Wednesday, May 27, 2020

REVIEW: Queen Move by Kennedy Ryan

QUEEN MOVE - BT banner

“This thoroughly modern soulmate story blew me away!” -- Talia Hibbert, USA Today bestselling author
Queen Move, an all-new passionate and unforgettable friends-to-lovers romance from RITA® Award-winning and Wall Street Journal bestselling author Kennedy Ryan, is available now!

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Queen Move is such a fantastic blend of old + new Kennedy Ryan. There are parts of it that feel like the Kennedy Ryan of the Grip and Kingmaker series and parts that feel like The Bennetts and Soul Series. There are parts that are bold and unwavering in showing the world what it's like to be a powerful woman of color in a predominantly white man's world and parts that are shimmery and soft and romantic.

Let's start with Kimba. I love how Kennedy Ryan writes women. She creates these powerfully strong heroines--really admirable women--and shows us how even the most badass of us all can still be human. I cannot think of one female protagonist of Kennedy's who I don't think is WOWOWOWOW. Truly. But Kimba? Kimba is one bad ass woman and I just really, really, REALLY think the world of her. I loved her confidence and yet I also loved that she still had this soft underbelly like many of us do.

And Ezra? Gah. Ezra is going to have hordes of women in love with him. Just as Kennedy writes amazing female characters, she writes really wonderfully nuanced male characters as well. In this case Ezra is powerful and confident but also just a huge softy for Kimba. He exerts just enough alpha to have you swooning and the right amount of softness and sweetness to be appealing without being weak. Loved him.

As with all of Kennedy's novels, she gives us some things to consider-- women + women of color making waves and taking their rightful places in the world, biracial characters showing us the struggle of feeling like they're too much or two little of something, infidelity, bigotry, marriages of mixed faiths, and being involved in a relationship that doesn't always look like or seem like what people assume it should. So many things to consider--and in Kennedy Ryan's hands all of these things are woven in seamlessly, with nuance, and they give interesting texture to the romance of Kimba and Ezra. I love that Kennedy is fearless in what she asks her characters to do and her readers to consider. I love that she never shies away from anything--she just goes for it.

Another thing I enjoyed about Queen Move was the focus on family. It was rich with family--blood family and those who you make a part of your family--and it starts when Ezra and Kimba are just babies. Their history sets you up for the almost instant connection they have years later. You're rooting for them to connect and hating that they may not. Kennedy keeps you guessing's only at the last sentence can you breathe a sigh of relief, hoping that you may see them again through the eyes of a secondary character you meet in the novel. I should also note that Ryan also captures the humor and bickering of siblings and the challenges of coming back home after you're grown so perfectly. I was laughing and feeling Kimbra's frustration because I've been there myself!

Anyone who knows us knows we have been on the Kennedy Ryan bandwagon from the get go. We've enjoyed reading, discussing, and sharing her novels with readers and have loved watching her career and writing grow and flourish. So I say with no doubt: Queen Move is going to hit the best seller list and stay on it, I'm sure.

The boy who always felt like mine is now the man I can't have…
Dig a little and you'll find photos of me in the bathtub with Ezra Stern. Get your mind out of the gutter. We were six months old. Pry and one of us might confess we saved our first kiss for each other. The most clumsy, wet, sloppy . . . spectacular thirty seconds of my adolescence. Get into our business and you'll see two families, closer than blood, torn apart in an instant. Twenty years later, my "awkward duckling" best friend from childhood, the boy no one noticed, is a man no one can ignore.
Finer. Fiercer. Smarter. Taken.
Tell me it's wrong. Tell me the boy who always felt like mine is now the man I can’t have. When we find each other again, everything stands in our way--secrets, lies, promises. But we didn't come this far to give up now. And I know just the move to make if I want to make him mine.
**QUEEN MOVE will have the special release week price of $3.99. After that, the price will increase.**


