Sunday, August 24, 2014

Review: What I Love About You (Truly, Idaho #3) by Rachel Gibson

What I Love About You

Series: Truly, Idaho #3
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Publisher: Avon
Publication Date: 8/26/14
Format: eARC
Pages: 384
Source: Publisher
Rating: 4.5 stars

New York Times bestselling author Rachel Gibson returns to Truly, Idaho, and to the fate of sexy SEAL Blake Junger


Ex-high school cheerleader Natalie Cooper could once shake her pom-poms with the best of them. But she's paid for all that popularity—her husband's run off with what's left of their money and a twenty-year-old bimbo named Tiffany. Leaving Natalie to manage a photo store and having to see some pictures she, well, really shouldn't.


Then she comes toe-to-manly chest with Blake Junger. Exiled to a remote cabin in Truly, Idaho, Blake wants nothing to do with anyone. Instead, he's determined to struggle with his demons and win—all on his own. But the last thing he needs is Natalie distracting him with her luscious curves and breaking down the barriers of his heart.


My Review

Thank goodness for What I Love About You!

When I picked this book up, I was coming off a run of underwhelming books. As a true lover of romance, I was so disappointed that I wasn't falling in love with, well, two people falling in love. I wasn't feeling the spark, the fun and passion that comes with two characters falling in love.

Me: "Is it just me?"
Husband: "Is what just you?"
Me: "I don't like anything I'm reading. I don't feel anything for these characters and to be honest, they is about as intriguing as listening to my parents talk about what to fix for Sunday dinner."
Husband: laughs
Me: "I mean, am I broken? What is wrong with me?"
Husband: "Well, you are kind of an asshole."
Me: "I know that. But seriously, what is happening here?"
Husband: "Maybe it's PMS."

Never let it be said that I'm not melodramatic about my books. And yes, I did let my husband live.

My point is, What I Love About You had that spark, that vibrancy that I love in romance. It had two characters that had a strong attraction, with reasons to fight that attraction, and ultimately, they had to be together. It had intensity, passion, and that unnameable IT factor that made this book that shine.

I met Blake Junger in Run to You, which featured his identical twin Beau. What's better than one hot, gruff man who's not looking for love but finds it anyway? That's another hot, even gruffer man! Yep, Blake Junger is a big ole grouch, and I like it. And this type of grouchiness, it wasn't "poor pitiful me, I'm broken and want to be left alone" type of assholery. It was more like "Get off my lawn", or, the Harrison Ford type of grouchy. Yeah, that's right, the delicious type.

Though I think a lot of it is his general disposition, Blake had reasons to be cranky. He's an alcoholic, resigned to his sobriety and sixty days sober at the opening of the book. In fact, the story opens with him being tempted by a bottle of Johnnie Walker. So when the neighbor girl comes over to chat, Blake isn't in a good spot. He's grouchy, not in the slighted interested in getting to know Charlotte, though he's hot for her momma Natalie. But see, when your an ass to a kid, moms don't take kindly to that, even if you're a ridiculously hot, built, surly ex-soldier. Especially when you're a woman whose heart was destroyed when the man you'd loved your whole life embezzles money and leaves you for a twenty-year-old the morning after you've told him you're pregnant. After struggling with infertility for years. So no, given that Natalie is wary of relationships, and Blake is a ginormous asshat, she's not exactly swooning at the beginning of the story. But Blake, despite himself, quickly starts to fall for Natalie and her daughter Charlotte. He even shares custody of a dog with the kid. He soon turns from surly to interested, but knows Natalie will want more from him than a one-night stand, or even friends-with benefits. Natalie is a forever kind of woman, and Blake is not that kind of man. But in romance, those kinds of barriers can never withstand what the heart wants. As it should be.

This "relationship", fueled by antagonism and attraction is what drove much of  What I Love About You. And I dug it. When Blake and Natalie finally give into the attraction...DAMN, it's hot! I also appreciated what Blake and Natalie offered what the other was missing. That being with her helped calm Blake's addiction, and that the man who thought he didn't need love, finds that Natalie's love suits him perfectly. And as for what Blake offered? Well. Besides the physical, he's a good man, and very protective. Though it started begrudgingly, he's good to Charlotte, considering the little kid as his best friend. *swoon* Blake's a total badass, which should be obvious considering he'd spent twenty years in the Armed Services. But also a badass when it comes to protecting those he cares about.

   "Are you afraid of your ex?"
  She was afraid he'd charm her daughter's susceptible heart. "I'm afraid he'll try and take Charlotte from me."
  The cool in Blake's eyes turned frosty. "When the lead starts to fly, I'm a good man to have around."

And sweet Charlotte! Seeing this cute little girl help open Blake's heart and slowly win him over was pretty special. Though I'm a mom myself, I sometimes find kids in romance to be annoying, particularly when their extra precocious. Gibson found a nice balance here, with Charlotte's involvement only enhancing the story.

This is the first book in the Truly, Idaho series I've read, and I found it to be a good standalone novel. Those who've read the first two books should be happy that former leading characters are mentioned several times in the story. I was happy to see Beau and Stella -Blake's twin and his fiancee-from the Lovett, Texas series. Blake and Beau together in one room is almost more than a lady can take, as Natalie will attest.

