Tag: Stephanie Bond

Review: Baby, Don’t Go by Stephanie Bond

Posted October 13, 2011 by Holly in Reviews | 0 Comments

Holly‘s review of Baby, Don’t Go (Southern Roads, Book 3) by Stephanie Bond

Southern town seeks single women.

Though they’re nothing but trouble…

The hardheaded Armstrong brothers are determined to rebuild their tornado–ravaged hometown in the Georgia mountains. They’ve got the means, they’ve got the manpower…what they need are women! So they place an ad in a Northern newspaper and wait for the ladies to arrive…

Eldest brother Marcus Armstrong considers the estrogen–influx an irritating distraction. He’s running a town, not a dating service!

Reporter Alicia Randall thinks the Armstrong brothers are running a scam and she intends to prove it—even if it means seducing oh–so–sexy Marcus in the process. Sizzling sex and a hot story? Win–win!

At least it is, until she falls for the guy. Will love trump betrayal when the truth comes out?

This was an ok read. Although I enjoyed the first one, after the disaster of the second one I didn’t expect a lot from this one. Since my expectations were low, I wasn’t disappointed. To be fair, a lot of my frustrations with this novel may be stemming from contemporary burn-out.

Alicia is a reporter for a feminist magazine. Her column, Undercover Feminist, has her going undercover to dig out information on sexist operations. When she hears that the men from Sweetness, Georgia put an ad in a newspaper looking for women to help them rebuild their town, she knows something fishy is going on. And she’s determined to prove it.

Marcus has about all he can handle on his plate. He and his brothers are on a tight deadline to get their town up and running before the federal government yanks their grant. The last thing he needs is the distraction of a woman. But he can’t help his attraction to Alicia.

What I liked: Alicia and Marcus together. The way they connected really came across. Watching them get to know each other was sweet. They took their time opening up to one another, and that made their fall so much better.

I also really liked the aspects that dealt with the rebuilding of the town. Throughout the series, these have been my favorite parts. The idea that an entire town could run green fascinates me. I’d love to see something like this happen in real life (minus the tornado, of course).

What I didn’t like: My main issue with this novel is the way Alicia is portrayed. She’s described as an ultra feminist. She hates the institute of marriage, is cynical and jaded, and is determined to show men in the worst possible light. Only..she isn’t written that way. We’re told that’s how she is, but we aren’t shown it. She comes across as a woman with daddy issues who just wants to be taken care of. I don’t think this is what the author intended, but this is what happened.

On top of that, she was a reporter. The story meant more to her than anything else. She even convinces herself to have sex with Marcus to get more dirt on him. It was meant to be used a convenient excuse to do what she really wanted (have sex with him, of course) but it left a bad taste in my mouth.

My second gripe is the amount of matchmaking the secondary characters got up to. This is the part that probably stems from an overload of contemporary romances. Every time one of the previous couples arrived on scene and gave a knowing look or a sly wink or arranged a romantic getaway or a forced dinner I wanted to scream. Look, I get that they’re happy. I’m happy for them. Truly. But does being in a relationship mean you have to force everyone else you know into one as well? No.

Especially the men. Do men really get married and then try to push all their single friends/family members into getting married as well? I know my husband doesn’t. We’re very happily married, but he isn’t trying to fix up all his single friends now so they can be just as happy.

I really liked the aspects that dealt directly with the hero and heroine and the rebuilding of the town, but I’m glad the series has ended.

3 out of 5

The series:

Baby, I'm YoursBaby, Drive South (Southern Roads)Baby, Come Home (Southern Roads)Book Cover

This book is available from HQN. You can buy it here or here in e-format.

Tagged: , , , , , ,

Review/Rant: Baby, Come Home by Stephanie Bond (with spoilers)

Posted June 24, 2011 by Holly in Reviews | 8 Comments

Holly‘s review of Baby, Come Home (Southern Roads, Book 2) by Stephanie Bond

Southern Town Seeks Single Women. One in particular . . .

The hardheaded Armstrong brothers are determined to rebuild their tornado-ravaged hometown in the Georgia mountains. They’ve got the means, they’ve got the manpower…what they need are women! So they place an ad in a Northern newspaper and wait for the ladies to arrive.

Sensible yet sexy middle brother Kendall Armstrong penned that ad himself-but there’s just one woman he really wants to answer the call . . .

Civil engineer Amy Bradshaw-Kendall’s ex-fiancée-fled Sweetness years ago, taking a precious souvenir with her. She’s back now…but only on a professional level. Really.

Little does she know that old flames always burn the hottest . . .

 This review is full of spoilers and curse words. Read at your own risk.

