Twitter may be a hellsite most of the time, but it brought me to so many great writers I wouldn’t have found otherwise. I don’t know how else I would have found Skye Kilaen, an absolutely delightful queer self published author who should be more widely read.
Shake Things Up is the second in her Love at Knockdown series and I feel like I’ve been eagerly anticipating it forever, but probably only about a year, what is time? We meet Noelle just after she’s been laid off from her job at a start-up. She’s been working non-stop, so maybe a week to relax won’t be so bad. But when she gets home, she finds her boyfriend with his hand up another woman’s skirt. This is not going to go the way opening like this often go.
Allie thought she had texted with the jerk’s girlfriend and gotten her ok to sleep with him. As soon as she realizes Noelle has no idea what’s going on she shifts into supportive protector mode, booting the now ex-boyfriend out and helping Noelle pack. The two bond over a terrible packing tape dispenser and drinking the jerk’s expensive scotch. Allie is pansexual (attraction not dependent on gender identity or expression) and Noelle is bi. Allie’s longtime partner, Matt, has assumed he was straight, but now questions that. Allie and Matt’s relationship is open. There’s flirting at the queer owned coffee shop, a road-trip, and lots of communication.
All three of them are trying to work through their individual life challenges. Noelle needs a new job, but she also needs to think about what kind of life she wants outside of work. Allie is trying to decide if Noelle is a road-trip fling, or someone she wants to build a relationship with. Matt is trying to understand his shifting identity and grieving the loss of a friendship that might have meant more than he realized. They are such lovely characters and so concerned with each other as human beings. I knew very quickly where I wanted them to end up, and watching them get there was a really nice way to spend a few hours.
Shake Things Up is the second in a series, but can easily be read as a standalone. I love the way Skye Kilaen writes. She is very gentle with her characters, even when they are going through it. And she is kind and respectful of her readers. She does a great job of providing content warnings, and if you are interested in looking at any of her other books (contemporary romance, sci-fi, and post-apocalypse), her website is a treasure trove of information and excerpts.
Shake Things Up is out March 22. I received this as an advance reader copy from the author. My opinions are my own and voluntarily given.