls bit doesn t work for me at all And then on page 162, I hit this gem of Zane s internal monologue, Phoebe wasn t like the women he usually chose She wasn t divorced, widowed, or old enough to know better She had happily ever after scawled across her face Yeah, no I m just not in the mood for a hero who considers people who are divorced, widowed or old enough to know better expendable fun I know plenty of people in those categories who would love a second chance at love, and as I read this, my first thought was of how hurtful these words would be to them I m not reading this book for review, so I think I ll give up and look for something else This is one of the very best contemporary romances that I ve read this year I LOVED it I loved the new and different Fools Gold people as well as some old friends I ve read about in earlierbooks in the series Phoebe, the main female character was a delight She had me laughing out loud on several occasions, and Zane made me ache for the burdens he carried.There were minor characters who had issues.some funny to me, and some heart rending I haven t dound many 5 Stars book this year, This is one of the very best contemporary romances that I ve read this year I LOVED it I loved the new and different Fools Gold people as well as some old friends I ve read about in earlierbooks in the series Phoebe, the main female character was a delight She had me laughing out loud on several occasions, and Zane made me ache for the burdens he carried.There were minor characters who had issues.some funny to me, and some heart rending I haven t dound many 5 Stars book this year, but this is one Susan Mallery really did a fantastic job with this one in the Fools Gold series Two haiku review She might lose her jobFriend invites on cattle driveMeets friend s ex step broLoved both her and himLiked subplot with children, tooVery nice romance This was a fun, fluffy read I really liked Phoebe She s sort of flighty, but not in a dumb way I loved that she talked to the animals and apologized to trees and I especially loved everything about the raccoons Zane is the typical gruff, stoic cowboy He s got a lot going on and the responsibility is a lot for one person It was amusing to see each MC react to the other There are a lot of characters and multiple POVs Normally, that s not something I care for, but in this instance, I was in This was a fun, fluffy read I really liked Phoebe She s sort of flighty, but not in a dumb way I loved that she talked to the animals and apologized to trees and I especially loved everything about the raccoons Zane is the typical gruff, stoic cowboy He s got a lot going on and the responsibility is a lot for one person It was amusing to see each MC react to the other There are a lot of characters and multiple POVs Normally, that s not something I care for, but in this instance, I was interested in everyone s outcome For me, the only complaint was that the ending was really abrupt There s a slow build up while on the cattle drive, but then the last 10 pages are the conflict, 2 pages of a quick resolution, the HEA and the book is over I would have liked that structured a bit differently so it didn t feel so rushed.All in all, it was a quick and cute read Huge thanks to HQN Books and Edelweiss for providing the arc in exchange for an honest review KISS ME is the 17th book in the Fools Gold series by Susan Mallery, and I continue to be amazed that Mallery can come up with such different stories for one series I am so glad they are still entertaining, new characters are introduced, and the happily ever afters never stop.The characters make this book different and special Phoebe is smart, funny and snarky At first glance you can tell she has a heart of gold and because of that people tend to take advantage of her good nature She grew up KISS ME is the 17th book in the Fools Gold series by Susan Mallery, and I continue to be amazed that Mallery can come up with such different stories for one series I am so glad they are still entertaining, new characters are introduced, and the happily ever afters never stop.The characters make this book different and special Phoebe is smart, funny and snarky At first glance you can tell she has a heart of gold and because of that people tend to take advantage of her good nature She grew up in the foster system and has desperately wanted a family for years I found her to be one of my favorite characters in this series, especially when she speaks and asks advice from the animals All Phoebe wants is someone to love her Would Manny bite me No Then I ll only talk to him That s probably best She glanced at him Zane looked as if he d just swallowed lemons Don t you want me talking to Manny she asked I don t care one way or the other You think I m crazy His dark blue eyes crinkled as he grinned Crazy s a bit strong Zane is a cowboy and a man of few words, but there isto him He has been not only running the ranch but also acting as a duel role of older brother and father to his younger brother, Chase Although Zane tends to shy away from emotional entanglement and ending up like his late father he is the one who is always in charge Zane might have rough edges and be good looking, but as he starts