Disclosure: I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book which I received from the author. All views expressed are only my honest opinion.
Published on: 09 March 2021
Published by: Rosewind Books
Type: HEA, standalone, series
Genre: Adult, Contemporary Romance, Multicultural Romance, Clean Romance
Author(s): Anna Gomez, Kristoffer Polaha
Read: 16 February 2021
Shelved: 18 February 2021
Rating: 5 / 5 stars ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
After Andrea “Andie” Matthews chooses her career over a marriage proposal and then loses a promotion she worked so hard for, she jumps at the chance to take a break and help run a friend’s coffee shop.
Alone in Hawaii, Andie befriends the staff and quickly grows to care for them, making her determined to revive the company.
As luck would have it, she meets the mysterious Warren Yates on Christmas Eve. They share a cup of coffee, some conversation, and even a moment, which leads to many more in the coming weeks.
But when Andie learns who Warren really is—and what he actually wants—she is torn between her feelings and his deception.
Will Warren be able to win her heart back?
Book One in the From Kona with Love series depicting multicultural romance, love, loss, and redemption woven into a family saga set in the beautiful islands of Hawaii. Though connected, each installment can be read as a standalone.
Andrea “Andie” Matthews is the daughter of mixed culture parents (her mother is Filipino!). She is driven, ambitious and works at a successful Chicago marketing firm. She was on the fast track to a big promotion until she wasn’t. With a big blow in her life (and health), she impulsively packed her things and flew to Hawaii to help with her friend’s business. She unexpectedly meets Warren Yates, a mysterious man who evades from say his connection to the shop and instead wants to explore the island and her for whatever time she has.
Moments Like This appealed immediately upon reading the blurb. I didn’t realize later that one of the authors is a fellow Filipina, so the more the story was piqued my interest! There were many elements that I felt an affinity with the female protagonist and even the author. This story talks about cultures, beliefs, and expectations of second-generation migrants living overseas, trying their best to fit-in and assimilate to maybe the only home they know (due to birthright) as best as possible.
Just because you’ve made a fool of yourself today, doesn’t mean you’re a fool everyday.–Moments Like This (From Kona With Love), Anna Gomez and Kristoffer Polaha
The book’s POV is mostly from Andie’s, with a little of Warren’s nearing the end. Some readers might think this technique will erode the story’s beauty. I have to contradict this thought because it made a lot of sense and gave a bit of mystery on Warren’s side until things got “settled.” Given this technique, the story enables readers to focus on Andie taking a step back from her Chicago life and reassess things in Hawaii while experiencing the island’s magic and beauty, then after Warren’s thoughts. I have read a few more recent books with this “more current writing” style, so some readers might need to adjust and be patient to give the characters the chance to develop.
NOTE: The authors want readers to focus on the beauty of Hawaii (especially Oahu) and the Aloha Spirit, which helps Andie “find herself” as she tries to make new connections in a lang of second chances and hope. Engrossed with Andie’s story, something unprecedented was happening. The book grabs readers immediately to connect with everything – the people at the plantation, the magic island, the sea, etc.
This book’s uniqueness is how it places the story and “connections” in the forefront than the characters. The characters become tangible tools to showcase the intangible – power of love and connections. Yes, there is the connection to Andie and Warren, BUT I was looking for the “A-Ha Epiphany” moments, where Andie discovers her power within to reach her goal – her happiness.
The authors beautifully wrote the Hawaiian and Filipino cultures and traditions, wherein both cultures respect and honor family, love, and food. There was a wonderful merging of Hawaiin and Filipino beliefs and customs, which are evident in the family gatherings Andie missed out on in Chicago due to work.
The saying is very true:- anytime another Filipino overseas or otherwise meets another “kababayan” or country-man/woman, perspectives change, eyes glimmer, and an uncontrollable smile comes out. We all act like we found our long-lost friends/relatives. We start seeing each other as a brother/sister (Kuya or Ate) or an aunt/uncle (Tito/Tita), then a truckload of questions will start tumbling out.
This disposition change may surprise an outsider seeing the scene unfold, but this is common, even expected. Questions like spewing out various locations in the Philippines, asking where you are from back home or if you know so-and-so due to common last name – are the norm – like when Maele and Lani pry “details” into Andie’s personal life like they were sisters within a few days. It was hilarious since Andie didn’t know whether to be insulted or laugh about how they asked her about Warren!
A thing to note is how hospitable the plantation people were. They took to Andie “in” not because she is a family friend but also because they felt a “connection” with her and their plight.
I can relate to Andie’s work burn-out plight so well. I am sure other readers relate to this. What Andie did was correct – to step back and reassess. She had to do what all of us had to do at one point – learn to reprioritize things. She loses it all in one swoop but later discovers a whole world of options – a 180-degree change in Hawaii. At Oahu, Andie finds an entirely New Andie within her. The location and people brought her to be braver than she would have been at her workplace. The story builds on this and shows her “the other side,” a possibly great life – from seashells, surfs, and hidden waterfalls. Being temporary will make anyone brave and take risks for the moment, but what if there was an excellent chance to make it permanent, rooted in connections, family, and purpose? Will Andie take the plunge? Will she choose relationships over a career that she fought for so long?
We stood quietly, alone. But alone together.–Moments Like This (From Kona With Love), Anna Gomez and Kristoffer Polaha
I love Warren’s spontaneity in pulling Andie into his orbit, even if it’s just for as long as she was there. He knew that she is there temporarily, and he was willing to invest his time and heart for them to explore the island and each other. From the start, I can see his wooing style – determined but respectful. He took what he knows he can get away with but respected Andie by being outspoken with his thoughts. He may keep some things from Andie, but he also knew she was cautious with exposing herself to a stranger.
