Thursday, May 23, 2013

Book Review: Bad Boys in Kilts

Ok, so, news flash for people who are not aware of my life: 1) I have not blogged in forever due to wedding then new job and new house. 2) I love reading romance books....sometimes just to laugh at how awful and ridiculous they are.

Bad Boys in Kilts by Donna Kauffman is, in fact, a romance novel. Now, there are 2 types of romance novels I read to actually read and not make fun of: 1) Paranormal-mixed-with-comedy well written romances. Not so many of those around but I have read a great series that definitely fit that category. 2)  Well written romances that could happen in real life on a semi regular basis. No billionaire princes. No lottery wins. No perfect set-ups. I like there to be conflict with those relationships (news flash- real life relationships have conflicts). Bad Boys in Kilts fits that for 2.5 of the 3 stories. I'll explain the 0.5 in that later on.

The first story had to do with Brodie Chisholm. He lives in a small Scottish town where he and his 3 other brothers keep the family businesses afloat. Brodie runs the local pub and loves it. He is known for being a flirt and having flings. His best friend is Kat and she's the best mechanic in town aside from her dad. Suddenly an American (one, Daisy McDonnell-perky, bubbly, not covered in car grease) shows up in town and Kat realizes she want Brodie for more than friendship. But how do you pursue that without ruining the current friendship? I love this conflict. It's real and happens ALL THE TIME. My (now) husband and I ran into the same problem. The rest of the story is fairly realistic and touching. I love that Kauffman broaches Kat's insecurities in such a real way. Any girl who's ever been different than what she thinks her crush wants understands every second of it. I won't tell you the rest of the story but I can say I will never look at a dart board the same way again.

The second story was perhaps my favorite (with Brodie's a close second). This one focuses on Reese Chisholm. He runs the family distillery and pretty much does nothing else. Workaholic anyone? Daisy MacDonnell (from Brodie's story) moved to the town to escape her busy workaholic life to run the local stationary shop and maybe help the little town with some marketing (her forte). Daisy wants to start that marketing with the local distillery but first she has to get Reese to agree to a website. Suddenly, Reese finds himself thinking about anything but business. But Daisy is trying to change "her type." She used to only go for workaholics like her. A relationship scheduled in minutes between meetings. But maybe a Scottish workaholic is different? The rest of the story amusing in this adorkable way. They both make missteps and blunders which is really both hilarious and frustrating. Workaholic is something that almost any career driven person understands (I've been called one once or twice....ok more than that) and it is amazing how hard that can make relationships. Like I said, my favorite of the three stories.

The third focuses on Tristan Chisholm. Poet, sheepherder, painter, anti-social (in his brothers' opinion). He enjoys hanging out with his sheep (family flock) and faithful dog Jinty while painting the land around him. Probably born in the wrong century. He manages the land that the family rents and lives in the managers cottage which is fine by him. Then one day he has to rush out and save some balmy author from drowning herself in a convertible after she runs it off the road during a rainstorm. Bree is running from hounding paparazzi after her first (and only) book became a smash success. Now everyone wants another but everything she writes is crap. Then she gets rescued by a crazy man from drowning herself in a convertible (and feels like an idiot later). The rest of the story carries on from there. Now the only reason I feel like this is slightly less likely is the whole "saving her from drowning in her car just happened to be there" bit. It's too good of a set-up. I love Tristan as a character. Feeling removed from the world liking things no one else understands. Everyone feels like that occasionally. (I mean, do you know how many looks I get wearing Victorian style dresses around?) I like Bree too. Everyone feels like they are under too much pressure occasionally. But for some reason, their story just didn't sit as well with me. Maybe it was the whole set-up that flared the cynical in me. I don't know. But the message that sometimes you just have to let things move along simply was nice. So, I guess all I'm saying is it was a little far-fetched for me. Not so much it ruined it. but enough that I noticed. Especially when following the other two stories. There you go. I explained the 0.5 from that 2.5 out of 3 bit.

All in all, I think I'll give it a B+. Here's why: I wanted more development out of Reese and Brodie's stories. I love the characters and you can feel the heart that the author put into them. I understand when a story you conceive isn't enough for a full book. That doesn't mean I didn't want there to be one. That drops it to an A-. Then, as I said, Tristan's story didn't sit as well with me for some reason. But, I still liked the characters and enjoyed the read. So that drops it to a B+.

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