I was a little surprised when this book arrived. I often receive books I haven’t requested and many are outside of my usual (crime / thriller) reading genre, however Kylie Scott’s Dive Bar series – and her novels in general – are so far outside of my realm of experience (aka comfort zone) they might as well be dystopian fantasy or big L-Literature and written by a dead Russian. Or similar.
However… I decided to give it a try. Expand my reading repertoire if you like. I’ve talked before about the fact I struggle with ‘romance’ and why, but have also read a few romance novels I’ve quite enjoyed. Plus I met Kylie at the Australian Romance Readers Convention I attended in February and she seemed very nice and quite witty.
by Kylie Scott
Series: Dive Bar #2
Published by Macmillan Australia
on April 11th 2017
Genres: Romance, Erotic fiction
ISBN: 1743539525, 9781743539521
When his younger brother Eric loses interest in online dating, hot bearded bartender Joe Collins only intends to log into his account and shut it down for him.
Until he reads about her.
Alex Parks is funny, fascinating, and pretty much everything Joe's been looking for in a woman - except that she lives across the country. Soon they're emailing up a storm and telling each other their deepest, darkest secrets...except the one that really matters.
He's not the man she thinks he is.
When Alex pays the Dive Bar a surprise visit, she's in for the shock of her life. And Joe's about to learn that when it comes to love, it's always better served straight up than with a twist.
While elements of this book had me eyerolling – Alex getting sick after a bit of rain and HAVING to stay on in Idaho and being nursed back to health by Joe (etc) – I realise that’s part of the whole fantasy thing that comes with romance novels.
Indeed (if I’m honest)… in my own daydreaming I conjure up similar clichéd scenarios which make me groan with shame but are, at the same time, eminently satisfying. And I should admit the fourth partially-written book I’ve started (30k words for #1; 50k words for #2; 2k words in #3; and now 10k for #4) is actually romantic fiction. Well, it’s basically crap, but that’s beside the point. I said I’d write something and perhaps self-publish that something before my 50th birthday in December and time is a-ticking.
What I struggle with most in my writing is that I tend to write in first person present tense. Something I know a lot of readers hate. However… if I have any strengths when it comes to writing it’s more about the sarcastic /chatty tone I tend to use in my blogging and I realised – after drafting book #2 that I should use that in my own attempts at fiction.
So… what I really loved about Scott’s writing is she does just that. And I loved it. Her lead character is witty / droll and the first person prose works really well. We get to know Alex and what’s in her head. We connect with her and we’re rooting for her. (In a non-sexual way!)
I also appreciated that – although Scott occasionally went down the obviously flirty / sexual innuendo cliché route she called herself (or rather her characters) out on it. There was none of that game-playing bullshit. Which I very much loved.
Once my guard was down, due to complete and utter exhaustion, Joe had cuddled me. It was terrible, disgusting. Fingers caressing me, lips pressing soft kisses to my shoulder and the back of my neck. Normally I’d never allow it, but it felt so good. Plus, I was almost comatose. His surprise attack of intimacy, slipped straight through my usual defenses. The way he tempted me, getting me all hot and bothered and twisted up inside in the best way possible. And then, when I didn’t think I could take any more, he calmed everything down and made me feel safe. I wasn’t used to being wanted in such different ways. p 154
Those of know of my disdain for sex scenes – too crass with talk of c*cks and c*nts, or too flowery (throbbing members and hot warm places) – will be relieved to know I survived the sex scenes with minimal discomfort and again appreciated Scott’s no-nonsense prose.
In fact, this non-reader of romance read this very satisfying book in two sittings.
I kinda guessed where the characters would take the plot, but I know there’s a happily-ever-after expectation in romance fiction and think I’d have balked if I hadn’t had the closure I wanted.
So, even though I’ve been a little glib, and my thoughts on romance novels in general are tainted by my general cynicism about love and romance and crap like that, I really enjoyed this engaging novel by Scott.
** And incidentally I’m with Alex on the facial hair thing! Blergh! **
Twist by Kylie Scott will be published in Australia by Pan Macmillan on 11 April 2017.
I received a copy of this book from the publisher for review purposes.