Our Favorite Songs by Anitha Kelly Moonlighters #2 LGBT Contemporary Romance September 1, 2021 - Self Published ARC Reviewed by Melinda
This is the second book in the Moonlighters series, both of which are centered around karaoke, which honestly cracks me up because that’s not something I associate with good times. But these books make me want to go to a karaoke bar immediately. This one has a different tone than the first one, Sing Anyway, and is more angsty, which was nice to see because I enjoy the differences within one series and we get to see the author working with different character types and tropes.
Aiden and Kai know each other from high school but are definitely not on the best of terms and do not expect to see each other at karaoke. The two wind up there without anyone to be a buffer and then there’s the most well-developed conversation and wooing through karaoke songs I’ve ever seen. Although I don’t know that I’ve seen much of that before…but this is really interesting to watch. There’s a level of nuance between them and the songs the author is doing that I loved to see. And by the time they leave the bar together, they’re on much better terms.
Aiden is a gay grad student who is trying to figure out his life, and Kai is a bi metalworker who is working through his grief after his father passed away. So they both have this sadness – for very different reasons – about them that lingers throughout. There’s a careful discussion of Kai’s bisexuality that I loved that did not seem to go into any of the bi-phobic areas at all.
The two get snowed in together and have this completely magical night that was really beautiful and then have to deal with the aftermath of that. There’s this careful balance throughout this book of them remembering how they were before, and trying to figure out who they are now. The book is relatively short but manages to feel very deep. I absolutely loved that this book managed to capture the beauty of a first date (kind of with these two) but also the weird aftermath when things aren’t so hazy and lovely. The first book did the same thing, and that makes me think the author has something special.
Anita Kelly has now written two of my favorite novellas of 2021 and they’re the first two books she’s published. I’m impressed at how satisfying this was and how it felt complete as a story, which I feel like novellas are notoriously hard to do.
Content Notes: grief, parental death from cancer off-page,