Review: Kiss and Cry by Mina V. Esguerra


Title: Kiss and Cry (Six 32 Central Book 2)
Author: Mina V. Esguerra
Genre/Themes: Second chance romance, sports, Philippines 
Release date: 1 March 2019

Author’s links: Website / Goodreads / Twitter / Facebook

My rating: 4 Stars


Calinda met Ramirez when she was 20 and he was 22. She was the rising star of women's skating, and he was the superstar forward of men's hockey. Her parents and coach were against their relationship, and because Calinda wanted to prove that no hot guy would ever distract her from her dream, she chose skating over him — and also avoided him all together. 

Ten years later, they meet again as gold medalists and prominent sports advocates, still single and undeniably attracted to each other. It's still not a good time for them, because Ramirez is retiring from hockey and moving back to the United States. Calinda doesn't do relationships, really, and proposes they use his final three weeks in Manila to explore what might have been, and do all the things they wish they'd done (there's a list!). Then he can leave for good, and they can both move on with their lives without this one regret.


This is a nice, easy going, low conflict romance with some angst and lots of realistic talk about sports behind its glamourous facade. I loved that we a different aspect of professional sports, one where it’s like a day job – some fame and popularity on local level, but none of the huge wealth and celebrity. status. Both MCs love their sport despite it not being the most popular in their country and they are trying to a living out of it.

The story also gives us a lot of thoughts on leaving and staying, on living in two countries and not feeling truly at home in either. The story is very atmospheric, set in Manila, we see s much of life there - the food, the local customs and everything. At the same time we get enough glimpse of Ram’s life in the US to see how the immigrant experience shapes who he is.

It's a second chance love story where the MCs are in their 30s and get together in some sort of belated fight for independence, some sort of revenge, of taking back control over her life that was taken from them 10 years ago. In reality though, this is just the continuation of their love story that started all those years and they never stopped wanting to be together. 

It's deeply romantic but both acting very practical on the surface. I loved how neither of them wanted to force the other person to shape their whole life around you. I appreciate the open discussions of consent and the respect the MCs showed each other.

I felt the story lost some momentum around the middle but in the end it all worked well. I absolutely loved how simple and ordinary his grand gesture was, how fitting to both of them. Their love was not an easy solution of a difficult life situation. The practical difficulties of being together were not glossed over but rather discussed between the MCs and a solution was found that worked for both of them.

Light-hearted, yet with some unexpected depth, this is a lovely sports romance and I highly recommend it to everyone. 

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