I expected to love this book. I really liked the first one and was intrigued by the past history of this couple. It started out well enough, but a few chapters in I started getting a bad feeling about where things were headed..and I was right to be wary.

I can handle the secret baby plot device if it’s done well, ie she had a good reason for keeping the kid a secret, something outside their control keeps them apart, she tells him as soon as possible, etc. Unfortunately this wasn’t an example of how the secret baby plot works. It was a hot mess from beginning to end.

Kendall and Amy were high school sweethearts. She always wanted to get out and see the world, but Kendall’s roots were always firmly planted in their hometown. When her aunt died Amy expected Kendall to marry her and take her away with him (he was in the air force). When he refused she broke it off with him, telling him to never contact her again. They went there separate ways, but neither was able to forget the other.

12 years later, Kendall and his brothers are back in Sweetness, Georgia, trying to rebuild the town as green as possible after a tornado destroyed everything. Kendall knows where Amy lives (in what city/state) but that’s it. He respected her wishes and stayed away from her. But part of him hopes she’ll return home. He puts an ad in her local paper asking for woman to join their cause thinking maybe she’ll answer. She doesn’t, but Kendall’s older brother Marcus contacts her without Kendall knowing and offers her a job as the engineer of the new bridge in town. Amy agrees because she really needs the work.

Up to this point I was enjoying the story. I love reunited lover themes and I was anxious to see how things played out. But then things took a turn for the worse. Amy kept thinking about this “man” she had in her life..one who wasn’t going to be happy she was going to Georgia. This could have meant a lover, but I didn’t think so. And I was right. It was her 12 year old son. The 12yo son who also happened to be Kendall’s. Only Amy never told him..actually had no intention of ever telling him.

If her reasons for doing so had been decent, I probably could have overlooked it and moved on. But they weren’t. She figured since Kendall didn’t want her he wouldn’t want his son either. In the end, she admitted it was just “easier for her” if he didn’t know. Ever. The most ridiculous thing about this was that she admitted to herself and to others that he was a pretty amazing man. I think at one point she flat out called him a hero. She also muses that her son would really benefit from having a father and other close family. But still, she didn’t want to be around Kendall – because it was too hard, don’t ya know – so she decided it was better not to tell him about his son. And as for telling her son about his father? Well…maybe. Someday. When it didn’t hurt her so much.

Hurt her? Really? What about what’s good for her son? What about hurting him by keeping his father from him? A father she openly admits is an amazing, standup kind of guy? Of course that’s not as important as making sure she doesn’t get hurt again. Right?

If that wasn’t enough to make me hate her, her actions the rest of the book certainly sealed the deal. She didn’t even consider telling him about his son until more than halfway through the book. Then she decided it would be better to wait until she’d left town and had a chance to talk to her son about it (who was in military school, btw, which was court ordered because he was caught vandalizing his school). She even slept with Kendall, and allowed him to believe his son was really her boyfriend (he overheard her on the phone and jumped to the conclusion that she had a boyfriend she loved..she didn’t correct him and actually kind of encouraged him to think he was right). He noticed she was wearing a mother/child pendant that had belonged to her mother and commented on it. When she explained who it belonged to, he said something like “Oh, I thought you were keeping something from me, haha” and she says, “No, of course not” but inside she thinks “I need to tell him….later”. This is about 5 seconds before he puts his penis inside her. WTF??? WHO DOES THAT????

But that’s nothing compared to the way she acted after he found out what she’d done. She’d deliberately pick fights with Kendall in front of her son, making him out to be the bad guy. It get so bad, as a matter of fact, that the kid runs away so that she’ll never have to deal with Kendall again. She’s such a selfish, cowardly bitch that she makes her son think he has to GO AWAY so she doesn’t have to deal with his father. W.T.F.?!?! WHAT.THE.FUCK?!?!? OMFG.

At this point not only did I want to drop kick her off a very high bridge, but I started doubting the hero and what the hell he saw in her. She was a selfish, bitter bitch and he kept pining over her. I wanted to scream “TAKE THE KID AND GET OVER HER ALREADY”. Actually, I think I did scream it. She didn’t come across as a good mother, or hell, as a good person. Why was he so set on working things out with her?

She decides she’s leaving town and taking the kid with her. Hero says, “I will be seeing my son” and she says “We’ll see about that”. Why? Because she doesn’t want to see him. It had nothing to do with her son or what was best for him, it was all about what she wanted. It just hurt sooo bad, seeing her ex all the time like that. She didn’t want to put herself through the constant pain of seeing what she couldn’t have. Except she was the one who pushed him away, not the other way around.

When Kendall says fine, he’ll leave town – even though he’s committed to the project and desperately needed – and move where she does so he can see his son, she ascribes all kinds of negative motives to why he would. But when he confesses that he loves her she’s “confused” and not sure what to do. I have a suggestion..but I’m not sure it’s physically possible. I still feel like she should try it, though.

