2014 – a summary of my reading, contemporary and quirky romance edition

Ok, I know I was supposed to post this earlier in the week, but then my kids got the flu. You know how it goes. Read on for my favorite reads in contemporary romance and the nonexistent subgenre “romance novels that are quirky, perhaps a little nerdy, and also don’t have a lot of sex.” Stay tuned in a couple of days for my final roundup post on erotic romance, erotica, and the two non-romance, non-erotica books I read (and liked) in 2014.

Contemporary romance:

Between the Sheets by Molly O’Keefe
The Chocolate Touch / The Chocolate Temptation by Laura Florand
Laugh by Mary Ann Rivers
Still Life with Strings by L.H. Cosway
Private Politics by Emma Barry
Truly by Ruthie Knox

Look at the list above. These ladies are my auto-buy list for contemporary romance (and, in Molly O’Keefe’s case, for historical as well). Between the Sheets is my favorite of all of O’Keefe’s contemporary romances (that I’ve read: I’ve been saving some of the backlist to savor later on) because its characters just sang to me, especially Shelby. She’s one of those difficult heroines I treasure — her choices may not be the ones “nice” women make, but they’re the ones that make sense for her, even when they’re unhealthy. Ty and Shelby’s story is not lighthearted, but O’Keefe gave me (because, yes, this book is all for me. Back it up, bitches.) a story that was believably gritty and intense without being depressing (despite its forays into elder care, school bullies, incarcerated parents, and the ramifications of abuse).

On a somewhat more lighthearted note, Florand’s The Chocolate Touch and The Chocolate Temptation (along with the other six Florand books I read last year) provided 100% of my hot, French, chocolatier hero needs. Kim and I went gaga for Touch and probably each read it three or four times in a few months (and we’ll probably read it at least once more, soon, because we still need to write our dueling discussion on it.), and Tasha and I discussed Temptation together. If you read the last roundup post, you’ve probably figured out that I’m a sucker for heroines, but it’s Florand’s heroes who always shine. Don’t get me wrong, her heroines are great, but Florand seems keenly aware that there is great power in a hot guy who smells strongly of chocolate, and she capitalizes on that power.

Kim and I reviewed Laugh, so I won’t add too much to my obscene word count here. I loved it for all of its details — the farming and Nina’s shorts, for instance — and for its portrayal of relationships in all their messy glory. Rivers’ characters, Sam grappling with his ADHD and Nina with her grief and fear for her friend, don’t have an easy time of it on their road to love, but sometimes the best things are hard-fought. Tasha said Still Life with Strings was good, so I read it and sent shouty texts to Kim that went like this: “KIM. KIM. KIM. KIM. Did you see Tasha’s post about Still Life with Strings? Have you read it yet? DOOOO IITTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTT.” And she did. Lucky me, she loved it, too. (Would have been awkward, otherwise.) Ahem. This book is a tad unconventional (in all the best ways) matching a Stradivarius-wielding, slightly depressive, violinist hero and a bartending, street performing, avant-garde art enthusiast heroine. Mostly, I loved how fun it is and how it doesn’t shy away from class differences & the assumptions of the economically secure.

Private Politics is the second in Barry’s The Easy Part series (which is part The West Wing and part Mr. Smith Goes to Washington — especially the first book in the series — and all romance gold). Private Politics concerns the masks we wear and the stereotypes that can define our lives and limit our chances, if we let them. So blond, perfect, socialite Alyse, used to using her looks and image to get things done (and to being undervalued), learns how to take herself seriously and to demand the same of others. Liam, a somewhat soft, nice Jewish boy, infatuated with Alyse, transitions from lovesick doormat to equal partner (demanding respect along the way). My favorite part was Liam’s mom, but that’s neither here nor there.

Finally, there’s Truly. Now, I’ll be honest. Technically, I read this book for the first time in 2013. (It was serialized on Wattpad), but I read it as a complete book when it was released in 2014, so… I’m counting it anyway. While I’m being honest, I’ve got to tell you that Truly has two of the most potent pieces of Kelly’s reading catnip imaginable: a tall heroine matched with a grumpy hero. For reals, I love those two things so much that my bias is out of this world. But wait, there’s more: Meg starts as an extreme case of mid-western politeness and learns how to be more difficult (and more true to herself) in the wilderness of New York City (and on the road back to Wisconsin); Ben, a grumpy, beekeeping, former chef, alone and adrift, makes what peace he can with his past and does some extraordinary groveling to make up for all the times he was a douchepony. Of course I loved it.

