Sandra Ardoin @SandraArdoin
I certainly don’t review all the books I’ve read, but too often, my reviews are for novels from the large Christian publishers. In many ways that’s a shame. They get plenty of publicity on their own and smaller publishers and indie authors put out some engaging books. One of those is Marji Laine’s Ain’t Misbehaving from Write Integrity Press. This first book in the Dallas Duets series is set in (of course) Dallas, Texas.
I’ll be honest, one of the reasons this former, long-time Dallas resident enjoyed it was the fact that it brought back memories of places like Turtle Creek and White Rock Lake and my work for a former Dallas mayor.
Another was the heroine. I cared about what happened to Annalee Chambers, a young woman with a good heart, which could be her undoing. Then again, maybe not.
With her father running for mayor, Annalee’s sentencing to community service doesn’t sit well with her family, especially her controlling and ambitious mother…and sister.
Annalee almost glowed at her sister’s defense.
‘My family has lived in the county for over a hundred years, and my father is running for mayor. If anyone is hardworking, he is.’
And there went the warmy-fuzzy. Splat. Ramona couldn’t help her attitude. Her ancestry and the social circles in which she ran meant everything to her, as they did to Mother.
‘Yeah? And that makes you think you gots the right to run over innocent folks in the street?’
‘If he hadn’t been in the street, she wouldn’t have run him down.’
Oh, yes, that was much better.
Poor Annalee. Pleading guilty in an accident seemed to be the right thing to do. For it, she’s assigned community service hours at a non-profit afterschool program where she meets the “janitor” CJ Whelan. CJ has his own family problems, as well as issues with the wealthy—like the Chambers family. But he’s a true hero when it comes to those in need, including Annalee.
This story contains a number of antagonists determined to ruin the lives and romance of the hero and heroine, either for their own self-interest or the good of the main characters. It also contains its share of humor, insecurities, bold moves, applaudable secondary characters, and spiritual insight.
Ain’t Misbehaving is an enjoyable start to this new series and a sweet Valentine’s treat. I give it 4.5 stars for its romantic escapism as well as the author’s ability to make us care for and want the best for the main characters.
Do you have a favorite book centered around Valentine’s Day?