The final resolution approached with lightning speed. With half a page left of the book, hero and chick find son and she says “We’re going to stay here and live with your dad” and of course this is the first dad has heard of it. Plus, until like half a second before that kid was hating dad because mom had made him out to be some kind of crazy monster. But kid says “So we can be a family” and she says “yes, of course”. And that’s it. The end. 335.5 pages of her being a douche nozzle twat and then he says I love you so all is right with the world and she can finally do the right thing? No. Just no.

I did love the parts of the story that focused on the town and their rebuilding efforts. I also loved the scenes between Kendall and his son. The way they got to know each other and rely on each other was wonderful – when the psycho claiming to be his mom didn’t ruin it, that is.

1.5 out of 5 (the .5 for the good parts about the town)

The series:
Baby, I'm YoursBaby, Drive South (Southern Roads)Baby, Come Home (Southern Roads)Baby, Don’t Go (Southern Roads)

This book is available from Mira. You can buy it here or here in e-format.

Tagged: , , , , , ,

Review: Baby, Drive South by Stephanie Bond

Posted June 2, 2011 by Holly in Reviews | 1 Comment

Holly‘s review of Baby, Drive South (Southern Roads, Book 1) by Stephanie Bond

The hardheaded Armstrong brothers are determined to rebuild their tornado-ravaged hometown in the Georgia mountains. They’ve got the means, they’ve got the manpower…what they need are women! So they place an ad in a northern newspaper and wait for the ladies to answer their call….

Porter, the youngest Armstrong, is all for importing women. Still, he’s so blown away by the sheer numbers, he falls off the water tower. Luckily there’s a doctor among the newcomers—sweet and sexy Dr. Nikki Salinger.
And Porter has every intention of checking out her bedside manner….

This was a great start to a new series. I really liked the setting and the concept behind the town the brothers are trying to rebuild. The idea of building a green town from the devastation of a tornado is pretty awesome. 

Porter, Kendall and Marcus Armstrong grew up in Sweetness, Georgia. They each left to make their way in the world, with every intention of returning someday. Then an F-5 tornado tore through town and detroyed it. Luckily no lives were lost, but the town was decimated. 10 years later the Armstrong brothers are back with  a plan to rebuild the town. They have a government grant and two years to prove they can rebuild using green methods. They have plenty of man-power, but what’s missing are the women. So they put an ad in the newspaper asking women to come help them start up the town. 

None of them really expected it to work, but Parker, the youngest brother, spots a caravan of cars rolling into town and gets really excited. So excited he falls off the water tower and breaks his leg. Lucky for him, one of the new residents is Dr. Nikki Salinger. 

Nikki is ready for a fresh start after a bad breakup and decides Sweetness is the perfect place to go. She has major reservations once she arrives, though. Not only is the town much more..rustic..than she thought, but Porter Armstrong does his best to insult her and make her feel unwelcome. He makes snide comments about her looks and compares her – very unfavorably – to some of the other women who showed up in town. 

Porter promises his brothers he’ll get Nikki to stay – they really need a doctor, and she seems to be the person all the other women look to for leadership – and he sets about trying to win her over to the town. 

I have to be honest, I really hurt for Nikki in the beginning. Her self-esteem has already taken a beating thanks to her cheating ex-fiance and Porter only makes it worse. His comments about her not being very attractive really hit hard. It was hard to like him at first because of it. On the other hand, he didn’t mean to sound the way he did. It wasn’t like her purposely meant to hurt her feelings. So as frustrating as he was, it was easy to move on as the story progressed. Because we know how Porter really felt about Nikki in the beginning, it was interesting to watch them fall in love. Especially since Porter has to battle not only his own attraction, but Nikki’s resistance because of his actions. 

I really loved the rebuilding efforts of the town. The premise is an interesting one – make a totally green town – and Bond did a good job of describing the processes without info dumping. I also liked the relationship  between the brothers. They really care about each other and the town, even if they are typical men.

Nikki’s stubbornness and Porter’s dumb mistakes did get a bit tedious as the story wore on. I understood in the beginning why both acted the way they did, but it started getting old. Nikki especially. She’s a successful doctor, yet she had the confidence of a 16 year old. That didn’t make sense. 

Overall this was a sweet story. I enjoyed the setting and the romance. 

4 out of 5

The series:
Baby, I'm YoursBaby, Drive South (Southern Roads)Baby, Come Home (Southern Roads)Baby, Don’t Go (Southern Roads)

This book is available from Mira. You can buy it here or here in e-format.

Tagged: , , , , , ,