to open upof him comes into light.When they first meet of course Phoebe finds him attractive and she tries to engage in conversation but Zane barely says anything Gradually they both start to open up and start to talk about pasts, fears, and before you know it the conversations becomenatural and less awkward Although they have their share of problems the best part of this book was that their love story as believable As much as I love first kisses in stories, their kiss isn t perfect There is the bumping of noses and awkward positions It takes a few kisses before things start to heat up between them and things start to become passionate.I enjoyed that this storyline for the fact it was different than previous ones in the series and it has new characters added into the mix along with some characters from previous books in the series The cattle drive was really a nice touch and it had some cute and funny parts that just added to the story One thing I know for sure that you will not be disappointed in reading this book It was really one of my favorites and the Mallery s writing keeps getting better and better with every story.This book could be read as a standalone but the fun of reading the Fools Gold series is knowing and loving the characters from the very beginning to the very end Kiss Me is one of the best books in the series and I know you will not be disappointed Very good book, mainly about Phoebe and Zane, but also with some terrific secondary characters It begins with Zane, owner of Nicholson Ranch, and older brother guardian to seventeen year old Chase, discovering that Chase has advertised a cattle drive vacation for tourists and accepted reservations and payments The circumstances of how this came about, and Chase s attempts to deal with it are pretty amusing to the reader, but definitely not to Zane Zane is furious and determined that Chase wil Very good book, mainly about Phoebe and Zane, but also with some terrific secondary characters It begins with Zane, owner of Nicholson Ranch, and older brother guardian to seventeen year old Chase, discovering that Chase has advertised a cattle drive vacation for tourists and accepted reservations and payments The circumstances of how this came about, and Chase s attempts to deal with it are pretty amusing to the reader, but definitely not to Zane Zane is furious and determined that Chase will face the consequences.Phoebe is an LA real estate agent who, while helping out another agent and friend, ended up blamed for some messed up paperwork That wouldn t be so bad, but it ended up in a lawsuit Fortunately it didn t end up in jail time for Phoebe, but she was suspended from her job for a month without pay, and threatened with losing her real estate license Unhappy that helping someone once again got her in trouble, she swears off doing anyfavors for friends Until her best friend, Maya, asks Phoebe to go along with her as she helps her stepbrothers on their cattle drive Phoebe is all city girl and pretty sure that it won t go well, but she goes.When Zane and Phoebe meet, there is definitely attraction between them But Phoebe has had a couple bad relationships and isn t too eager to start another one Zane is attracted to Phoebe too, but he s never had much luck trying to talk to women So he s not very talkative, leading Phoebe to believe he doesn t like her at all As the cattle drive begins, Zane is mostly focused on making sure everything goes smoothly, but Phoebe turns out to be quite a distraction I loved seeing Phoebe s enthusiasm once she got going on the cattle drive I especially loved the conversations she had with the head steer, Manny I liked Zane a lot He s pretty uptight at the beginning, weighed down with the responsibility of the ranch and his brother Zane has some issues in his past that haunt him, and make him determined that Chase will have it better Unfortunately, he tends to be hard on Chase because of it, putting their relationship under a lot of strain He loves his brother, but actually communicating with him doesn t go so well I understood his anger at what Chase had done and his determination to make Chase deal with the consequences Hanging out with Phoebe on the cattle drive opens him up to a new way of looking at his troubles with Chase It also starts to break down the walls he d built up around his heart, to protect himself from the extreme emotions he saw in his father It was fun to see him fighting the feelings that were growing for Phoebe, and failing so completely I also enjoyed the way that he started to look forward to whatever Phoebe had to say next I loved seeing the changes she helps bring about in his relationship with Chase.I liked Phoebe too Though she works as a realtor in LA, she prefers to help the little guy find the right house rather than dealing with the stars She lost her parents when she was young and looks forward to the day when she finally has her own family, but that search isn t going so well She has quite the crush on Zane soon after she meets him One of the things I liked best about her is the way that she sees past the uptight surface to the guy underneath who is struggling to do the right thing for his brother I loved seeing the romance develop