Warren seems to have designed their “tours” to showcase the best of Hawaii and, at the same time, show Andie what he and the island life can offer. I felt this was his way to silently plea for her to stay with him.
Andie had taught me there was a sweetness in not giving yourself everything you want right when you want it. The more I ached for her, the more I valued her. This, while common practice for some, was totally foreign to me. I had never had this much patience or self-control before, but she made me want to be a better man.–Moments Like This (From Kona With Love), Anna Gomez and Kristoffer Polaha
Andie and Warren’s chemistry is a slow-build and a more wholesome approach, but it works due to Andie’s roots and background. It is more the norm of being “wooed” in the Filipino, more traditional aspects than being whisk away by an alpha-dominant man. This decision works well for the unsureness and uncertainty for both characters.
I love the supporting characters – they are a lot!
They provide excellent support as a “community” and prove the saying “it takes a village to raise a child.” These supporting characters (Duke, the Flores gals, Lucas, Jade, etc.) provided emotional and psychological support that readers can feel throughout the book’s pages. Their words of wisdom are GOLD! I saved a few to my “quotes bank” as mantras. I shared a few here, but reading it at the right moment in time for Warren or Andie is critical.
The deception/secret was epic. It wasn’t so surprising on my end since I had a clue, but it was perfect, nonetheless. It still ends up with HEA, but where will things stand at the end? I will leave this to the readers. It is a tricky one, especially when Warren and Andie decided to keep some of their information private so how things unraveled, in the end, was a welcome relief for all of us. Just a hint – it doesn’t “sort out” as quickly as their first meet, but it is a realistic one.
I would have wanted an epilogue since the ending was abrupt, but maybe both main characters will be back for the upcoming books in the series. Did Warren push through with the “M” word? What happens to Andie’s Chicago job?
In summary, I highly recommend Moments Like This to readers who want something different, unique, and refreshing. Something that would grab readers and take them to a new world – where hope and second chances only take a single step forward. Hawaii’s sights and sounds, its various hidden gems visited by Warren and Andie were a welcome treat, especially to readers like myself going through travel bans/lockdowns. I liked how the authors stressed the importance of family, customs, and self-empowerment. Goals can change, but it is up to everyone to adjust and find their “centers” to move forward to find their happiness. I am excited for the next book in this promising series!
This is what makes a life. The ones who love you, the ones you love. If you focus on what’s important, you’ll see that everything else around you is fluff.–Moments Like This (From Kona With Love), Anna Gomez and Kristoffer Polaha
About the Authors
Anna Gomez was born and raised in the city of Makati, Philippines before she met and married her best friend who whisked her away to Chicago over twenty years ago.
She is Chief Financial Officer for Leo Burnett Worldwide, a global advertising company founded in 1935. In her capacity, Anna serves on the board of several not-for-profit organizations, namely the Hugh O’Brien Leadership Organization and Girl Scouts of America. She is also the executive sponsor for a number of employee resource groups focused on Diversity and Inclusion.
After experiencing a great loss in her life, Anna Gomez, who writes as Christine Brae, decided that it was time to channel her feelings on paper and see where it would take her. Anna thought she could write a book about her life (The Light in the Wound, Christine Brae 2013) and then run away as far as possible from it. She never imagined that her words would touch the hearts of many women with the same stories to tell. Since then, Anna has released five more books under her pen name, Christine Brae.
In December 2019, her agent convinced her to write one more book. Different model, different subject matter. Clean, contemporary, happy endings. Reluctantly, she decided to give it a try. This time, under her real name, Anna Gomez.
With an established fan base and a dedicated following, Anna Gomez has published six novels, three of which have won Literary Awards: The Light in the Wound series, Insipid, In this Life, Eight Goodbyes and the Year I Left . Her books have debuted in the top 1,000 at Amazon and continued to rank in the Top 100 in the months following their release.
When not listening to the voices in her head or spending late nights at the office, Anna can be seen shopping for shoes and purses, running a half marathon or spending time with her husband and three children in Chicago.
Kristoffer Polaha is best-known for his long starring role in the critically acclaimed series Life Unexpected (The CW). Other TV series credits include Get Shorty with Ray Romano and Chris O’Dowd, the limited series Condor opposite William Hurt and Max Irons, The CW’s Ringer (Sarah Michelle Gellar) and Valentine, as well as North Shore (FOX).
In addition to co-starring with Rainn Wilson in Backstrom (FOX), he had a multi-season role on the acclaimed series Mad Men (AMC) and Castle (ABC). Polaha is also well-known for starring in Hallmark Channel movies such as Dater’s Handbook with Meghan Markle, and the Mystery 101 franchise on Hallmark Movies & Mysteries.
Polaha first received attention for his portrayal of John F. Kennedy, Jr. in the TV movie, America’s Prince: The John F. Kennedy Jr. Story, opposite Portia de Rossi. He has appeared in numerous independent features, including Where Hope Grows, Devil’s Knot (Colin Firth, Reese Witherspoon), and the Tim Tebow film, Run the Race.
Polaha has a featured role opposite Gal Gadot in Wonder Woman 1984 and the forthcoming Jurassic World: Dominion.
Polaha was born in Reno, Nevada, and he is married to actress Julianne Morris. They have three sons.
** GIVEAWAY ALERT **
In celebration of the release of Moments Like This, a giveaway is being run! Up for grabs is a $20 winner’s choice gift card!
This Blitz-wide giveaway is open internationally and ends March 18th.
Head-on to Rafflecopter here.