Review: A Kiss in the Dark – Gina Ciocca

Review: A Kiss in the Dark – Gina CioccaA Kiss in the Dark by Gina Ciocca
Published by Simon Pulse
on March 6th 2018
Format: eARC
Source: Netgalley
Amazon, Goodreads

When the lights go out at a Georgia high school football game, Macy Atwood finds herself in the arms of a boy who kisses her senseless – but is gone by the time the lights come back on. All she knows is that there was something special – and oddly familiar – about her mystery kisser.

Noah Granger, Ridgedale’s resident bad boy and newest transfer student, has no problem taking credit for the kiss, but Macy can’t shake the feeling that he’s lying. Especially since a photograph of Macy and former star football player Joel Hargrove resurfaced online moments before the blackout, a not-so random reminder of how hard she fell for Joel last year. And how doing so ultimately sent her lifelong friendships with Meredith Kopala and Ben Collins up in literal smoke.

Soon junior year’s wounds begin to reopen as Macy realizes the events that unfolded are somehow tied to her mystery kisser. Discovering how means finally facing what really went wrong with Meredith, Ben, and Joel – and finding out what Noah is covering up.

But the closer Macy gets to figuring it all out, the more she starts to worry that the boy who kissed her in the dark and the boy who is stealing her heart might be two very different people.

I received this book for free from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

The first time I read a book by Gina Ciocca was her debut, Last Year’s Mistake, in 2015. I enjoyed the book a lot. I really clicked with the writing. So when I saw Gina had another book, Busted, coming out in 2018 I was beyond excited. Read and loved that. And then there was A Kiss in the Dark. A book that sounded like equal parts romance and mystery mixed with a lot of teen angst. I was dying to get my hands on it. And when I did…loved! It was really everything I had built it up to be in my head and I’m so happy.

This book was the perfect mix of mystery and contemporary romance. As a reader what I loved is that I didn’t have the whole story from the beginning. You know that something happened. You know that friendships ended and hearts were broken, it you didn’t know why it happened and who was involved. All it took was one unforgettable kiss in the dark for Macy to go back to that year and unravel just what lead to it all falling apart and to figure out who kissed her and why. It was done really well. I had no clue what happened and how it lead to all the destruction until I was about 70% done, although I figured out the kiss early on.

On top of loving the mystery/romance aspect it helped that I loved the three main people involved, Ben, Joel and Macy. All three played a part in the mess that was their lives and it took a year for them to face it and to try and fix what they broke or missed completely. I highly enjoyed seeing their story unfold and the secrets they were hiding. Plus I admit to being a tad smitten with Ben. Sue me, he’s adorable.

All in all I think this was my favorite book by Gina Ciocca. There is something about her books that I just click with. Her writing style just gets me and I need more of her stories in my life. This is an author you need to check out and this is a book you need to read!

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2017 Statistics Survey: The Answers

Here are my answers for the 2017 Statistics Survey hosted by myself and Brittany (The Book Addict’s Guide):

  • Number of books read…
    • Under 250 pages (not including novellas): 19
    • Between 400-449 pages: 13
    • Between 450-499 pages: 4
    • Over 500 pages: 5
    • Over 1000 pages: 0
  • Number of…
    • Audiobooks: 0 (I don’t think I listened to any books)
    • Re-reads: 10
    • DNFs (did not finish): 2
  • Number of books rated…
    • Five Stars: 24
    • One/Two Stars: 11
  • Number of authors met in 2017: I met a handful that were really exciting, but my top two were Sarah Ockler and Stephanie Perkins
  • Number of book events attended in 2017: Maybe around 7ish?
  • Number of books you read in one day: Just 1
  • Number of books that made you cry: I cry easily when reading. I probably teared up with all of them.
  • Number of 2018 books you have on pre-order: 10

