Monday, October 21, 2013

Book Review: Things Good Girls Don't Do by Codi Gary

Title: Things Good Girls Don't Do
Author: Codi Gary
Publisher: Avon (HarperCollins)
Release Date: August 27, 2013
Where to Buy: Amazon Nook 
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars


From the book:

For Katie Conners, being a good girl just isn't worth it anymore. It used to mean getting the life she always wanted. But that was before she got dumped and her ex got engaged to his rebound. So, after a bad day and one too many mojitos, Katie starts making a list of things a girl like her would never do, not in a million years...

As a tattoo artist with a monster motorcycle, Chase Trepasso isn't the kind of guy you bring home to mom and dad.

And when he finds Katie's list in a bar, he's more than happy to help her check off a few items. Especially the ones on the naughtier side

Katie's more than tempted by Chase's offer, as long as they keep things uncomplicated. But as they spend more time together, she may just wind up breaking the most important rule of all: Good girls don't fall in love with bad boys.

My review:

I love my romance novels to be realistic with a happily-ever-after. Characters can be placed in extraordinary situations, but if the beta hero suddenly goes all alpha, or the heroine does an uncharacteristically or unexplained stupid move, I become exceptionally disappointed.

This book was not disappointing in the least. 

Katie is working hard to figure out who she wants to be. It's taken awhile - including the death of her mother and being dumped by her long-time boyfriend - for Katie to realize that she's sick and tired of doing what everyone expects - which is to say, a doormat. 

Katie was raised by a mother who drilled good manners and good breeding into her core. Katie is a lady - doesn't yell, doesn't argue, and and doesn't do anything outside of her mother's (and society's) good-girl standards. But after she has just a couple of drinks at a bar (a no-no), she draws up a bucket list of sorts - a Things Good Girls Don't Do list. She resolves to check each and every one of them off her list...and she would've simply tossed the list in the trash when she sobered up, if it hadn't been for Chase Trepasso talking a very close, very embarrassing look at the list - and holding her to it.

The romance between these two evolves quite naturally. On the surface, each is the opposite of the other. One is rough-and-tumble, drives a motorcycle, and is a tattoo artist. The other is sweet, fresh-faced and strives to put her best face forward, always. The people they are beyond what the world sees are complex. They face the same battles we all have - bucking society's conventions, breaking free from our parents' expectations, and finding that one imperfect person who is perfect for us.

I thought I'd get annoyed by Katie and all her do-goodiness, but I was thrilled to be wrong. It is with a significant effort and a lot of self-growth that she's able to push her mother's voice out of her head. She held tight to the values instilled in her, but by the end of the book she refuses to let them define her anymore. I actually said, "Bravo!" aloud (which raised The Husband's eyebrows, but he knows me enough now to just shrug his shoulders and keep on doing whatever it is he does while I lose myself in a book). 

Chase isn't off the hook, either. He comes out of the gate as closed-off, rough, and uninterested in a relationship. But he's a caring person, and after a few times taking care of Katie (he brings pizza to her house, and she's - of course - worried about the gossip mill in town; he brushes the gossip off in such a logical way, it makes you laugh), it's apparent that there is WAY more to Chase than what he allows people to see. Katie's personality really works its magic on him - it's almost with bemusement that he finds himself missing her presence when she's not near, and his jealousy is not over the top in some effort to prove to the reader that he really does love her.

Everything in this story just fit. I was able to so fully lose myself because there wasn't any part where I thought, Yeah, right. Like that would ever happen. Jealousy between the characters? No one was told off in an over-the-top and unwarranted way (it's always the poor waitress who somehow becomes the one to get told off in stories...). No one had a lightning bolt revelation of love. And no one had someone else point out that one was in love with the other. The big gesture in the book was not on a grand scale, and it was just right for this couple.

The only issue I had was the best friend, Steph. She came across as trying to step in as the mother figure, and I found her to be annoying. What saved it was when Katie did, too - a fact I really appreciated and related to.

Seamless, flawless brilliance. We need more Codi Gary books on the shelves - I do hope she keeps writing. I can't wait to read her other titles in this series - she has two more coming next spring. I highly recommend this book.

 (Disclaimer: I was provided an digital copy from the publisher for an honest and unbiased review.)


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