*I was given a free copy of this book in return for an honest review. All thoughts are my own. I was not paid by the publisher or the author for my review.*
Available: July 29, 2014
Looking For Trouble — Victoria Dahl
This wasn’t a new author for me! Well. Not completely new. I thought at first that this was the first thing I’d read by Victoria Dahl…but I did some checking on her website and was reminded that she was in an anthology with Lori Foster and Susan Donovan in 2011 that I read and I remember LOVING her story Just One Taste.
Obviously I developed a case of stupid because it’s been three years since I’ve read anything by her. So much stupidity on my part. So. Much. Stupidity.
I follow her on twitter, and I find Victoria hysterically funny. I know not everyone will like her brand of humor, but I just love her tweets. She’s probably not trying to make people laugh (or maybe she is, I don’t know) but I can’t keep the giggles contained.
Looking For Trouble was amazing. The hero was drool worthy. He’s first described in the book as having a “lumberjack beard”. That alone is drool worthy for me. I’m such a fan of facial hair on men. He also shaves his head. I don’t normally go for bald looks, but a shaved head paired with a majestic beard? Sign me up. Plus, Alex Bishop has tattoos. Not just a little bit of tattoos, nope, he’s has a sleeve covering one arm and some covering his chest. Now only if he was real. *sigh*
Alex and the heroine Sophie Heyer have a past that’s intertwined and sad. They don’t meet each other until they’re adults, but as children both of their lives… and the lives of their families, were impacted by the same thing. Sophie’s mother and Alex’s father disappeared together when both Alex and Sophie were young children. The truth of their sudden disappearance isn’t discovered until twenty or so years after they disappear and the new knowledge rips apart both families more than just the fact that their loved ones were gone. Alex’s mother can’t handle the fact that her husband was having an affair with another woman in town, and then ultimately died with her.
I felt so, so bad for both families. Sophie lost her mother at a very young age and has been tormented (mostly by Ms.Bishop) for most of her life just because her mother dared to have an affair with Alex’s father. Ms. Bishop refused to believe that her husband could be dead until the remains were found. She would pull both Alex and his older brother Shane out of school to take them on trip to try to find their father. This ended up proving too much for Alex, along with the fact that she was sick (mentally) and he leaves town after high school.
Fast forward twenty odd years and you have where Looking For Trouble starts. Basically. Alex very reluctantly comes back to town because a memorial is going to be held for his deceased father finally. And when I say reluctantly? I mean very reluctantly. As soon as he rides into town on his bike (did I mention he rides a motorcycle?! Lawd) he proceeds to check into a shitty motel on the edge of town and then find a bar to get shit faced at.
Sophie Heyer is one of my most favorite heroines I’ve read recently. I so seriously just loved her. She’s a librarian and she sends out this “I’m innocent” vibe to the world around her as a shield. She always makes sure that her clothes, while cute, are conservative. No plunging necklines or short hems. Poor Sophie looks just like her mother used to, so she keeps her appearance as far away from racy as possible. Under all of that though, Sophie is hiding a wild side. Garters and thigh-high stockings, racy underthings. I remember seeing a quote on pinterest (yes, I’m a pinner…sue me) that TOTALLY reminded me of Sophie.
I loved her backbone. She’s soft, but tough. When Alex acts like an ass later in the book, she stands up to his hulking self, defends herself and kicks him out of her house. I cheered and then wanted to hug her. She also knows how to admit when she’s wrong, and how to apologize… which are both very good qualities.
The relationship between Sophie and Alex was hot. Whew. I’m surprised her house didn’t catch fire. They were exactly what the other person needed, even if they didn’t know it right away. They push each other to go outside their comfort zones and while that’s not always the most fun thing to do (I’m not talking about sex), it’s needed sometimes.
Alex’s relationship with his family was sometimes a bit hard to read. It was hard to see him struggle with having to get to know his older brother again, and deal with his mother. She was sick. I don’t mean she was disgusting or she had a cold. Though, some of her behavior was disgusting. She totally (on more than one occasion) was slut shaming Sophie, who deserved none of her hate. I was SO happy when Mrs. Bishop got called out on her behavior with the slut shaming. It’s just not okay.
We find out later in the book that she’s suffering from a B12 vitamin deficiency. I’m a Pharmacy Tech student, so I know that this is a real thing that happens. When I read that this was part of the reason for all her crazy behavior… it started to make sense. She also did/does have a mood disorder (or at least it was hinted at in the book) but the malnutrition due to the B12 deficiency makes sense too.
I don’t think I can fully express how much I enjoyed this book. Victoria is a very talented writer. I felt like if I closed my eyes, I could see Alex’s tattoos or feel the cool breeze slap my face as I went for a ride on his bike. I could not put this book down.
I wanted to hug Alex and Sophie, give his mother a “come to Jesus” lecture, adopt Pastel (cute kitten in the book) and move to Jackson Hole, Wyoming. As long as I can skip driving through Nebraska.
Overall, like I said earlier I can’t really fully express how much I loved this one. If I could buy ALL the copies of the book and send it to everyone I know after it comes out, I would. I might need to win the lottery first, but after that I so would. This isn’t a book to skip, and this author isn’t either. If you haven’t read anything by Victoria Dahl, you need to take yourself to your favorite book buying place and fix that problem.
10/10 would recommend this book to everyone and anyone.