Thursday, September 4, 2014

Series Review: Camelot Series (1-4) by Ruthie Knox

How to Misbehave: A Novella: Camelot Series                                                                                                                                                                            Series: Camelot #1
Series: Camelot #1
Genre: Contemp  Romance
Publisher: Loveswept
Publication Date: 1/28/13
Format: Purchase
Pages: 96
Source: Publisher
Rating: 4 stars

GoodReads  |  Amazon  |  B&N 

What woman can resist a hot man in a hard hat? Beloved author Ruthie Knox kicks off her new Camelot series with this deliciously sexy original novella, in which a good girl learns how to misbehave . . . with all her heart.

As program director for the Camelot Community Center, Amber Clark knows how to keep her cool. That is, until a sudden tornado warning forces her to take shelter in a darkened basement with a hunk of man whose sex appeal green lights her every fantasy. With a voice that would melt chocolate, he asks her if she is okay. Now she's hot all over and wondering: How does a girl make a move?

Building contractor Tony Mazzara was just looking to escape nature's fury. Instead, he finds himself all tangled up with lovely Amber. Sweet and sexy, she's ready to unleash her wild side. Their mutual desire reaches a fever pitch and creates a storm of its own--unexpected, powerful, and unforgettable. But is it bigger than Tony can handle? Can he let go of painful memories and let the force of this remarkable woman show him a future he never dreamed existed?

My Thoughts

How to Misbehave was a very good novella and a great start to the Camelot series. It's really more of a prequel, with this couple, Amber and Tony, showing up as secondary characters in future books.

 We have sort-of naive and semi-innocent Amber stuck in a basement with the object of her affections, brooding and dark Tony. She wants to be more, explore and have fun. He thinks she's adorable and hot, but given his wild, destructive past, reckons he's no good for Amber. They had great chemistry and I loved seeing Tony fall for Amber, despite his intentions.

 I really liked How to Misbehave, and though it did feel complete, I wanted more of this couple and I wanted to know what happens to them. Amber and Tony do show up occasionally in the next two,
full-length books, and get another novella that completes the Camelot series. It goes without saying that I couldn't wait to get more.

Favorite Quotes

  It wouldn't happen. Still, this was the single most exciting conversation Amber had ever had. She didn't want it to end, so she gave herself permission to keep saying whatever came to mind, with no filter.
  "But you kind of want to do that? What you said?"
  "Say it."
  "You kind of want to--" Oh, Lord. "To fuck me on the floor?"
  She heard something give a soft thunk against the concrete. She thought it might be his skull. "Yeah, honey, I want to."
  "That's hot."
  Another soft thunk. "Jesus Christ," he said. "You're not a bunny at all."

  He didn't want to lose her down the road by screwing up what they had. But he didn't want to lose her over nothing, either, just because he was too scared to try to figure out his shit and reach for her.
  If she wanted him, he had to try to be the man she saw when she looked at him. He had to try, because God knew he wanted her.
  She could be his future.
  For the first time in as long as Tony could remember, he wanted to have one.

Along Came Trouble (Camelot, #2)Series: Camelot #2
Genre: Contemp Romance
Publisher: Loveswept
Publication Date: 3/11/13
Format: ARC
Pages: 448
Source: Publisher
Rating: 3 stars

GoodReads  |  Amazon  |  B&N 
Ruthie Knox’s Camelot series continues in this sizzling eBook original novel, featuring two headstrong souls who bump heads—and bodies—as temptation and lust bring nothing but delicious trouble.

An accomplished lawyer and driven single mother, Ellen Callahan isn’t looking for any help. She’s doing just fine on her own. So Ellen’s more than a little peeved when her brother, an international pop star, hires a security guard to protect her from a prying press that will stop at nothing to dig up dirt on him. But when the tanned and toned Caleb Clark shows up at her door, Ellen might just have to plead the fifth.

Back home after a deployment in Iraq and looking for work as a civilian, Caleb signs on as Ellen’s
bodyguard. After combat in the hot desert sun, this job should be a breeze. But guarding the willful beauty is harder than he imagined—and Caleb can’t resist the temptation to mix business with pleasure. With their desires growing more undeniable by the day, Ellen and Caleb give in to an evening of steamy passion. But will they ever be able to share more than just a one-night stand?