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“You’re fucking brilliant.”
“Huh?” Ezra asks absentmindedly, paying more attention to the flame under his pan than to my compliment. “What’d you say?”
“I said you’re brilliant.” I hold up the iPad I’m using to read his manuscript. “Your book, the YLA story, is incredible, Ez.”
“Oh. Thanks.” He flashes me a smile and then goes back to his French toast. “The key to getting this right is the milk-to-bread ratio.”
I hop off the counter and walk over to stand beside him at the stove. “Would you forget about your French toast for a minute and listen to me?”
“But it’s stuffed French toast.” He takes the pan off the burner and pulls me into his arms. “And I could listen to you all day. What were you saying? Something about me being a handsome, sexy genius?”
“Um…those weren’t my exact words.” I laugh up at him.
“I could have sworn that’s what you said, and I’m never wrong.” He slides his hands over my ass in a pair of his boxer shorts. “Some even say I’m fucking brilliant.”
“They probably just like your big dick,” I whisper and blink up at him as innocently as I can manage.
“I get that a lot.” He drops a kiss on my head and turns back to his French toast. I lean down to rest an elbow on the counter and watch him work.
“A lot?” I ask teasingly. “Have there been a lot?”
He pauses mid-toast-flip and slants me a glance. “Are you asking how many people I’ve had sex with?”
“I mean, it’s none of my business. If you don’t want to—”
Lord above, only eight?!
“Oh.” I straighten and rest my hip against the counter. “What a, um, single-digit number that is.”
“What about you?”
What about me? I’m tabulating years of hook-ups, one-night stands, fuck bois and carrying the one.
“If you don’t want to,” he says, cracking an egg into a bowl, “it’s fine. I don’t care how many people—”
“I don’t know.”
He glances up from whisking eggs, a small frown puckering his dark brows. “You don’t know what?”
“My number. I don’t know how many people I’ve been with.”
He resumes whisking, his frown clearing. “Oh.”
The whisking eggs and whirring refrigerator are the only sounds in the kitchen. I’ve never been embarrassed by my choices. I enjoy sex. I’ve had it with a lot of people. People I really liked…or tolerated…but didn’t want to commit to. I’ve always been safe and never mean about it. I was upfront, and when someone wanted more, I let them know “more” wasn’t an option.
“I just never…” I cross my arms over my stomach, fold one bare foot over the other. “I haven’t been interested in committed relationships. There hasn’t been anyone I wanted that with.”
“Tru.” He stops whisking and gives me the full impact of his undivided attention. His eyes are placid blue. No shadows or undercurrents. “I don’t care.” Ezra pushes the bowl aside and faces me. “But there is something I feel like we should be clear on regarding how you’ve handled sex in the past.”
Here we go.
“You’ve never wanted to commit before,” he says.
“Right. I’ve never wanted any strings attached.”
“I know I said we could be just sex, no emotional attachments.” He shoves his hands in his pockets. “But I feel like I have to be honest with you. Having you back in my life has been…it’s been exactly what I need, and what I felt last night… I’ve never felt that way before.”
I’m not even sure my heart is beating, but it also feels like there’s a tumult in my chest. “What are you saying, Ez?”
His mouth flattens into a hard line and his jaw hardens to stone. “I want strings.”
“Y-you do?”
“I want strings.” He links our fingers, strokes his thumb across my palm. “Ropes, if necessary. I want anything that keeps you with me and me with you and tells everyone else don’t even think about it.”
I’m stunned and incredibly turned on, but that doesn’t take much where Ezra’s concerned.
“You…you do?” I ask faintly…again.
“I wouldn’t do well sharing you.”
About Kennedy Ryan

RITA® Award Winner, Wall Street Journal and USA Today Bestseller, Kennedy Ryan writes for women from all walks of life, empowering them and placing them firmly at the center of each story and in charge of their own destinies. Her heroes respect, cherish and lose their minds for the women who capture their hearts
Kennedy and her writings have been featured in Chicken Soup for the Soul, USA Today, Entertainment Weekly, Glamour and many others. She has always leveraged her journalism background to write for charity and non-profit organizations, but has a special passion for raising Autism awareness.The co-founder of LIFT 4 Autism, an annual charitable book auction, she has appeared on Headline News, The Montel Williams Show, NPR and other media outlets as an advocate for ASD families. She is a wife to her lifetime lover and mother to an extraordinary son.

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