4 LEXINGTON AND 42ND STARS (★★★★)
*** Disclaimer: I received an ARC from the author in exchange for an honest review. However, this doesn’t affect my opinion of this book and the words in this review. ***
It all starts with Lexington and 42nd‘s beautiful cover. The story plays out in New York and that is one of my favorite cities in the whole wide world. So that’s the first plus! Second plus for me, before even reading it, was that the story surrounded American Football. Because I’m a real sucker for sports romances, I was immediately sold. Lexington and 42nd is a very strong debut novel for Kim Carmody with all the twists and the turns. It makes you laugh, it makes you cry, it turns you on. So reading Lexington and 42nd is kind off like getting in an emotional roller-coaster, which leaves you with a lot of happy feelings.
“Yep, forty-two looks mighty fine on you. Makes sense really.” He wriggled his eyebrows and said playfully, “Miss Lexington.”
I giggled. “Are you seriously referencing us as street names?”
Will nodded. “Lexington and 42nd, my new favorite intersection.”
A cocky American Football player Will, used to getting his way because he is treated like that by the people around him, meets the refreshing down-to-earth and Australian Emma. Both have good and loving relationships with their families. Will is kind of done with everybody knowing his stuff and that people don’t even take the time to really get to know him by actually starting a conversation. That is why Emma is a fresh breath of air. Emma doesn’t have a clue as to who he is, because she only knows about the Australian Football system. She is on an exchange program for twelve months, being thrown into a whole other world, unaware of the American Football system and rules and clueless as to who the Warriors’ players are including Will Jensen. Which leads to a very hilarious first meeting between the two where Emma doesn’t have a clue who he is and she actually references Will Jensen to him.
Emma is ambitious. She chose to pursue a career in the city, which meant not returning to her family’s farm. She has a high sense of responsibility for others. It sometimes feels like she is carrying the whole world on her shoulders. She is the complete opposite of selfish. With every decision she makes, she thinks about others first. No matter how much she comes to like Will, it is difficult for her to trust him. From the very start, she was reluctant to give him a chance, because she didn’t want to risk her job and the success of her team back home. She can be very stubborn, but that only adds to her personality. And I really loved the fact she has an Australian accent.
Something that starts as breezy and fun, soon ends in intense feelings of love. The only thing that is difficult is that they are both scared to admit they are having these feelings, to each other but also to themselves. Will is scared because he doesn’t want to push Emma away. Early on he senses that she is afraid. So his plan is to gradually win her trust. Emma is afraid to trust Will because of some stupid things he did in the past and lied about to her. She also has a lot of insecure feelings, because she just can’t believe someone like Will would want someone like her for the long-term. Every moment they spend together, scared thoughts of him realizing he doesn’t want her anymore and him breaking her heart accompany her. That really isn’t the best foundation for a solid relationship. So will Will succeed in winning over Emma’s trust and will Emma find away to get rid of her inhibitions?
“Do you need time alone with my boobs, Will?”
He looked up at me, then down at my boobs and back up again before shrugging. “You can stay if you want.”
Lexington and 42nd is a light-hearted romance novel. Nice to read in between. You don’t have to think about it. It contains a lot of humor. I really loved the witty banter between Emma and Will. The characters were funny. There is a lot of drama, but no complicated background stories from the main characters. There are no dead parents or physical and mental abuse. But that doesn’t mean the characters weren’t well-round, because they were. It was a nice change to just have easy characters without all the intensity and brooding. I also thought the side characters were pretty funny and were strong. Emma lands herself in a city far away from home, but luckily she is surrounded with a strong support group consisting of Julia (her housemate), Carrie, Dana, James (her colleagues) and surprisingly Buck (Will’s best friend and teammate).
Besides laughing really hard, I also experienced teary eyes a couple times. Kim turns out to have a great talent for portraying the main character’s feelings in such a way that the only thing you can do is feel it with them. I don’t know if you recognize this, but sometimes you are reading a book and you are really invested in the couple, but you know that everything needs to be destroyed before it ends in a happily ever after. So you are dreading to continue reading, because you know your heart is going to be splintered into a million pieces. That is what happened to me when I was reading Lexington and 42nd. I didn’t want everything to go wrong and when that heartbreaking moment occurred it hurt like a motherf***er.
My most favorite part was the epilogue and that may seem like the rest of the book was crap or something but it totally wasn’t. The epilogue was just very cute and it was the perfect end to Will and Emma’s story. I think what I liked the most about it was the fact that you read the whole story from Emma’s perspective, and that you find out that Kim Carmody made the surprising but best choice ever to write the epilogue from Will’s POV. It is very refreshing actually. You get the chance to get to know their story from Will’s side in just a short chapter. I kind of liked that the whole novel was written from one perspective instead of changing from Will to Emma and back. I think in this way you have the chance to really get into the mind of that one character. It is just a little bit easier this way.
Unfortunately, I couldn’t give Lexington and 42nd five stars, because there are a couple of things I thought could be better and this is just Kim’s debut. I know there is only more greatness to come and I am pretty sure there is room for growth. I had the feeling that at some moments the sex was just a little bit too much. In the first half of the book Kim really knows how to build it up with a lot of sexual tension, whereby the first time Will and Emma have sex causes you to really get all the feels. But once they started they didn’t seem to be able to stop themselves. Almost every explicit sex scene after that was described and sex kind of took the upper-hand there, making me starting to dread those scenes. But fortunately it passes and the real story between Will and Emma takes back the spotlight.
What was unsatisfactory is how Emma started as a really strong character in the prologue. It promised a tough female character who knew exactly how to deal with the media. A woman who knew how to negotiate and drive hard bargains. She came of as someone who would do anything to grow in her career. (As I am describing this it really makes me think about Olivia in this book btw). As the story progressed she grew a little bit weaker, I think. Every time she was in Will’s proximity she turned into putty and she didn’t seem to remember how to say no.
Happily there were moments the strong Emma from the prologue made its appearance. Moments were she was hilariously stubborn and even a couple of moments were her perseverance inhibited her from a chance at true love, but let’s just skip over that part. I have to be honest though and say that she stayed ambitious throughout the whole story. She didn’t only think her own job was important, but also looked out for other’s, because she felt responsible for their success and luck.
Lexington and 42nd is a powerful combination of a qualitatively good story with twists and turns at every corner and a very pleasant writing style. It is a story about trust, misunderstandings and a very strong connection. It has the sparks and the witty banter. Funny, hot and heartwarming. I seriously can’t wait to read Olivia’s story, because she left a very strong impression in Lexington and 42nd.
ABOUT KIM CARMODY