Genres: Contemporary Romance
Published by St. Martin's Griffin
Released on April 11, 2017
Source: NetGalley, Publisher
A socially awkward heroine takes her online relationship to Idaho to meet the hunky man she has been communicating with over months. Said man really exists, but isn’t who she thinks. This leads to misunderstandings and one liners that will have you laughing as you groan from the pain.
In Dirty, we meet a whole new set of characters living in a small town Idaho, a spin-off from the Stage Dive series. A group of friends who have grown up together, some siblings and a bunch of outsiders come to tame them, or so it seems. Dive Bar seems to be the central place all of them work or hang out.
The story opens up with confusion as Alex decides to act upon a romance she has been building with Eric. Hoping to surprise him on his birthday, she flies in after getting all dolled up beyond what she is comfortable only to find Eric is the guy she has been chatting with, but instead is actually Joe, his older brother. Joe isn’t exactly a cover model, but more a lumberjack kind of guy who has misled her. Ego taking a hit, Alex storms out into the rain only to get sick with a fever.
Joe feeling awful, follows her to her room and ends up nursing her back to health, but also making it clear he isn’t looking for love, nor is she his type. But….let’s be friends. Yeah, while Alex doesn’t think he is also her type, she doesn’t know if she can be friends with a guy who betrayed her in such a way. Unfortunately she is stuck in town, ill and relying on the help of strangers.
The characters grow larger than life throughout the story as we get to know them. They are deeper than the sum of their appearance, which both of need to learn. Lesson number one: “Don’t judge a book by its cover.” The different facets to their characters slowly come forth as they get to know each other. Alex is good with art, or designing something from nothing. Joe is a carpenter with dreams of restoring an old building into apartments.
Alex is held back from leaving her comfy home in Seattle by the fact that she is socially awkward. She owns her own business, but keeps most of the interactions online. She has great parents from what I can tell, but her one true diamond in the rough is her friend Valerie, a transgender female. I loved Valerie! She the back bone that held Alex up, but also the one who protected Alex. These two have history that explains why.
Dive Bar is owned by Eric, Joe’s brother, and Nell, the sister of the hero in Dirty, Vaughan. Nell is pregnant with Eric’s baby (a very bad one-night stand) and divorced from her high school sweetheart. Lydia, part owner as well now, is still so in love with Vaughan and making a go of their relationship. Rosie the waitress, the grumpy cook, the music store owner, tattoo artist and more all round out characters that make you fall in love with this ragtag band of characters.
Alex and Joe have a tough road to go in this story. There is no insta-love or over-riding lust, but honest people. They need each other in ways they have to learn to accept, but really it’s tough when your world is all topsy-turvy. The story felt rushed in the end, which I didn’t particularly like. Told completely from Alex’s point of view, I would have really liked to see inside of Joe’s mind.
This is probably just me, but I confused their names a lot as I read. Alex and Joe can go either way for gender names, but I kept switching them up at times.
Joe is a guy I could like but not fall in love with as he can be gruff. He has a good heart though and is really good with his hands *eyebrow wiggle*. Alex reminds me a lot of myself. Kind of a hermit, good at seeing things as she wants and making it happen. These two make a pretty good couple.
Alex is a bad boy with a heart of gold! Bad Boys of Romance
Literary Pickers – Love Across the Miles/On-Line Lovers/Blind Date
This makes Review #10 for 2017 that I have written.
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