Books I keep trying to get people who don’t like romance to read (a.k.a. quirky romance):

Attachments by Rainbow Rowell
The Girl with the Cat Tattoo / The Geek with the Cat Tattoo by Teresa Weir
Neanderthal Seeks Human by Penny Reid

So, here’s the thing. I’m a romance novel enthusiast: I read romance almost exclusively, and I think that most people, if they could get past the mental image of Fabio (oh that we could all get past that image) and the idea that romance fiction — in its entirety — is guilty pleasure reading (Don’t get me wrong… there are things I read that I feel deeply conflicted about enjoying. That just proves to me that I’m doing it right.), could find themselves actually liking a romance novel or two. Romance is frequently not the problem. After all, it’s what makes pretty much any story ever interesting and relevant to humans. Buuuuuuuut…. highly descriptive sex scenes? Now, those are definitely not everybody’s cup of tea.

For those of you bravely reading this blog, certain that you’ll never, ever want to read any of the books I’m talking about because velvet-covered steel and dewy petals (and every synonym for “thrust”), this section is for you.

Attachments is a largely epistolary novel that weaves a story around emails exchanged between Jennifer and Beth, two employees at a newspaper, and narrative about Lincoln, the guy who’s been hired to monitor workplace email and ensure compliance with the company’s email policy. It’s funny and strange and ever so slightly creepy (but the creepiness didn’t bother me so much because Lincoln felt so conflicted about it). I loved it because (1) it was set around Y2K, (2) Beth and Jennifer’s emails are such an accurate depiction of friendship, and (3) it managed to have a totally believable romance even though the characters don’t actually meet until the very end.

The Girl with the Cat Tattoo is a romance and (kind of) murder mystery mostly narrated by the coolest cat ever. I’m a thwarted cat lady (my husband is allergic, so no kitties for me; otherwise, I’d happily end up with a houseful of cats and litter boxes), so the cat narrator appealed to me. The instant I finished it, I purchased The Geek with the Cat Tattoo, which I liked even better (no murder mystery to distract the story from the characters; Geek has a painfully shy human matched with a cat who controls minds and helps bring the reluctant hero and heroine together.).

Neanderthal Seeks Human self-describes as a “smart romance.” It begins in a toilet stall and follows the exploits of its narrator, Janie, an awkward architect/accountant/mathemagician who is two steps shy of autism spectrum. Janie’s POV is incredibly fun to experience, even when she misses all the obvious clues. Three reasons I love Janie: Panty Dance Parties, the way she uses the knitting group as a focus group to determine appropriate emotional responses, and her use of the moniker Sir Handsome McHotpants to refer to Quinn, the hero.  Honestly, I loved all the Knitting Series books, especially Love Hacked, but Neanderthal Seeks Human has a closed bedroom door, so I’m recommending it here. The later books in the series have significantly more sexy times (because their narrators aren’t Janie).

I hope you enjoyed this installment of my 2014 roundup. If you didn’t…

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My best and worst reads in 2013

I read a lot of books this year (172 as of my writing this), and I thought it might be fun to identify the outliers at both ends of the spectrum.

The Best:

1.  The Story Guy by Mary Ann Rivers – There is so much life in this novella, complete with joy and pain, disappointment and transcendence. It is, without doubt, the best book I read all year. (*)

2.  Big Boy by Ruthie Knox – Hands down my favorite Ruthie Knox book (which is really saying something, guys), Big Boy is remarkably atypical for the genre.  It features characters whose sole, necessary, act of selfishness in lives governed by sacrifice is the small amount of time they take from each other.  And when they shift to giving instead of taking? It’s magic. (<3)

3.  Snow-Kissed by Laura Florand – Infertility, grief, and a broken marriage, these are the subjects of this beautifully moving novella that explores the jagged edges of two people, long in love, who were blown apart by grief but who find a way back.   (<3)

4.  A Lady Awakened by Cecilia Grant – I don’t know that I have ever been more surprised by a romance novel than I was by Cecilia Grant’s debut.  Thematically, the novel discusses trust, intimacy, and the slow development of love with humor so sly it’s easy to miss.  But it’s most remarkable (I think) for its complete lack of instalust and magical chemistry.  If you haven’t read this book, you really should. (<3)

