Friday, 1 June 2012

Book Review: About Last Night by Ruthie Knox

Title: About Last Night
Author: Ruthie Knox
Release Date: 11 June 2012
Number of pages: 216 pages
Publisher: LoveSwept
Source: review copy provided by publisher through NetGalley
Purchasing Info: Goodreads, Author's Website, Amazon, Random House, Barnes and Noble, iBooks

Grade: 4.5 stars

Novellus superbus!

Goodreads appetizer: Sure, opposites attract, but in this sexy, smart eBook original romance from Ruthie Knox, they positively combust! When a buttoned-up banker falls for a bad girl, “about last night” is just the beginning.

Cath Talarico knows a mistake when she makes it, and God knows she’s made her share. So many, in fact, that this Chicago girl knows London is her last, best shot at starting over. But bad habits are hard to break, and soon Cath finds herself back where she has vowed never to go . . . in the bed of a man who is all kinds of wrong: too rich, too classy, too uptight for a free-spirited troublemaker like her.

Nev Chamberlain feels trapped and miserable in his family’s banking empire. But beneath his pinstripes is an artist and bohemian struggling to break free and lose control. Mary Catherine — even her name turns him on — with her tattoos, her secrets, and her gamine, sex-starved body, unleashes all kinds of fantasies.

When blue blood mixes with bad blood, can a couple that is definitely wrong for each other ever be perfectly right? And with a little luck and a lot of love, can they make last night last a lifetime?

Only $2.99, releases June 11 from Random House!

My Thoughts: I loooved Ruthie Knox’s debut novel Ride with Me, I seriously fell in love with her characters, her writing style and most of all her humour. So when after much stalking err.. I mean research I saw that her second novel About Last Night will be released just a couple of months later I was ecstatic! I’m telling you this because maybe due to my boundless enthusiasm for Ride with Me my expectations of About Last Night might have been a teeny tiny bit high.

After I was able to tear my eyes away from the gorgeous cover and read the blurb I was hooked: a sexy English gentleman paired with a bad girl? I wanted to read that! And both characters lived up to their descriptions.

Cath alias Mary Catherine is a reformed bad girl from Chicago living her days in London and trying to forget her past and her mistakes.

Mary Catherine Talarico 2.0 paid her bills reliably, drank rarely, worked her fingers to the bone, and, most important, avoided men like the plague.

That’s how she meets Nev, every single day while waiting for the subway. She gives her the nickname of City, because he looks very posh and refined in his expensive suit that screams businessman. They don’t know each other’s names, they haven’t even talked to each other, so Cath is shocked when one morning she wakes up in a strange bed in City’s apartment!

“I passed out,” she replied, attempting to steer the conversation back toward the safer ground of her humiliation so that she could get the details she needed and scurry home.
“I suppose you did. You were terribly tired. I made a pot of tea, and by the time I’d finished you were asleep at my kitchen table. I tried to rouse you, but you said, ‘Leave me alone,’ and then something that sounded very much like, ‘Don’t murder me.’”

Of course from this very moment the reader falls irrevocably in love with Nev (aka City) who is all that is gentlemanly and polite. As a modern knight without his shining armour he rescued a very drunk Cath from the subway station and when she wouldn’t let him take her to her apartment he gave her his bed. He is all that is thoughtful, polite and above all these very redeeming qualities he is handsome and sexy and an artist!

She tried again. “What was that, City?”
“You tell me, Yank.” His lips curved into that sexy smirk again.
“I’m pretty sure you just kissed me.”
“Yes, I did. Shall I apologize?”
“What for?”
“It was terribly impolite. I didn’t ask your permission.”

So yes, from this first scene where Cath and City talk on the morning after I fell for Nev hook, line and sinker. His determination when it came to wooing and getting to know Cath was the stuff of fairy tales and every girl’s dream *sigh* He is the ideal hero.

“You love her, don’t you?”
“Of course I love her. I worship her. I wanted to marry her. I’d marry her today if she’d have me. That’s not the issue. The issue is she won’t bloody have me.”

Cath is a troubled, confused and emotionally scarred young woman. The reader only learns the extent of her past and everything she went through at the end but through bits and pieces we can pout together that what she went through left her with a lot of baggage, some of it being distrust, cynism and self-doubt. My relationship with Cath was quite bipolar: on the one hand I felt terribly sad and sorry for her, but on the other her stubbornness to refuse Nev's healing love frustrated me.

The development of their relationship isn’t easy and most definitely doesn’t run a smooth course with Cath throwing all her objections and putting every possible obstacles in Nev’s way, but he just won’t give up, he won’t give up on Cath and what they could have.

Of course their love story was very sexy and flirty, but I mostly found it moving and emotional due to Cath’s scarred heart. Despite her though exterior she had a fragile vulnerability to herself that squeezed my heart and made me tear at times.

The ending was both an absolution and catharsis, an emotional climax purging the sad and depressive events of Cath’s life and giving her and us some hope and light.

“He’d painted her. Everything she’d told him, he’d painted. In ocher and vermillion, rendered by Nev’s hands, her life looked different. She looked different. She looked like a victim and a survivor, the final painting a redemption. He promised a happy ending. Her happy ending.”

I enjoyed About Last Night a lot (mostly due to Nev!) but due to its emotionally taxing nature and all the suffering Cath went through I couldn't connect with it or its heroine as much as I did with Ride with Me.

Verdict: About Last Night is an extraordinary story. Beautifully written it will squeeze your heartstrings and make you feel things. Ruthie Knox has proven once again that she has oustanding talent. If you haven’t read her books yet, it’s time you discovered her writing and if you are already a fan I’m sure you’ll join me when I clamour: “When will we get to read the next Ruthie Knox book?”

Plot: 8/10
Characters: 8/10 - Cath was too dark a character for me personally
Writing: 9/10
Ending: 9/10
Cover: 9/10

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