ARC-Review: BAD BOYS DO by Victoria Dahl

Olivia Bishop is no fun. That’s what her ex-husband said. And that’s what her smart bob and glasses imply. So with her trademark determination, Olivia sets out to remake her life. She’s going to spend time with her girlfriends and not throw it all away for some man. But when an outing with her book club leads her to a brewery taproom, the dark-haired beauty realizes that trouble—in the form of sexy Jamie Donovan—may be too tempting to avoid.

Jamie Donovan doesn’t mean to be bad. Sure, the wild streak in his wicked green eyes has lured the ladies before. Now it’s time to grow up. He’s even ready for a serious romance. But how can that be when Olivia, the only right woman he has ever met, already has him pegged as wrong?

Author: Victoria Dahl
Series: Donovan Brothers Brewery, book 2
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Publisher: HQN Books
Year of release: 2011, September 27
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Source: Requested e-ARC from publisher via NetGalley

First line:
This wasn’t a book club; this was a manhunt.

Memorable Scenes:
-Hot tub scene > sweet and hot
– Gwen’s jaw drops to the floor scene > so funny
– the mirror scene > smokin’ hot
– phone call from Olivia’s mom > she was memorable in the sense that I wanted to smack the condescension right out of her!
– the scene where Jamie finally gives Eric a piece if his mind > made me teary-eyed
– Jamie decking Victor > I so wanted to do that myself

Olivia Bishop is a 35 year-old teacher who has decided she is going to take her life in her own hands after living under her ex-husbands thumb, wishes and whims. She’s a planner and a list-maker (hmm, that sounds familiar), proper and prim and competent and calm. She also has difficulty forming friendships.

Jamie Donovan is a 29 year-old bartender and part owner of the Donovan Brewery. He’s a persistent stickler, charming and sweet. But he also has guilt over his past behavior eating away at him. Though Jamie has this aura of being the black sheep of the family, the bad boy with no sense of responsibility, I think this image is more in his mind (and amplified by his older brother Eric’s behavior towards him and regard of him) than that he really is.

Nonetheless, he decides to show his family he’s capable of taking things serious and starts following courses on food and beverage management at college so he has a foundation for his plan to turn the Donovan Brewery tasting room into a pub that serves simple meals. Jamie strikes a deal with Olivia. He helps her loosen up and have some fun and she advices him on his plans for the tasting room. I loved how Olivia thought she and Jamie were so different, but deep down with all the superficial layers stripped off they weren’t all that different.

I really liked Jamie. He exceeded the expectations I had of him after reading the first book. But I loved Olivia too. At first her hang-ups over the age-difference annoyed me a little but because she stopped making those remarks pretty soon into the story I really warmed up to her fast. I recognized quite a few things from myself in Olivia, which made it easy to relate to her. I think one of the reasons I really liked this book was that certain things about Olivia just struck home with me and I always love books or characters that do that.

This second book of the trilogy was much more to my liking than the first book. For one I liked the romance in this book better because it was the romance that was the centre point of the book. The chemistry and dynamics between Jamie and Olivia were awesomely done and I was happy to see there is no suspense plot to distract from the lovely romance. There are still things going on however but they all fit within the romance-driven storyline and complement it rather than detract from it.

I don’t know what it is with this trilogy but at the beginning of this book I again missed Victoria Dahl’s trademark humor. I missed it a lot in Tessa’s story and though it got way better a bit further into BAD BOYS DO and my faith in Victoria Dahl’s contemporary magic was most certainly restored, I’m a little sad that the humorous note to her writing in this trilogy doesn’t seem to reach the level of her Tumble Creek books.

However, what I missed in humor was more than made up for by emotions. Especially the second half of the book was pretty emotional. Not only did the tension between the siblings (more importantly Eric and Jamie) get kicked up a good notch but also the escalation of the conflict that was brewing between Olivia and Jamie reached its highpoint.

I really hope Eric gets a taste of his own medicine in his book because in these two first books he was a real ass (no other way to put it), especially to Jamie and I couldn’t figure out why. There were moments I strongly disliked Eric in this book…but he did some good groveling so in the end so he’s tentatively starting to squirm his way back in my good graces. Someone who will never be redeemed in my eyes is a-hole Victor, Olivia’s ex-husband…Man I wanted to smack that guy right out of this book! But ah well, if I could’ve done that, there wouldn’t have been much of story, would there?

BAD BOYS DO is a cute and sweet character and romance-driven contemporary romance that I really enjoyed because of the trope, the romance and the great characters. After a (for me) rocky start, Victoria Dahl has completely reeled me completely back into this trilogy with this great read and I’m now anxiously eyeing my e-Galley of REAL MEN WILL and can’t wait to see how Eric will get his due.

Favorite Quotes:
Now that the smile was directed at her, Olivia found herself mute. Her lips parted. Nothing came out.
“This is Olivia,” Gwen volunteered.
“Hello, Olivia.”
Good Lord. How did he make the few syllables of her name sound like a kiss. A deep, slow kiss. Olivia actually shivered.

Boy, she was regretting that generously padded bra now. False advertising and potential daylight nudity did not mix.

“Please tell me he calls you Ms. Bishop while he licks you like a lollipop.” (Gwen to Olivia)

He felt strange. Not himself. Not charming and easy and smooth, but mindless and rough. He wanted to find everything she’d never done, just so he could be the one first. He wanted to take her so thoroughly that she’d have no inclination to move on to a third lover, or a fourth.

She didn’t know what this grief was. She couldn’t love him, not so quickly. She couldn’t feel betrayed; he’d never promised her anything. So what was this awful ache?

He hadn’t taken anything, because Olivia had given herself, and there was power in that. She was going to take that power and turn it into something amazing. She was going to emerge from this smarter and stronger. But first she was going to cry like a baby and let herself mourn what she never had.

3 thoughts on “ARC-Review: BAD BOYS DO by Victoria Dahl

  1. I totally agree with your review. I didn't love Tessa's book but really enjoyed this one. I loved this couple. I am not going to read Eric's book though. I just don't like him! But maybe you'll be able to convince me. ;)

  2. Julie, can you really not read the third book in a trilogy? Won't you be curious after all?Great review Pearl, I am looking forward to reading those books some day.

  3. JulieNever say never. In my last book I had a woman I thoroughly disliked and now she's badgering me to write her story….perhaps she resented being written off as a supercilious snob… so now she's taken over my mind… and get this she blacks out and thinks she's in Hell with The Devil… and she's even tainting the book I have to write for an editor so don't write off a bad character…they can come back funnier than ever… Great review this is now on my TBR List

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