5.  About Last Night by Ruthie Knox – I read this book in one sitting and, when I was done, I started it again immediately, because I just wasn’t ready to let it go. Through this book, Knox taught me how to be a better reader (and, by extension, a better woman, perhaps), to sit and savor the moments of truth that can be found in a book, to rediscover and embrace the reason I read.  (<3)

6 and 7.  The Heiress Effect and The Countess Conspiracy by Courtney Milan – My favorite thing about Courtney MIlan’s writing is that when you start reading her books, her characters always seem so damn mysterious, and that mystery never seems like a clever device to snag reader interest.  It’s just that her characters are so full, possess such depth, that it takes a few hundred pages to get to know them.  And then you do, and your heart just breaks, because their issues are real.  You’ve met women like Jane, and you know your history — and your current affairs — so you know her plight (and her sister’s) is not unusual.  You know that all the pieces of Violet’s character really existed, lived out by real women throughout the ages.  And it hurts so much to know it, so deeply, so viscerally, a punch.  But you also know men like Oliver and Sebastian.  And even though it hurts so much to read and experience all that reality, at the end you are gifted a triumph, and it gives you the strength to keep putting your back into it, to keep living your life. (<3)

8.  The Mistress by Tiffany Reisz – By the time I reached the end of The Mistress, I was crying a little, laughing a lot, pumping my fist in the air, feeling intellectually alive and overwhelmed by joy.  And I felt rather like I did after I read Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows for the first time, like this story that had always existed behind a veil had been revealed, and I’d had the good fortune to witness that unveiling.   (*)

9.  Too Hot to Handle by Victoria Dahl – This book is funny, but it isn’t lighthearted.  It’s like that moment when the seas of life have buffeted you about so much that you end up getting a mouthful of sea water, and you try to spit it out with some dignity, but it just comes out as warm, extra salty drool, and suddenly it’s fucking hilarious that — on top of everything else — you’ve just drooled, so instead of worrying about drowning, you just laugh.  Anyway, it’s kind of a coming of age story for people who waited until their thirties to figure themselves out, but it doesn’t have any of that angst because it just doesn’t have time for bullshit. (*)

10.  To Win Her Heart by Karen Witemeyer – This one made the list because it is probably the most romantic story I read all year.  I mean, come on: Eden and Levi fall in love writing letters to each other about Jules Verne’s Journey to the Center of the Earth.  It was a foregone conclusion that I would love this story, that it would stick with me all year. (<3)

 The Worst

Well, there are the obvious contenders for worst books read all year.  there’s even an obvious winner.  But there were also a slew of books that just disappointed me (or made me disappointed in myself).  Chief among these is:

Most disappointing book of 2013: And Then She Fell by Stephanie Laurens (<3 :~(…).  I cannot believe that I bought this, my 31st Laurens book.  I am deeply disappointed in myself.  On the other hand, it seems to have finally helped me break the cycle of addiction.  The Taming of Ryder Cavanaugh, the next book in the series, has been out for six months, and I’ve had absolutely no desire to purchase it.

So there you have it.  Many of these books were published in 2013 but not all of them.  Some of these books were received as e-ARCs from publishers (marked with *) and some were purchased by me (marked with <3).

What are the best and worst books you read this year?

 

Review – Making It Last by Ruthie Knox

Marriage is the end game of most romances, but is it romantic?  Ruthie Knox sure thinks so, and, after reading Making It Last, I’m inclined to think so, too.

Cover image, Making It Last by Ruthie Knox

The publisher’s blurb, courtesy of Goodreads:

A hotel bar. A sexy stranger. A night of passion. There’s a part of Amber Mazzara that wants those things, wants to have a moment — just one — where life isn’t a complicated tangle of house and husband and kids and careers. Then, after a long, exhausting “vacation” with her family, her husband surprises her with a gift: a few days on the beach . . . alone.

Only she won’t be alone long, because a handsome man just bought her a drink. He’s cool, he’s confident, and he wants to take Amber to bed and keep her there for days. Lucky for them both, he’s her husband. He’s only got a few days in Jamaica to make her wildest desires come true, but if he can pull it off, there’s reason to believe that this fantasy can last a lifetime.

This novella packs a hell of an emotional punch.  Set fourteen years after, How to Misbehave, the novella that brought these characters together, Making It Last tells the story of Amber and Tony struggling to find their focus after life and kids and the economy have chipped at them, incrementally separating them from their dreams.  Ruthie Knox tells this story of a marriage, of two individuals, in quiet crisis, with realism, compassion, and hope.  I’m not much of a crier, but I found this story gloriously cathartic as well as supportive.