  • Book read furthest away from home (vacation reads?): I only went to NYC for BookCon so I guess maybe What to Say Next.
  • Book that took you the longest to read: What to Say Next because I picked it  up and read 25 pages but then got distracted and didn’t pick it up again for like 2 months.
  • Book that you personally connected with the most: I can never answer this one. Maybe Match Made in Manhattan because of it being a girl online dating.
  • Book that made you love the villain: A Court of Wings and Ruin. A character that wasn’t 100% a villain but I hated, did something that swayed me a little to him not being 100% awful.
  • Book you said you’d come back to but still haven’t picked up again: I usually don’t do this.
  • Book you read waaaay before its publication date: Furyborn. It is out in May of 2018
  • Book you read on your birthday: Love Songs and Other Lies
  • Book with a character who shares your name: Note sure
  • Book you weren’t entirely truthful about when rating (Fluff up any ratings? Rated even though you didn’t finish?): I’m pretty truthful with my ratings.
  • Book you read in 2017 but already want to re-read: Furyborn
  • Book you borrowed from a friend a long time ago and still have: Most of Gail’s library
  • Book you which you could go back and read for the first time again: Always Anna and the French Kiss.
  • Most books read by one author this year: Probably Sarah J. Maas since I read A Court of Mist and Fury 3 times in 2017 along with some of her other books.

  • Book you read that is red: Dirty Rowdy Things
  • Starts with X, Y, or Z: None
  • Book you hugged when you finished it: More Than You Can Tell
  • Book you wanted to throw across a room: Heart of Fire
  • Food you craved while/after reading a certain book: This could be anything. Books love to make me want some kind of food.
  • Book that became an instant go-to recommendation: Letters to the Lost
  • Furthest out of your comfort zone: N/A
  • Read on a recommendation (that you may not have picked up yourself):  Mayhem series
  • Forced yourself to finish: N/A
  • Series or author’s works you binged (whether all at once or throughout the year): Mayhem series

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My Favorite Things (1) – 2017 Edition

Over the winter I saw Jamie, from The Perpetual Page Turner, release a post that was very similar to a favorite things post. I really liked the idea behind it and decided it was time for me to post some of my favorite things. This will be a monthly feature on my blog where I will post some of the things I loved in the month/month before.It will be anything from an item of clothing that I wore the bejeezus out of, a book I was obsessed with, a TV show I got hooked on, or even a gif I found and loved. Basically anything can pop up so be ready.

Since this is the beginning of January and my first Favorite Things post, I will be posting some of my favorite things from 2017:


1) I got to meet both Stephanie Perkins and Sarah Ockler (on the same day) over the summer. It was one of my favorite days of the year!

2) I binged watched Prison Break in February of 2017. I’m not even kidding you I couldn’t stop watching it and I finished it well before it came back for a fantastic 5th season. Such an amazing show!

3) I opened my first Etsy shop: Cards by Andrea S.

4) The Patriots won another Super Bowl and I got to finally see all 5 banners together on New Years Eve when I went to the final game of the regular season (In sub zero temps…WORTH IT!).

5) I fell in love with my new fur vest and winter coat, both from J Crew.

6) I met my reading challenge for 2017. It took me reading 18 books in December but I did it!

7) I read a lot of great books (not counting rereads) in 2017. A few of them are: Furyborn, Letters to the Lost, More Than We Can Tell, All Things New, and Tower of Dawn.

So there you have it, some of my favorite things from 2017.

What were your favorites?

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Contemporary Romance Reading Challenge- January Link-Up

HAPPY 2018, you Fancy Readers!

It starts!…Okay, so technically it started yesterday, but who’s counting. It’s the first day of the 2018 Contemporary Romance Reading Challenge anyway! If you haven’t officially signed up for the challenge,you can so so HERE. If you don’t sign-up, your entries will not count toward the giveaway and I have to disqualify you. Basically…SIGN-UP!

Monthly Link-Up and Giveaway Details:

  • Your thoughts on each book you read must be posted somewhere, like your blog, Goodreads, Amazon, YouTube, Tumblr, etc., in order for it to count towards this challenge. Ratings on Goodreads, LibraryThing, BookLikes, etc. will also work.
  • Monthly link-up posts will go live the around the first day of each month so you can add your links throughout the month as your posts go up. Each linky will remain open five days into each new month to allow you some time to get all your posts linked up!
  • In order for us to tell what you’re linking to on the monthly linky, the format for the links you enter need to be as follows:
    • UPDATE POST @ your name/blog name.
    • REVIEW: [BOOK TITLE] @ your name/blog name.
    • MONTHLY TOPIC @ your name/blog name.
  • Each month we’ll choose a lucky winner from that month’s linky to win a Contemporary Romance novel of their choice (up to US$10).
  • Each link you enter in that month’s linky will count as one entry into the giveaway.
  • Challenge and Giveaways are open internationally. (As long as The Book Depository ships to your country, you are eligible for a prize.)