between them, as the city girl discovers a love of the country that she didn t expect, and the rancher discovers that love doesn t have to be an emotional mess Things weren t perfect between them Their first kiss was pretty awkward, with bumping noses and being interrupted by a goat, but it gave them both a taste of what could be As the week went on they began to bring out the best in each other A storm brings danger to the cattle drivers, but also a new sense of teamwork, and Zane comes to realize just how much Phoebe has come to mean to him A crisis regarding her real estate license has a new and improved Phoebe returning to LA to deal with it, with support from an amazing variety of people Even better is a really sweet and romantic moment with Zane.There is a secondary story dealing with an orphaned brother and sister who are brought on the cattle drive by a pair of temporary foster parents The children have had it rough and have lost most hope of ever being adopted The couple are dealing with the discovery that they can never have children, and she is very bitter over the knowledge She starts out with a pretty bad attitude toward the kids, but things start to change over the week I thought her feelings were quite realistic and loved the conversations she had with herself as she tried to figure out what her problem was It was really sweet to see how things worked out for them at the end.I also loved Chase He s a really smart kid whose intentions are always good, but things don t work out the way he plans He loves his brother and hates the feeling that he s constantly a disappointment I really enjoyed seeing some of the maturing that he did over the week of the cattle drive It was especially satisfying to see him start to understand Zane s point of view The scene with the two of them after the storm was really pretty sweet.There were also a few appearances by regular Fool s Gold residents Eddie and Gladys are two of the people who signed up for the cattle drive and their antics are pretty funny They have their typical fascination and commentary about the good looking cowboys, but they are also wonderful with the two children There are a few other brief appearances, such as the Strykers, and even Mayor Marsha shows up There s a subtle lead in to the next book, and I can t wait to read it What a story Mallery engages readers on multiple fronts, allowing them to experience real life for these residents of Fool s Gold Self discovery familial responsibility vie with budding relationships and some real adventure Everything was so vivid I could just as easily picture being on the cattle drive as I could sitting on the ranch house Those of us following the series have been IN Fool s Gold many times before, but coming into the town, seeing the approach from fresh eyes with Phoebe What a story Mallery engages readers on multiple fronts, allowing them to experience real life for these residents of Fool s Gold Self discovery familial responsibility vie with budding relationships and some real adventure Everything was so vivid I could just as easily picture being on the cattle drive as I could sitting on the ranch house Those of us following the series have been IN Fool s Gold many times before, but coming into the town, seeing the approach from fresh eyes with Phoebe was breathtaking It gives a new and much larger perspective to the town, while also putting it all in context Not to mention the absolutely fantastic storyline The intensity of this story was brewing throughout, only to reach a crescendo at the end I was held wrapt SQUEE Fool s Gold s resident brooding cowboy revealed He s that hero that grabs your heart from every direction The rough and tumble cowboy withresponsibilities than he can count, with a soft, hidden side Sure I felt for Phoebe Chase, but Zane absolutely broke my heart Pheobe s wide open heart was a fantastic counterpoint Readers fall in love with her for a completely different reason Her bubbly, accepting nature her need to talk to everyone everything had me gigglingthan once Oh, and Zane and Phoebe s 1st kiss was perfectly priceless As usual, Eddie and Gladys had me rolling on the floor laughing I love these septuagenarians They re comic relief at its finest, and some genuinely loveable people underneath it all The foster child aspect was eye opening I love how Mallery worked it in and how it all turned out And I can t finish here without mentioning Manny, the unsung hero of the story I can t say too much without ruining it for readers, but just watch out for him ask him advice should you have any personal problems at hand.Mallery has a way with words, that s for sure She s one of those rare authors who rarely misses the mark, creating a world for readers to escape into for a while, telling a story about real people, living real lives, in a way that makes you want to be there alongside them Please note that I received a complimentary copy of this work in exchange for an honest review New York Times bestselling author Susan Mallery creates the small town destination for romance in charming Fool s Gold, California where a loner cowboy finds the one woman who can capture his heart After Phoebe Kitzke s kind heart gets her suspended from her