The thing is, women need these stories.  I could see pieces of every woman I know (including me) in Amber.  She’s got that urge that so many of us have to give and give and give, until there’s nothing left.  That’s a common phrase, but how often do we think about what it really looks like to have nothing left, to be so lost in the giving that you don’t even know who you are anymore or why anyone would want you to give them anything?  How do you come back from that?  Where do love and romance fit in when your life is so full of all the things, all those demands, that you can barely summon the energy to scrape by?

Making It Last provides an answer to those questions, and it does so in a truly beautiful way.  I think you should read it.  It’ll probably make you cry but in a good way.  It will also make you laugh, and, when it’s done, and you’ve turned the last page, it’ll leave behind some hope.  And we all need more of that, amiright?

Making It Last was released as an e-book by Loveswept, a division of Random House on July 15, 2013.  To learn more about the book, click on the cover image above to visit the book’s page on Goodreads.  For more information about Ruthie Knox, check out her website.

*FTC Disclosure – I received an e-galley of this book from Loveswept via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.*

Review – Flirting with Disaster by Ruthie Knox

Anyone who’s been reading my blog or following my Twitter feed knows that I’m kind of a fan of Ruthie Knox’s writing. (You know, like LeBron James is kind of a basketball player or my friend Jason is kind of in love with cheese.)  So you know that I’ve been looking forward to her next book for kind of a while, and I was kind of thrilled when I got an email telling me it was available.  Also, I kind of loved it.

Cover image, Flirting with Disaster by Ruthie Knox

The publisher’s blurb, courtesy of Goodreads:

In the latest eBook original novel in Ruthie Knox’s scorching-hot Camelot series, a no-strings fling looks an awful lot like falling in love—or flirting with disaster.

Fresh out of a fiasco of a marriage, Katie Clark has retreated to her hometown to start over. The new Katie is sophisticated, cavalier, and hell-bent on kicking butt at her job in her brother’s security firm. But on her first assignment—digging up the truth about the stalker threatening a world-famous singer-songwriter—Katie must endure the silent treatment from a stern but sexy partner who doesn’t want her help . . . or her company.

Sean Owens knows that if he opens his mouth around Katie, she’ll instantly remember him as the geeky kid who sat behind her in high school. Silence is golden, but he can’t keep quiet forever, not with Katie stampeding through their investigation. It’s time for Sean to step up and take control of the case, and his decade-old crush. If he can break through Katie’s newfound independence, they just might find they make a perfect team—on the road, on the job, and in bed.

It’s actually ridiculous how much time I’ve spent staring at the blank space in this review wondering where to start.  Then again, I was always the sort to write the introductions to my college papers at the end.  Maybe that’s an example of poor organizational skills, or maybe it’s a sign of scientific inquiry: I didn’t know what I was going to prove until I’d proved it.  Anyway.

I’ll start with the conclusion: I loved this book.  I loved Sean, and I loved Katie even more.  I loved the love story, and I loved all the background stuff that gave it breadth and depth.

The central focus of Flirting with Disaster is the love story between Sean and Katie, of course, and it’s a good one.  But flirting around the edges of that story and around those characters is a deeper, even more human story about identity.  It’s the kind of story that most people experience at some point in life, and it usually happens in your early twenties.  But sometimes it doesn’t, or you get it wrong.  Sometimes who you thought you were isn’t who you really are.  That arresting discovery that you’ve been existing for a long time but not really living can hit any time, and when it does, it’s terrifying but also liberating.

I think you should read this book, so I’m not going to tell you much about it, but it has:

  1. Some of the most fantastic awkward foreplay that has ever been written, including the least sexy kiss in the history of ever.  I know that sounds like it’s a bad thing, but it’s not — it’s wonderful.  
  2. A stuttering hero whose stutter doesn’t get better by the end of the book — as though normalcy were part of the happily ever after — and is always treated as being just a part of who he is.
  3. Excellently wrought tension between the characters.
  4. Star Wars posters. Framed Star Wars posters.
  5. A non-combative relationship. Have you ever noticed that in our culture, there’s a tendency to see relationships as being about competition?  I mean, when you think about it, that’s sort of what compromise is all about.  Two people are inevitably going to want slightly different things, and successful relationships, we’re told, are the ones where the parties successfully reach some sort of compromise.  Sometimes one person ends up doing all the compromising, sometimes it’s equal, but it’s always about competing for who’s going to compromise this time.  What I liked best about Flirting with Disaster is that Sean and Katie had a non-combative relationship that wasn’t about winning and losing.  Was Katie going to get to become her true self, or would she have to suppress that part of herself in order to be with Sean?  Would Sean have to give up his other, more successful, life in order to share a life with Katie?  Knox brings up both questions and then dismisses them in favor of a third: what if love isn’t about two individuals getting exactly — or as close as they can — what they individually want from each other (requiring a bit of competition and compromise in order to effect)?  What if love is about two people working together to make a better life for both?  What if love can be cooperative instead of competitive?  What would that look like?

I highly recommend this book, straight up, no qualifiers (although, it’ll probably help if you’re keen on romance to start with…).

Flirting with Disaster was released on June 10, 2013 by LoveSwept, a division of Random House Digital.  To learn more about the book, please click on the cover image above.  If you’re interested in learning more about Ruthie Knox (and you totally should be), please check out her website.

*FTC Disclosure – I received an e-galley of this book from LoveSwept via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.*

Blogging and genre – Armchair BEA Day 2

Well, it’s day 2 of Armchair BEA, and today, there are two topics: Blogger Development & Genre Fiction.

I’m certain I’m imposing my own insecurities on the question, but I have to be honest and admit that the very notion of assessing my development as a blogger makes me feel a bit inadequate.  The truth is that I consider this blog to be a hobby, a thing I do because I enjoy it, not because of any external pressure to perform.  Even if no one read this blog, I would still write it.  With that starting position, I feel very little compulsion to promote my blog, and if I drop off the map for three weeks because I’m unbelievably busy, I don’t feel at all bad about it.  That’s not to say that I don’t take this blog seriously — quite the opposite — but I don’t measure success in terms of popularity or marketability.  I have a job, and this blog isn’t it.

That said, I have developed quite a lot over the past year.  For one thing, I’m a better reader than I was.  For another, I’m a better writer.  Best of all, this past year of blogging has helped me to chip away at my habitual reserve, to make some friends (never easy for me to do), to say some true things and put them out there for all the world to see (should the world go out of its way to find my little corner of unreserve…), to try new things.  It has been a fantastic year, but these successes can be measured only on my peculiar scale.

Abrupt subject change: I’m all about genre fiction!  To be honest, I think all fiction can easily be categorized as genre fiction of some sort or other.  I know folk have a strong inclination to distinguish literary fiction from the sordid genre type, but this inclination seems like misplaced snobbery to me.  All fiction is the work of scribbling human hands to explain some part of the human experience.  Maybe that explanation comes in the form of alien planets or vampire stalkers or amorous dukes and barmaids or neurotic narrators recounting their entire misspent lives; the connecting thread running through each of those stories is the humanity of their authors.  (In case you’re curious, I did just lump Children of the MindTwilightAny Duchess Will Do, and In Search of Lost Time into one category, Aristotle be damned.)

Some authors undoubtedly write better than others, some come closer to achieving a real art, some have more skill at using the lies of story and narrative to tell a truth about who we are as humans, but when we assign categories to writers, we hobble ourselves as readers and limit the artistic reach of those writers.  (We also inflate the egos of those writers and critics fortunate enough to be the gatekeepers of literary quality.)

I suppose I should scramble down from my soap box now and talk about the kind of stories I most want to read.

I’ve always been a sucker for a good story.  When I was in elementary school and junior high, I read whatever I could get my hands on: library books, school books, my mother’s books, etc.  I didn’t precisely have a favorite genre because I was just obsessed with the written word and all the knowledge it contained.  The first book I read that truly took my breath away was Cynthia Voigt’s Homecoming.  In junior high, I discovered fantasy books, and I read The Hobbit and tried to read The Lord of the Rings (I didn’t succeed in reading it until I was 20 and had achieved something like patience); I read Terry Brooks and Piers Anthony, and a bunch of truly terrible Dragonlance books.  Then I read Jean Auel’s Earth’s Children series (books 1-4) and W. Michael Gear and Kathleen O’Neil Gear’s The First North Americans Series.  Then I read Les Miserables and discovered that what I liked most in all those stories I’d read was any inkling of the redemptive power of love.  Strange as it might be, it was a short skip for me from Les Miserables to romance novels, because that’s where all the love stories hide.