Monthly Topics:

  • Each monthly link-up post will include a Contemporary Romance topic for you to participate in if you’d like.
  • Monthly Topic posts can go up anytime in the specified month. Link them up as follows: MONTHLY TOPIC @ your name/blog name.
  • These posts will also earn you an entry in the monthly giveaway as long as you link back to them.

This month’s topic:

Anticipated contemporary romances for the 1st half of 2018.
Here are my 10 (3 I have already read):

1) Match Made in Manhattan – Amanda Stauffer (January 23, 2018)
2) A Kiss in the Dark – Gina Ciocca (March 6, 2018)
3) Hurts to Love You – Alisha Rai (March 27, 2018)
4) More Than We Can Tell – Brigid Kemmerer (March 6, 2018)
5) Starry Eyes – Jenn Bennett (April 3, 2018)
6) Bookish Boyfriends – Tiffany Schmidt (May 1, 2018)
7) Listen to Your Heart – Kasie West (May 29, 2018)
8) 9 Days & 9 Nights – Katie Cotugno (May 1, 2018)
9) Save the Date – Morgan Matson (June 5, 2018)
10) From Twinkle, with Love – Sandhya Menon (June 5, 2018)


If you have any questions, please email me ( . Also, make sure you follow me on Twitter (@andiabcs) for challenge updates and reminders! Don’t forget to use the hashtag #ContRom2018 to follow everyone’s challenge updates on Twitter!


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Spotlight: Busted – Gina Ciocca {giveaway}

Spotlight: Busted – Gina Ciocca {giveaway}Busted by Gina Ciocca
Published by Sourcebooks Fire
on January 2nd 2018
Amazon, Goodreads

Catching cheaters and liars is a lucrative hobby—until you fall for one of the suspects. Perfect for fans of Veronica Mars, this new novel from the author of Last Year’s Mistake will steal your heart!

Marisa never planned to be a snoop for hire. It wasn’t like she wanted to catch her best friend’s boyfriend making out with another girl. But as her reputation for sniffing out cheaters spreads all over school, Marisa finds herself the reluctant queen of busting two-timing boys.

And her next case? It’s for ex-frenemy Kendall. She’s convinced her boyfriend, TJ, has feelings for someone else and persuades Marissa to start spying on him. But the more Marisa gets to know sincere and artistic TJ, the more she starts to fall for him. Worse yet, the feelings seem to be mutual. Marisa knows she needs to give up her investigation—and the spoken-for guy who may just be the love of her life. Then she uncovers new secrets about Kendall and TJ, secrets that take “cheater” to a whole new level…

Buy Links:
Amazon | Books-A-Million | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | Chapters | iBooks | Indiebound

About Gina Ciocca

Gina Ciocca graduated from the University of Connecticut with a degree in English, but in her mind, she never left high school. She relocated from Connecticut to Georgia, where she lives with her husband and son. When she's not reading or writing, you can find her taking long walks around the lake in her neighborhood.


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Marisa’s Top 5 Tips For Sleuthing:

Hey there. Marisa Palmera, Private Eye here. Okay, so I don’t actually call myself that, and neither does anyone else. In fact, I never meant to become a sleuth-for-hire. But spend one night scaling your best-friend’s boyfriend’s house to take incriminating pictures, and suddenly everyone wants you to be something you’re not…and when they’re willing to line your sadly lacking pockets for it, it doesn’t sound like such a bad idea.

So, should you find yourself an unwitting Girl Friday (or even a witting one… Is “witting” a thing?) like I did, here are some tips that just may save your butt:

1. Always have a camera handy. Whether it’s your cell phone, or the fancy camera you borrowed from your school’s yearbook club, you never know when you’ll need to snap an evidence shot. Just, um, make sure you turn off the flash if said camera is aimed through a window into a dark living room. I may have learned this the hard way.

2. Keep your friends close, but your enemies closer. Sounds ominous and dramatic, I know. But if someone gives you the vibe that they shouldn’t be let out of your sight? GO WITH IT.

3. Think fast. Suck at lying? Me too. Get over it, because you’ll be fudging the truth a lot.

4. But know when to say no. Weave enough white lies, and suddenly they’re a sticky, tangled web with you trapped inside. Know when it’s time to run, and do it like the flames of hell are licking your feet.

5. Don’t fall for the person you’re investigating. Yeah. You’re just gonna have to do as I say and not as I do on this one. Oops.