My Thoughts

Along Came Trouble picks up several years after How to Misbehave, and though they are connected, can be read as a standalone. This installment centers on Amber's brother, Caleb Clark and Ellen Callahan. When Ellen's famous twin brother, rock star Jamie Callahan falls for Ellen's neighbor Carly, the papparazzi descends. Jamie hires Caleb to protect Ellen and Carly, but Ellen's not having it. Of course, the two are wildly attracted to each other, but Ellen is reluctant. A bad marriage to a philandering alcoholic left a really yucky taste in her mouth, particularly when it comes to encroaching on her home. Amid gross moves by her ex to worm his way back into her life, a son that keeps her running all day and night, and her brother's grand gestures to win Carly back, being wooed by a gorgeous security expert is not on Ellen's to-do list. But Caleb manages.

I thought Caleb was such a good romantic lead. He was kind and honest, good to her kid and patient with her mean mouth. I got why Ellen would be wary of another relationship, but didn't jive with how ugly she could be to Caleb. Most men would've probably hit the road after being promptly shut down over and over, but Caleb must be a glutton for challenges. Once Ellen begins to thaw, I could see why
Caleb found her appealing and worth the challenge. By the end of the book, I bought them as a lasting couple.

While I liked Along Came Trouble, it didn't score a bullseye with me, a rarity when it comes to Knox's work. I think, for me, the story just had so much going on. There was a backstory with Jamie and Carly, one we don't get. We're just told these two fell for each other, and were supposed to care about them. Oddly enough, I did. I even began to prefer Jamie and Carly's story to Caleb and Ellen's, and wished that I had a novella to give me more of them, how they got together, what drove them apart. I felt lost. And then we had Ellen's ex, who showed up from time to time to jack with her and her son. Between this, the other couple and their shenanigans, I felt it all kind of detracted from the main plot.

Despite my gripes, I did like Along Came Trouble.

Favorite Quote

  The thought of Caleb in fatigues, with a gun, sent a frisson of excitement through her, which only amplified her mortification. She'd been married to a poet, and now she was the kind of woman who got hot flashes thinking about a guy with a bazooka. Soldier kind. She was hopeless.

Flirting with Disaster (Camelot, #3)

Series: Camelot #3
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Publisher: Loveswept
Publication Date: 6/10/13
Format: ARC
Pages: 448
Source: Publisher
Rating: 3.5 stars

GoodReads  |  Amazon  |  B&N 

In the latest eBook original novel in Ruthie Knox’s scorching-hot Camelot series, a no-strings fling looks an awful lot like falling in love—or flirting with disaster.

Fresh out of a fiasco of a marriage, Katie Clark has retreated to her hometown to start over. The new Katie is sophisticated, cavalier, and hell-bent on kicking butt at her job in her brother’s security firm. But on her first assignment—digging up the truth about the stalker threatening a world-famous singer-songwriter—Katie must endure the silent 

treatment from a stern but sexy partner who doesn’t want her help . . . or her company.

Sean Owens knows that if he opens his mouth around Katie, she’ll instantly remember him as the geeky kid who sat behind her in high school. Silence is golden, but he can’t keep quiet forever, not with Katie stampeding through their investigation. It’s time for Sean to step up and take control of the case, and his decade-old crush. If he can break through Katie’s newfound independence, they just might find they make a perfect team—on the road, on the job, and in bed.

My Thoughts

After Along Came Trouble, I was ready to get the story of the remaining Clark Sibling, Katie. I thought Katie was fun, and she certainly had an interesting backstory, given that she'd been secretly married for years to her high school sweetheart, who abandoned her. What a blow, right? Katie works for her brother Caleb at Camelot Security, and she's been hand-selected by the Sexiest Man Alive to work on his stalker case. Caleb puts fellow security specialist Sean Owens on the case, not knowing that Sean's had a raging case of the hots for Katie since high school.