These days, I read romance novels almost exclusively.  Some of them are terrible, and some of them are incandescently wonderful.  I highly recommend each of the following.

Review – Along Came Trouble by Ruthie Knox

About a month ago, I picked up and read About Last Night in one sitting.  Then I read it again the next day. Then I thought about it for a few days.  I’ll be honest, a lot of the time when I read a romance novel, I am striving not to think, but I get such a kick out of the books that force me out of my mental somnolence and into an engagement with what I’ve read.  About Last Night was such a book, and it launched Ruthie Knox onto a rather high spot on my “Authors Whose Books I’ll Anticipate and Automatically Buy” list.  When I saw on NetGalley that Knox had another novel coming out soon, I jumped on a chance to read and review it (and then purchased the novella that introduces the series).

Cover image, Along Came Trouble by Ruthie Knox

Do not judge this book by its cover.  I know you want to… dont’ do it!  The blurb, courtesy of Goodreads

An accomplished lawyer and driven single mother, Ellen Callahan isn’t looking for any help. She’s doing just fine on her own. So Ellen’s more than a little peeved when her brother, an international pop star, hires a security guard to protect her from a prying press that will stop at nothing to dig up dirt on him. But when the tanned and toned Caleb Clark shows up at her door, Ellen might just have to plead the fifth.

Back home after a deployment in Iraq and looking for work as a civilian, Caleb signs on as Ellen’s bodyguard. After combat in the hot desert sun, this job should be a breeze. But guarding the willful beauty is harder than he imagined—and Caleb can’t resist the temptation to mix business with pleasure. With their desires growing more undeniable by the day, Ellen and Caleb give in to an evening of steamy passion. But will they ever be able to share more than just a one-night stand?

I’m just going to come right out with the bottom line: this book is fabulous.  It takes the well-worn Hero as Protector trope and adds depth and substance by giving Caleb a few genuine insecurities to go along with his protective impulses.  Caleb worries about his father and mother; he worries that his mother doesn’t respect him as an adult; he feels guilt over leaving his family behind while pursuing a career in the military, and he worries that he won’t be able to fix all the problems that his family collected while he was gone.  Once he’s connected with Ellen, he worries that he won’t be able to adequately protect her while also giving her the space she needs.  The poor man worries a lot, significantly more than the brutish alphas one is accustomed to seeing grunting and flexing their way through their more traditional romances.

Ellen is also a bit of a twist on the traditional heroine.  After emerging, pregnant, from an awful marriage that left her belittled and diminished, she is extremely reticent to rely on anyone (especially another man) for anything.  She fears returning to weakness and complacency.  Ellen’s journey from forced independence to healthy interdependence is lovely to see.

This book also features a fun subplot involving Ellen’s brother and her next door neighbor (and her neighbor’s grandmother, who is probably my favorite character in the book).  While I’m often a bit leery of subplots (sometimes you wonder why you’re spending so much time hearing about stuff that has nothing to do with the main story, you know?!), it totally worked in this book.  I don’t know why (so I feel a bit dumb even bringing up the subplot thing, but whatever), but maybe it’s because the subplot really was necessary to throw Caleb and Ellen together and because Jamie (Ellen’s brother) is an excellent foil for Caleb.

My favorite bit in the book is Ellen’s epiphany after the big conflict.  I mentioned in the opening paragraph how much I enjoy being stunned out of somnolence by bits of writing that make me think.  Ellen’s epiphany was one of those moments (and the resolution scene following it made me smile and cheer).

If you’re going to read this book (and you totally should), you also might want to check out How to Misbehave a prelude novella introducing the setting and some of the characters in this series, set in an idyllic Ohio town called Camelot.  Along Came Trouble is totally a stand-alone book, and you don’t need to read the novella in order to follow the plot, but you should read it anyway because it’s wonderful.  Just saying.  (For more information about the novella, click on the cover image to visit the book’s page on Goodreads.)

Cover image, How to Misbehave by Ruthie Knox

Along Came Trouble was released on March 11, 2013 as an e-book by Loveswept, a division of Random House.  If you’re interested in finding out more about the book, click on the cover image above to visit the book’s page on Goodreads.  For more information about Ruthie Knox, visit her website.

*FTC Disclosure – I received an e-galley of this book from Loveswept via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.*