Review of A Kiss for Emily: (Book One of the Emily Stokes Series)

Book Cover

Purchase on Amazon:  A Kiss for Emily

A Kiss for Emily (Book One of the Emily Stokes Series) by J.P Galuska

Book Description

Emily Stokes never thought that falling in love would put her smack-dab in the middle of chaos. Or have her questioning her own sanity. When strange occurrences turn into the unbelievable, this romance may be more than she bargained for.

Book Review

Emily Stokes wants to be kissed, but she’s finding out that it just isn’t easy to find that special someone.

puckering up for a kiss

Emily is a typical teenager in Topeka, Kansas, finishing her junior year of high school. The story begins with her devastation over learning that her parents have decided to move the family to a rural area outside of Topeka.  Emily thinks her life has been “ruined”! Not only will she have to change schools to complete her senior year, she will leave behind her close girlfriends and her major crush, Alex Hibbs:

 “…when I look at Alex…I secretly desire a romantic kiss. Not just any old kiss, but one that makes you weak in the knees and defines true love. The all-important, all-encompassing kiss: that’s what I dreamed of. That’s what I wanted.” 

Emily thinks the upcoming prom is the perfect place to get that dazzling kiss. The only problem is Alex hasn’t asked yet, and time is running out.  She refuses to be the one to ask; otherwise, the kiss won’t be meaningful. However, the school year ends with Emily and a broken heart, but she is  ready to make the move and have a fresh start. heartbreak

The story is primarily told from Emily’s point of view, and the author does an excellent job of depicting the thoughts and actions of a teenage girl. At the beginning of the book, she is portrayed as an overly dramatic, self-centered, and insensitive to others. One of the primary examples of this is her treatment of Alex, even though she doesn’t know the extent of his pain and suffering from the traumatic events created by his family. At times, readers are given brief glimpses of Alex’s desperate thoughts, and I found it so heartbreaking that Emily refuses to have any type of relationship with him.


I have to remember though, Alex has hurt her too, and she believes, in order to protect her heart, she can no longer have contact with him now that she has moved away: “Alex had been my Prince Charming, a knight in shining armor. Now he was simply the moldy cherry on a melted hot fudge sundae.” As the story progresses, readers watch as Alex’s life slowly disintegrates and are left wondering if the relationship between Emily and him is really over.

Now that her family has settled into their new house, Emily does her best to be optimistic about the change and to look for adventure. And, boy does she find it. While hiking in the woods, she takes a tumble that leaves a knot on the back of her head. She gets up, shakes it off, and continues on, until she spots a quaint, farmhouse out in the middle of a huge, open field.

country farmhouse

While taking in the beauty of the scene, she meets Sam Easley, property owner, and  “the most handsome boy I’d ever seen in my life.”

girl in shockShe is drawn to his old-fashioned and charming “country-boy” demeanor, and finds herself spending more time with him.  Has Emily finally found an opportunity for romance?

Sam appears to be the ideal guy for Emily, and she is enamored with him. He is the perfect gentleman around her, refusing to make any inappropriate moves toward Emily, even though she longs to kiss him.  However, Emily is quite perceptive and quickly realizes that not all is as it seems when she is around Sam. He isn’t anything like other young men that she knows.  Without giving too much away, I’ll just say that readers discover that Sam is in an unusual predicament, and, therefore, reluctant to tell Emily the truth about himself. His secrets create further conflict by making Emily wonder if, indeed, that bump on the head was more serious than she thought. Could she be delusional? Even her parents become concerned when they learn her knowledge of Sam and her visits to his house are  incongruent with what they’ve discovered about the history of the  Easley family.

old shack

Before Sam can reveal the truth to Emily, she is whisked away by her parents to be seen by a doctor, since everyone, including herself, thinks she’s hallucinating.

girl thinks she crazy

When a psychiatrist, more concerned about his career than his patients, declares that Emily is schizophrenic,thisgirlscrazy  her parents do everything they can to intervene, refusing to accept that their daughter is mentally ill. While Emily is being treated, readers get the parents’ point-of-views, which provide greater insight into their family dynamics and show the depth of their unwavering love and support of their daughter.  The plot unfolds as Emily tries to avoid confinement to a mental institution, and accept Sam for who he is.

Mystery, suspense, romance, and paranormal elements all combine to make this an enticing story. I also like the creative angle and detailed descriptions used to explain the paranormal entities.

ghost swirling

The ultimate question is whether Emily can love Sam with all of the restrictions and rules that constrain his behavior and actions. Will Emily finally get that kiss from Sam? The book’s ending leaves the reader wanting to know what will happen next.



About  J.P Galuska

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J P lives in Minnesota with her family, a crazy dog, and the world’s best cat.

The Emily Stokes Series Facebook | Author Facebook | Website | Twitter: @JGaluska


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