Wednesday, April 16, 2014

TBR Challenge 2014: How To Misbehave
The Book: How To Misbehave by Ruthie Knox

The Particulars: Contemporary romance novella, 2013, Loveswept, Digital-only, Camelot series #1

What Was It In Wendy's TBR?:  I picked this up last year at the RWA Conference in Atlanta.  Mostly because I've never read Knox and everybody seems to lurve her books.

The Review: 
"Quit 'honeying' me.  I'm not your honey.  I'm a person, Tony, and I want to have sex with you.  Don't go thinking you're some kind of god just because you know I like you."
And that would be why I ended up liking this novella.  Certainly I had my quibbles (this is me we're talking about) but this was such an enjoyable story I want to drop everything and read ALL the Ruthie Knox I can get my hands on.  Which, I can't right now, but I'm still tempted.

Amber Clark has led a fairly sheltered life.  She grew up in a conservative, religious household in tiny Camelot, Ohio, attended a Christian college, and then came home to work as the director for the local community center.  That's how she comes into contact with Tony Mazzara, a building contractor who is doing some remodeling work at the center.  Tony, typically, leaves late which means Amber gets stuck waiting around for him to finish so she can lock up.  Which is how she finds herself at the center when the town's tornado sirens go off.  Now she and Tony are stuck in a dark basement together.  Gee, however will they pass the time?

Knox has essentially written a small-town contemporary that didn't set my teeth on edge, which I'm beginning to believe is no small feat.  I loved that Amber grew up in a religious household, and while having lost a hold of her faith, she's a good person who is somewhat innocent without being naive or brain-dead.  She's a girl who desperately wants a life, but has made a few missteps along the way.  Tony is the kind of guy who would inspire a saint to have naughty thoughts, and I loved how she flirted and bantered with him without coming off like some insipid ingenue I want to smack half to death.

Tony is all Alpha Male With A Tragic Past.  What I liked about him is that the author gives him some minor, realistic flaws.  I mean, just the goofy stuff that bothers us "normal" folks.  Things like, he doesn't like spiders and pitch-black-darkness tends to freak him out.  Certainly Amber's brand of sexy sweetness flips his switch (typical), and he does have an annoying tendency towards pet names ("bunny" and "honey" being the two favorites) - but he's Grade A Solid Blue Collar Hero, and really what's not to love about that?

There's plenty of angst to propel the emotional payoff forward, and while it would seem like these two characters have nothing in common, I'm left with the feeling that they're a good fit.  I did think there was a fair amount of Insta-Love going on here, but it's a minor quibble when I got sucked into the writing, enjoyed the characters so much, and got a bunch of delicious angst.

And now, once again, I'm off to get my hands on the rest of the series.  Another counterproductive TBR Challenge read.  Read one book, buy three more.  Which is a happy problem to have - although someone please tell me Knox gives me more brother Patrick Mazzara down the line.  Because....dayum.

Final Grade = B+


Jan @ Notes from a Readerholic said...

This sounds good, Wendy. I haven't read anything by Ruthie Knox, but have also noticed all the people who like her books. I may even have a book or two of hers somewhere in my TBR books...LOL.

web said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Hilcia said...

Oh, that fantastic! I'm so glad you loved this one by Ruthie Knox. I have it and others from her series in my TBR already! I picked up all her books after reading three of her books (in a row) and loving them. I need to make time this summer (that's when I crave contemps) to read them.

Phyl said...

I hope you'll be sure to read Making It Last, the sequel that looks at Tony & Amber 10 years later. I thought it was fabulous and very real.

Wendy said...

Jan: I'll admit it - I was short on time this month so immediately went looking for a novella in the TBR. This one was handy and fit the bill nicely.

Hils: If I wasn't so backlogged I would have immediately downloaded the other books and kept on reading. Not every series leaves me with that feeling!

Phyl: I saw that! I have every intention of revisiting Tony and Amber :)

Nikki said...

She's one of my auto-buy authors now. Just good writing about interesting people.