job in LA, she swears off doing favors until her best friend begs for help on the family ranch in Fool s Gold Unfortunately, sexy cowboy Zane Nicholson isn t exactly thrilled by the city girl s arrival Thanks to his brother s latest scheme, Zane has been roped into taking tourists on a cattle drive What Phoebe knows about ranching wouldn t fill his hat, but her laughter is so captivating that even his animals fall for her One slip of his legendary control leads to a passionate kiss, but she s exactly the kind of woman a single minded loner needs to avoid In his arms, Phoebe discovers she s a country girl at heart Yet no matter how much the small town feels like home, she can t stay unless Zane loves her, too but is this cowboy interested in forever As I selected this book as part of the books that I would review this year I originally thought that I would find a bittersweet romance hidden within the pages of the story I m not sure that I did The author did deliver the romance but the struggle for the characters to acheive their romance was a bit of an unpaved road that I am not sure that I enjoyed the ride as much as I should have.One of the biggest faults with this book is Zane He came off way too stern for someone who hadthan an As I selected this book as part of the books that I would review this year I originally thought that I would find a bittersweet romance hidden within the pages of the story I m not sure that I did The author did deliver the romance but the struggle for the characters to acheive their romance was a bit of an unpaved road that I am not sure that I enjoyed the ride as much as I should have.One of the biggest faults with this book is Zane He came off way too stern for someone who hadthan an interest in Phoebe He was too rough around the edges and appeared to have this stubborn gruff about him that soured the romance and the plot within the book I did however like Phoebe s character She was content on thinking that she had learned from her mistakes when in reality what happened was merely an error I think in a lot of ways Phoebe learned not to take her life too seriously and she was able to bring Zane out of his uncompromising nature The writing flow of the author was very good The plot came to together easy enough and I didn t have any trouble following along with the characters as their romance and their lives began to unfold I do however think this will be last time reading a novel from this series I have enjoyed it The stories have made me laugh and perhaps even cry a time or two but I think it is time to move on as a reader It s hard to say goodbye to a series that has been as great as Fool s Gold has been but I m ready for something new and with this book being number seventeen I think it is time to part ways with the series I ll wait for the author to release a new series as Mallery is an author I enjoy and will continue to do so This review was submitted to all rightful parties PRIOR to posting the actual review to GoodReads Susan Mallery always seems to find new ways to keep her Fools Gold series fresh and this new book is definitely fresh Phoebe Kitzke has a big heart and that unfortunately gets her in trouble from time to time After helping her boss she finds herself in court but luckily not in jail While she waits to see if the fall out from her problems lead topermanent issues she heads to Fools Gold to help her friend and get away Rancher Zane is trying to teach his younger brother how to be a adult Susan Mallery always seems to find new ways to keep her Fools Gold series fresh and this new book is definitely fresh Phoebe Kitzke has a big heart and that unfortunately gets her in trouble from time to time After helping her boss she finds herself in court but luckily not in jail While she waits to see if the fall out from her problems lead topermanent issues she heads to Fools Gold to help her friend and get away Rancher Zane is trying to teach his younger brother how to be a adult but he constantly seems to get into trouble anyway His latest scheme is a doozy but instead of bailing him out he s making him follow through When Phoebe arrives though he finds himself distracted To teach his brother a lesson he s going to take 50 head of cattle and a bunch of greenhorns including Phoebe and his ex step sister Maya on a cattle drive Things are not as clear cut on the whole giving baby brother a lesson though Zane might have bit offthan he should but with Phoebe there to lighten things up, some luck and some friends it just might be OK I loved how different this book was from the rest of the series There are still several cameos from previous books in the series to make sure you understand this is still a Fools Gold book Zane is such a uptight guy trying to be a father figure to his brother but also not wanting him to go through what he did when he was younger with his dad Phoebe makes him see in her own way what he s been missing She s quirky and cute and he s tough and serious Add in the secondary story with the couple and the two orphans and everything else and it s a entertaining and fun read I think if you haven t ever read a Fools Gold book before you could safely start right here with Kiss Me and feel right at home