Thursday, July 11, 2013

Review: Camelot Series by Ruthie Knox Part 1

I've been hearing about Ruthie Knox for quite a while now. Many trusted friends and bloggers were raving about how good her books are, so I started buying them. But then they just sat on my Kindle for far too long. My first book by Ms. Knox was Big Boy, a short novella in the Strangers on Trains multi-author series. I liked it, enjoyed her writing ability, but it I didn't love it.

Then a friend convinced me to start reading this series, and I'm so glad she did. Ruthie Knox is now on my short list of favorite authors.

Camelot Series
Author: Ruthie Knox
Genre: Contemporary Romance

Title: How to Misbehave
Book 0.5
Release Date: 28 January 2013

What woman can resist a hot man in a hard hat? Beloved author Ruthie Knox kicks off her new Camelot series with this deliciously sexy original novella, in which a good girl learns how to misbehave . . . with all her heart.

As program director for the Camelot Community Center, Amber Clark knows how to keep her cool. That is, until a sudden tornado warning forces her to take shelter in a darkened basement with a hunk of man whose sex appeal green lights her every fantasy. With a voice that would melt chocolate, he asks her if she is okay. Now she's hot all over and wondering: How does a girl make a move?

Building contractor Tony Mazzara was just looking to escape nature's fury. Instead, he finds himself all tangled up with lovely Amber. Sweet and sexy, she's ready to unleash her wild side. Their mutual desire reaches a fever pitch and creates a storm of its own--unexpected, powerful, and unforgettable. But is it bigger than Tony can handle? Can he let go of painful memories and let the force of this remarkable woman show him a future he never dreamed existed?
At just a 121 pages, you'd be forgiven for thinking that this story couldn't really get off the starting line. I know I wasn't expecting too much, and yet Ms. Knox deftly shows two characters that are easy to relate to, and fun to read about. Amber was unsure how to show Tony that she was attracted to him, interested in him; thinking he wasn't into her. Tony was doing his best to punish himself for the rest of his life, believing Amber is worth so much better than him.

When the tornado siren goes off forcing them into the basement, in the dark, Amber and Tony are pushed into a kind of intimacy that destroys boundaries. Tony needs Amber and her sexy distraction is just the thing to show her he's not as uninterested in her as he seems. Their chemistry burned hot in that basement, and I was rooting for them. I really enjoyed this quick look at how Amber and Tony met, how they both gave something the other needed.

In such a short book I didn't expect such a range of emotions, but Ms. Knox had me near tears at one point, and smiling and laughing the next.

Really good introduction to this series. The only, and I do mean only, drawback is that the story ends just days into their relationship. While I had no doubts they were going to make it, I would have liked to see more. Imagine how ecstatic it made me to hear that there was going to be a follow-up novella at the end of the series, Making It Last.

Grade: B

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Title: Along Came Trouble
Book 1
Release Date:

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?

The first full-length novel in the Camelot series is about Amber's (from How to Misbehave) brother, Caleb. He's recently gotten out of the military and returned home for good. He's spent the time since starting up his security business in and around his home town of Camelot, Ohio. Suddenly a job that will put him on the map comes along - musician Jamie Callahan wants security for his sister and the women he loved - and left. Reporters are hounding them, and it's now Caleb's job to keep them safe until the interest dies down.

What he didn't count on is Jamie's sister being so damn stubborn, or resistant to some help, and a few changes. He also didn't expect the blindingly hot attraction between them.

Ellen's past has made her incredibly resistant to relying on anyone but herself. She doesn't let anyone past her boundaries, and isn't willing to get involved in a relationship with Caleb, no matter how attracted she is. Then she comes up with the perfect solution - a no-strings attached fling. She definitely doesn't expect Caleb to keep negotiating with her every step along the way.

I love Caleb. He's a fantastic hero. Strong, sexy, smart, determined, caring, kind, generous, protective, and willing to do anything for someone else - including hurt himself. He's family orientated, stubborn about helping those he loves, and really just wants Ellen to give them a chance. He knows what he's up against and is willing to do just about anything to get her to acknowledge they might be good together. I just could not get enough of him.

I also loved the side romance between Ellen's brother and her neighbor - Carly. While a bit cheesy, it was sweet and funny. I was really hoping I could get more of their relationship, and time together. How they met originally, how they're continuing in their relationship. The scenes that I did get just made me want even more.

My problem with this book was Ellen. I completely understood her reluctance, her issues, but it just went on too long for me. She went past what was reasonable and became absolutely unreasonable, and it made me want to shake some sense into her. Especially since Caleb was being so incredibly understanding and nice about it all. There's a moment at the end where Jamie says something that was eminently satisfying for me. I was glad that she, and by extension everyone else, realized just how far past normal levels she was pushing all this. And she nearly came to it on her own, which was a huge relief. Unfortunately, even with that moment her issues had continued on just a bit too long for me, and it detracted from my enjoyment a bit.

Even still, I enjoyed this story, and I'll probably still re-read it just to read more about Caleb, Jamie and Carly. And I finished really looking forward to the next book in the series.

Grade: B-

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