So in Flirting with Disaster we get an long ago unrequited love story, but there's more. Sean's quiet, standoffish demeanor has Katie convinced he hates her. Not the case. Sean is a life-long stutterer. After leaving Camelot, Sean worked to improve his speech,but when he's around Katie again after years away, the stammer comes back in full force. Sean is painfully aware of how he sounds, and he's painfully afraid of being rejected by Katie if he begins to talk to her. But Katie, she is fantastic. She begins to care for Sean, and his speech makes no difference in that. I feel that Knox did such a
wonderful job of putting us in the mind of someone with a severe stuttering problem, which letters are the hardest to get out, the frustration that comes with it, and the concentration and calmness that is needed to deal with it. I feel like I learned so much while reading this, and like Katie, I could care less than Sean's speech isn't always smooth. He was a hot character.

But also a hot mess, when it comes to dealing with his past. Like in Along Came Trouble, this installment has a lot going on. He have Sean and Katie's burgeoning relationship, Sean's efforts to deal with his past, his decisions about his future, and in the meantime, the case they're working. And speaking of that, I could have done with a bit less of focusing on the secondary character of Judah, the celebrity they're hired to protect. He had his own heartbreaking history, but that and his own point-of-view being included in spots throughout the story, was all so much to take in.

I liked Flirting with Disaster, particularly Sean and his issues in dealing with his speech. That and the focus on his and Katie's relationship are what made this one work for me.

Favorite Quote
  "That's so romantic," she said when she could speak again. "Getting banged in the backseat of an SUV so you can check me off your bucket list."
  "Want a rose, sweetie? Should I recite you a p-poem?" He eased his way lower, kissing down her stomach. The heat of his breath on her cool flesh gave her goose bumps.
  "No thanks. Though if you gave me your letter jacket, I could spread it underneath me and make this 
a little more comfortable." ...
  "Sorry. I'd give you my academy blazer if I'd actually guh-gone to the academy."
  "I could never have sex on a blazer. It's against my principles."
  Sean had made it to her waist, and he tugged at her jeans. "Get these things off," he ordered. "They're in the way of my annihilating your principles."

Making It Last (Camelot, #4)

Series: Camelot #4
Genre: Contemp  Romance
Publisher: Random House
Publication Date: 7/15/13
Format: ebook
Pages: 136
Source: Purchase
Rating: 5 stars

GoodReads  |  Amazon  |  B&N 

RITA finalist Ruthie Knox returns with a brand-new eBook original novella, the finale of her delightfully sexy Camelot series!

A hotel bar. A sexy stranger. A night of passion. There’s a part of Amber Mazzara that wants those things, wants to have a moment — just one — where life isn’t a complicated tangle of house and husband and kids and careers. Then, after a long, exhausting “vacation” with her family, her husband surprises her with a gift: a few days on the beach . . . alone.

Only she won’t be alone long, because a handsome man just bought her a drink. He’s cool, he’s confident, and he wants to take Amber to bed and keep her there for days. Lucky for them both, he’s her husband. He’s only got a few days in Jamaica to make her wildest desires come true, but if he can pull it off, there’s reason to believe that this fantasy can last a lifetime.

My Thoughts

MY HEART. Making It Last squeezed so much emotion out of my heart. It was gorgeous.

I've previously stated that I wish Tony and Amber had gotten a full-length novel, and was happy to have them front-and-center again, more than a decade after they fell for each other in How to Misbehave. Well, not only did Tony give Amber lessons on how to misbehave, they've had a life together. A sexy, fun courtship, a surprise pregnancy that sparked fear and a wedding, three boys, good business, a bad economy, deaths and illnesses. Her siblings have married, he and his brother Patrick (from How to Misbehave) are estranged. It's a LIFE.

 And after all these years, Amber is lost. Knox did a phenomenal job of explaining Amber's life as a mom, how day by day, you can unknowingly lose small pieces of yourself, only to wake up a decade later and no longer recognize the person in the mirror. I've experienced the days of desperation, for just time to yourself, to not be someone's mom, cleaner, cook, carrier, to simply be a person. I've not experienced Amber's level of despair, but I've feared it.