My eyes darted from TJ’s dark, furrowed eyebrows to the logo on the left breast of his shirt and I sat up straighter.

“Um, where’d you get the Maple Acres shirt?”

His expression didn’t change. “Maple Acres.”

I fought the urge to roll my eyes. “Right. I meant, do you work there?”

“Yup.” He sat back in his chair and pulled at the logo, stretching the white cotton away from his chest before turning his attention back to the computer screen.

“Long time now.”

As soon as he said it, my memory was triggered. I’d always thought he looked familiar but could never quite place where I’d seen him. As I thought back to every trip I’d taken to Maple Acres, twice a year since I was two years old, the image of a boy with dark curls stuffed beneath a knit cap and a heavy flannel coat that made him look like Paul Bunyan clicked into place. The farm stretched over two hundred and fifty acres, selling pumpkins and cider and offering hayrides and a corn maze in a fall, then Christmas trees that you cut down yourself in the winter. The place had a storybook quality to it that I loved, and I couldn’t believe it had taken me so long to figure out TJ was a part of it.

“We go there for our tree every year. I think I’ve seen you.”

TJ kept his eyes on the screen. “Probably. I’m usually bundling the trees or in the checkout area. Sometimes I drive the tractor for the hayrides.” He glanced over long enough to shoot me a half smile. “Maybe you’ve seen the back of my head.”

That would’ve been an occasion I definitely hadn’t noticed him. The one and only time I’d taken a hayride had been the lone trip I’d made without Charlie or my dad, both of whom are allergic to hay. I’d gone with Jordan. Superman himself could’ve been driving the tractor and I would’ve been too busy drooling over Jordan in his plaid button-down with the sleeves rolled up around his gorgeous forearms to notice.

Vom, vom, vom. I pushed the chunks down and forged ahead. “So, that thing you didn’t want to do the last time we talked, is that… still an issue?”

“Uh, no. That fell through, so my article should be good to go on Monday.”

He’s not making this easy for me, that’s for sure.

“Take your time, really. I hope you didn’t cancel your plans because of me.”

He glanced over and gave me a wry smile. “No.”

“So, um, the tree farm. I go all the time.” I mentally slapped myself. Twice a year is all the time? “Do you live nearby?”

“You know the green colonial across the street behind the barn?”

“Uh huh.”

He smiled again. “That’s my house.”

“Wait, I thought the owners lived there.”

“They do. We have for my whole life.”

“Your family owns Maple Acres?” I blinked a few times, dumbfounded by my own dumbness.

“Well, co-owns. Have you seen the guy with the white hair who sneaks free gourds to all the little kids at Halloween? That’s my Uncle Roger. He’s there all the time, but my dad does more of the financial stuff.”

My face lit up. “That’s awesome! I love that place! I took a picture of the white barn from the top of the hill once and tried to sketch it. All the trees had snow on them, the sky was this amazing gray color and the pond was reflecting it” – I remembered mid-babble that I’d veered off course and reigned myself back in – “anyway, let’s just say it was magical, but drawing isn’t my strong suit. So, um, if you didn’t move, then why did you switch schools?”

TJ’s eyes slid back to the computer screen and his shoulder tensed ever so slightly, as if I’d brought up something he didn’t really want to talk about. Now I was getting somewhere.

“Our property is right at the intersection of three town lines. Technically, I could’ve gone to any one of the high schools.” He stabbed a few keys with his pointer finger, eliciting three clipped clicks. Maybe my eyes were playing tricks on me, but I swore his jaw tightened. “I left Templeton because it was time for a change of scenery.”

“It must’ve been hard, though, transferring for your senior year.” And pretty odd, in my opinion. “I’m sure you had a lot of ties there.”
TJ’s fingers paused in mid-air over the keyboard and he looked at me. “Not that many.”

This time when he turned his attention back to the screen, I knew our conversation had ended. He ran a hand through his hair in a gesture that had a definite undertone of irritation. Whether it related to my question or some memory pertaining to the school, I couldn’t tell. But when I caught sight of the leather bracelet on his wrist, my desire to exclaim OMG THAT’S GORGEOUS WHERE DID YOU GET IT almost overruled my desire to ask what the hell his comment was supposed to mean. I’d been baiting him to say, “Yeah, my girlfriend goes there.” He hadn’t. What did that mean?

Maybe nothing.

But damn it all to hell, I suddenly had to know for sure.

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