Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Test Drive by Marie Harte (Body Shop Bad Boys #1)

Rating: ★★★ | 06/07/2016 | Contemporary Romance | 384 Pages | Sourcebooks Casablanca

This may be the honeycrisp sangria and Lush bomb baths talking but I adored this book.

After being scared straight by a short jail stint “bad boy” Johnny Donnelly lives a simple life; working at the garage, helping our at his dad’s strip club and hanging out at the local watering hole--where he's had a crush on bartender Lara Valley for years. Lara’s  guarded and isn’t sure how she feels about Johnny, but when he comes through for her she finally lets him ask her out. * Insert car related romance pun here.*

Harte's characters were so complex that I could almost read a story book about them without the romance. We get to  watch as Lara and Johnny's relationship evolves from flirty friends to love with all the messy bumps along the way.  Johnny has some deep seated commitment issues and turns out to be very vulnerable despite being the titular bad boy. Lara is trying to move up in the world while also being her older sister’s emotional crutch.

The blue collar setting of this book was really refreshing. Like, I know it’s cliched, but I like books where people have real jobs and have to balance 9 to 5 jobs with life and romance as opposed to some romances where it seems like characters have so much free time. Lara is a bartender but she is also a nursing student and helps out her family.I’m not sure I’ve ever seen a character have to juggle so much.

Dear romance, let’s huddle for a second. I know I’m new here but we’ve really got to get together and define what we mean by bad boy. Does it mean he doesn’t follow the rules ? Went to jail ? Kills people ? Womanizer ? Is it just code for 'has tattoos '? Because the fact that this series is called Body Shop Bad Boys and we find out  Johnny just took a car joyriding once and has some tattoos feels like a Disney version of bad boys. I felt the same way about Helenkay Dimon's Bad Boys Undercover series. If I see the term bad boy I want an unlikeable character with some grit to them.

I’m not sure why this author has never crossed my radar, she’s written over 100 books (some of which seem to be connected to this series) and I am so ready for more in this series.

I read this book in the bathtub and I thought I was being careful but it didn't make it out well.

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