 Knox also brilliantly portrayed a couple who've lost sight of each other. Now that, I have experienced and it is a terrifying prospect. When I read this, knowing exactly how lost and frightened Amber and Tony feel, when you've stopped talking about your feelings, when you don't know how to bridge that gap, or even realize that gap was there until you're about to fall. To not know if that other person would still choose you. That I understand and this is what broke my heart for these characters.

I'm not going to be coy, Amber and Tony do come through the story together, and it was tough and beautiful. Realistic and honest. There's no easy fix, honestly, just the commitment every day to do it together. Wedding vows are only the first instance of saying "I do". A good marriage, a happy and rewarding marriage is choosing to say "I do" over and over again. Making It Last is one of the best
marriage-in-crisis stories I've had the pleasure -because even when it broke my heart and I went into Ugly Cry mode, it was still a pleasure - of reading.
Favorite Quotes
  He lifted his head and looked right in her eyes, and she smoothed her hands over the crown of his head, letting his hair brush her palms and feeling frightened suddenly.
  They didn't do this anymore. Look at each other. Really look.
  She'd been afraid. So afraid that if she looked, he wouldn't be there.
  But here he was.
  Here was Tony. Still hers.

  She closed her eyes. Not because she was scared. Because she needed to savor it. To take the 
moment inside her, wrap it in tissue paper so she could get it out later when she really needed it. Tell herself, There it is. There. Not gone at all.

  "Can I tell you something, bun?" His voice was husky. Strained.
  "Anything you want."
  "You're the reason for everything. Everything I do."

  She was making him afraid, and it had to stop.
  He put his tongue in her mouth, his fingers plowing through her hair, pressing her into his body. Demanding everything she would give him, so she gave him all of it.
  Her love. Her fear. Her heart and her body, her disappointment in both of them that they should have spent so long cowering, afraid, instead of looking for each other.
  They could have been side by side this whole time. Holding hands in the dark.

Ruthie KnoxUSA Today bestselling author Ruthie Knox writes contemporary romance that’s sexy, witty, and angsty—sometimes all three at once. Her debut novel, Ride with Me, is probably the only existing cross-country bicycling love story. She followed it up with About Last Night, a London-set romance whose hero has the unlikely name of Neville, and then Room at the Inn, a Christmas novella—both of which were finalists for the Romance Writers of America’s RITA Award. Her four-book series about the Clark family of Camelot, Ohio, has won accolades for its fresh, funny portrayal of small-town Midwestern life. Ruthie also writes New Adult romance as RobinYork. She moonlights as a mother, Tweets incessantly, and bakes a mean focaccia. She’d love to hear from you, so feel free to drop her a line.


  1. I loved Amber and Tony so much and can't wait to get to their story. I didn't like Ellen but Caleb was hawt. I wanted to read Katie's story because hers intrigued me the most. I'm so glad you enjoyed these books. Great reviews

  2. She's one I still haven't managed to read. Ack! And Shame! lol I have that last one on the tablet. Guess I need to grab the rest pronto!

  3. I got a set of her books after your last glowing review. These sound good too! I'm glad you enjoyed them.

  4. I haven't read these but I love how she came back to the original couple. It's nice to see *after* the HEA

  5. Super reviews Andrea. And I you know I love Ruthie too :-)

  6. Oh this is the same author from the West and Caroline books, right? I really liked her writing. You should check those out if you liked these too.

  7. A worthwhile binge read! I have to try Ruthie Knox, I've been told time and again that her contemporary romances are really, really, good. I know I have the first two books in the series, these sound like great reads to break my usual fantasy streak.

  8. I'm so glad that Making it Last was the cherry on top, so to speak, Andrea. I know how much you love Knox and the first 3 in this series didn't really seem like all that - well, more so with the middle two. So I'm happy you got Tony and Amber's story and you're still a Knox fan! :)

  9. I've not read anything by Ruthie Knox yet. I am going to have to check her books out. Great reviews.


Comments are bloggy food. Feed me!

Recent Post