Thursday, September 15, 2011

Impressions: Good Girls Don't by Victoria Dahl

Too much of a good thing…
With her long ponytail and sparkling green eyes, Tessa Donovan looks more like the girl next door than a businesswoman—or a heartbreaker. Which may explain why Detective Luke Asher barely notices her when he arrives to investigate a break–in at her family's brewery. He's got his own problems—starting with the fact that his partner, Simone, is pregnant and everyone thinks he's the father.

Tessa has her hands full, too. Her brother's playboy ways may be threatening the business, and the tension could tear her tight–knit family apart. In fact, the only thing that could unite the Donovan boys is seeing a man come after their "baby" sister. Especially a man like Luke Asher. But Tessa sees past the rumors to the man beneath. He's not who people think he is—and neither is she.
Good Girls Don't by Victoria Dahl is a solid contemporary romance with excellent secondary characters. The central characters are the focus, even when the others make an impact. The main female protagonist is a bit immature, but is both fun and passionate. The dialogue and situations are amusing and keep the reader engaged. There were enough conflicts, both internal and external, to keep me interested in the story from beginning to end.

I loved the scenes between Tessa and Luke, they sizzled with passion and steam. Luke was a man worth having and I love the fact that he doesn't care when the brothers' interfere. He respects them, specially Eric, but not enough to give up the budding relationship he has going with Tessa. (LOL on the virgin scene). I loved that he stood up for his partner too without making excuses or having to give up that relationship for anyone.

Tessa is a first class manipulator and control freak and that's the main crux of her problem in this story. Manipulation and control that come by way of her fear of losing those she loves. She begins small throughout her life until she goes too far. Although fun and a bit of a contradiction because Tessa seems to be a rather sexy and independent woman on the surface, her character tends to be frustrating because of her tendency toward those immature actions and reactions, however, Dahl works out those issues satisfactorily in the end for Tessa and Luke.

Eric and Jamie are both strong and compelling secondary characters. Jamie as the spoiled and rather immature younger brother, fighting to show that he can and has changed, and Eric as the older brother that not only took charge of the business when his parents died in a tragic accident, but raised both his siblings and now has a problem letting go of that parental role.

Overall this is a contemporary romance that I enjoyed reading from beginning to end because of its mostly engaging characters and interesting, amusing circumstances. I'm really looking forward to reading the next book in this contemporary series, Bad Boys Do.

Category: Contemporary Romance
Series: Donovan Brothers Brewery
Publisher/Release Date: HQN Books/August 30, 2011
Grade: B

Visit Victoria Dahl here.

Good Girls Don't, Book 1
Bad Boys Do, Book 2 (Releases September 27, 2011)

ETA: Thanks to Leslie for her thorough review, it convinced me to read this book. :)


  1. I liked everything about this book, except for Tessa. She got on my nerve and I really thought she was immature. I understand her being afraid, but ugh. Just the way she lied and everything.

    I really liked Luke though and it was great to see him stand up for his partner, even though it made him the target for rumors.

    Also, I think we don't give Jamie enough credit. Okay, so he screwed up or screwed the lady and the deal... but it turned out to be a good thing. Also, he's trying to get more responsibilities, to grow up... but the people around him won't trust him... so what can he do?

    I think I'm going to read Jamie's book. I liked him :)

  2. Hi Nath!

    I'm sorry you didn't like Tessa! I liked her, even with her immature ways... it was frustrating at times, though. But to be honest, I thought that both she and Jamie were in the same category for me. They were adults in certain ways and acted like kids in others.

    Jamie? Well, yeah... he was trying there at the end, and he's cute but hmm... he still has a lot of growing up to do too. I understood Eric's reluctance to trust him because Jamie has a bad reputation for good reasons and had yet to prove himself. Now that he's trying though, Eric needs to learn how to let go too.

    I can't wait to see what happens next... I'm definitely reading Jamie's book. :)

  3. I was ok with Tessa thru most of the book and really enjoyed reading it, but there was a point (about 200 pgs in) where it felt like enough was enough, and she should've come clean and stopped lying/manipulating. Unfortunately, my breaking point came before hers did. lol

    I enjoyed Luke a lot more, though I was a little uncomfortable with how strongly he refused to say anything about his ex, even after he and Tessa became involved. It spoke too much of unresolved issues/feelings for me.

    I'm looking forward to the brothers' books!

  4. Tessa's manipulations didn't bother me much, which surprised me. LOL Maybe it was because I liked Luke so much it balanced it out. :)

  5. Renee, I had a similar reaction to Tessa's actions as the story moved along. I thought both Eric and Jamie deserved better from her. In the meantime, I enjoyed her a lot during the developing romance with Luke.

    Luke, yes... he took too long to come forth with those feelings. They both had issues. I did like the way it ended though...

    Leslie, yes I know what you mean. Tessa's behavior didn't really include Luke (her problem in the story was with her brothers). I liked that Luke pegged Tessa, and that he really "saw" her. I also liked that she talked to him about certain issues that she couldn't discuss with her brothers. Maybe that's the reason it worked for me too. Thanks for the recommendation BTW, I'm really looking forward to the next book. :)

  6. Nice review, Hils. You got me interested in this book, but I have to say all these comments sold me even more. I see both similar and differences of opinions about the characters... makes it all the more interesting.

  7. Lovely review Hils. I'm kind of on the fence. I can get the control freak part of the character, but the lying and manipulating I'm not so sure on... *dithers*

  8. You're welcome Hils. :) In case you didn't know, the next two books are both on NetGalley if you're interested.

  9. Christine, this looks like it's going to be a nice straight contemporary romance series. There are not enough of those out there. I'm definitely reading the next two books. :)

    Orannia, I see what you mean... the character actually tried to control through lies and manipulation. She mainly used these traits on her brothers and hmm... there are reasons behind it all. Thankfully she doesn't use it on Luke.

    Leslie, thanks for the heads up!


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