 So yeah, What I Love About You was an excellent book, full of humor and romance, and characters that I truly embraced. Thank you, book, for winning me over and proving that my feels are just fine.

Favorite Quotes

  When it came to good-looking men, Lilah wasn't sensible and was prone to sins of biblical proportions, and ever since Lilah read Fifty Shades of Grey, she overshared the details of her kinky sex life.
  Natalie turned her attention to her neighbor and his hard eyes staring into hers. She had bigger concerns right now then Lilah and her Ben Wa balls.

  The direct action mission was what he needed to clear his head. To remind himself that he was a security contractor. A man who spit and swore and scratched his balls. A man whose buddies spit and swore and scratched their balls. Not a man who had a five-year-old for a best friend and whose mother gave him blue balls.

  "Please," Lilah whispered in her ear, "get laid by that man."
  "He just came here to return Charlotte's hat."
  "Bullshit. He looks at you like you're sex on a stick. His eyes got so hot, I'm surprised your clothes aren't singed. Now pull your stick out and get in there," Lilah said, suddenly sounding like football coach. "Take notes. Take pictures. Take one for the team and tell me everything."

The Truly, Idaho Series
Truly Madly Yours (Truly, Idaho, #1)  Tangled Up In You (Writer Friends, #3)  What I Love About You
(covers lead to GoodReads pages)

About Rachel Gibson

Rachel48Rachel Gibson is a New York Times and USA TODAY bestselling author of fast-paced contemporary romance novels. Publisher’s Weekly proclaims Rachel’s “clever, snappy dialog amuses at every turn” and “With humor and eloquent prose, Gibson brings substance and depth . . . to modern day romance.”

Four of her novels were named among the Top Ten Favorite Books of The Year by Romance Writers of America. Two of her novels, True Confessions and Not Another Bad Date, were awarded the RITA, Romance Writers of America’s highest honor of excellence. Some of Rachel’s other awards and achievements include The Golden Heart Award, the National Reader’s Choice, Amazon Editor’s Top Pick, Publisher Weekly’s Quill nominee, Borders bestselling romantic comedy and Romantic Time’s Career Achievement award.
When not writing, Rachel can be found shopping for shoes or looking for strange and unusual flowers to plant in her garden.

 photo AndreaSig_zps3f75055b.jpg


  1. "As a true lover of romance, I was so disappointed that I wasn't falling in love with, well, two people falling in love." I can 100% see you being upset about this. LOL! I love reading about you and Eric bantering :D that's something I always fall in love with btw ;) you're so cute together! Anyhow, I'm glad that What I Love About You managed to get you out of your somewhat romance slump. "What's better than one hot, gruff man who's not looking for love but finds it anyway?" THIIIIIIIIS!!! "Harrison Ford type of grouchy" is something I'm very much up to ;) antagonism and attraction is a good combination and super glad to hear that you loved this piece of work :)

  2. I am so glad this book made you feel that spark again! There is nothing like a string of bad books to really put a damper on reading. This sounds really good. Great review Andrea!

  3. Haha! I love the sound of this super grouchy hero! I think I would really like him because I have a soft spot for grouchy heroes. I think kids in books can be irritating too sometimes, but I do love them in real life. I'm glad to see that Charlotte was a nice addition to the book. I love the kids in the On Dublin Street series too. So much cuteness!
    Anyways, I'm so happy this book managed to make you re-fall in love with romances, Andrea! Lovely review! :)

  4. Okay, this series, and this book in particular, sounds great. I love an antagonistic relationship because...well, they're fun! And I also am a fan of kids playing an integral role in the story. :)

    I'm so, so happy you found a book to end your funk, Andrea. I was getting worried with your string of 'meh' reads. Happy Monday!

  5. The spark and vibrancy has my attention and glad that it got you out of the underwhelmed state of reading

  6. I want to read this for the simple fact that I love when a guy is tamed by a kids lol

  7. Hahaha, thanks for sharing that convo.

    I'm like that too, I felt like that with my review yesterday, questioning if it's me or the book. Oh well, at least yours turned out better.

  8. "Husband: 'Well, you are kind of an asshole.'" LOL!! I've been feeling like that with books, too. I can't find one for my pre-squee or books that I want to write a lovely, long review about. Sounds like I need to check this one out, just in case it will solve my book blues!

  9. Im,so happy you liked this! I hope you get to read more of her books. The first two books in the truly series are my favoritest ever. The chinooks hockey team series is my second favorite :)

  10. Oh my gosh. I didn't know about this one! I loved the other two that are connected to this town. Ahhh So gonna buy! Oh the hubby is a hoot.

  11. Hah, love the conversation with your husband! That's great you really LOVED these two, as that's the main thing in a romance, after all. You have to feel the spark. :)

  12. This guy sounds like a Kristen Ashley alpha male and to that I say "hell, yes!" Here you go adding to my TBR again, Andrea! I have had a run of just okay reads lately, too. Nothing that really has knocked my socks off so I'm definitely checking this one out! Wonderful review! :)

  13. I've had a few lately too. But I love it when a book helps you see that it's not you. So glad you loved this one.

  14. I've heard such good things about this author. I can't wait to check more of her books out. Great review!


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