Adult Contemporary Romance
Publication Date August 5th 2014
New York Series #1
Kindle format provided by publisher via Netgalley
RITA finalist and USA Today bestselling author Ruthie Knox kicks off a steamy new series set in the city that never sleeps—alone, at least. May Fredericks hates New York. Which is fair enough, since New York seems to hate her back. After relocating to Manhattan from the Midwest to be with her long-distance boyfriend, NFL quarterback Thor Einarsson, May receives the world’s worst marriage proposal, stabs the jerk with a shrimp fork, and storms off alone—only to get mugged. Now she’s got no phone, no cash, and no friends. How’s a nice girl supposed to get back to safe, sensible Wisconsin? Frankly, Ben Hausman couldn’t care less. Sure, it’s not every day he meets a genuine, down-to-earth woman like May—especially in a dive in the Village—but he’s recovering from an ugly divorce that cost him his restaurant. He wants to be left alone to start over and become a better man. Then again, playing the white knight to May’s sexy damsel in distress would be an excellent place to start—if only he can give her one very good reason to love New York.
It's been a while since I've read a Ruthie Knox book. I kind of need to pick my jaw up off the floor because TRULY just blew me away. This simple yet beautiful story about a woman learning to become the person she is deep inside instead of who everyone wants her to be and a guy who has carried the burden of false expectations on his shoulders for years, was amazing. Beyond amazing actually because I got so absorbed into the story of May and Ben I didn't want to put it down. It was so bad that at one point I wanted to call in sick for a movie date with my friend. Of course she would have understood because she understands the value in an amazing story but I digress. Truly made me feel things I haven't felt in a while. Self exploratory things that made me want to take a long hard look at myself and change a few things. Knox really knows how to open a character and fully incorporate the reader into her world and it's wonderful.
So...May is an absolute riot. She's quiet and reserved and doesn't speak up about what she wants until it gets to a boiling point and then she does something drastic. Like stab her boyfriend with a shrimp fork and run off with a strange man she just met. This chick was seriously a lot of fun and a character I wanted to be just like when I grow up. She's lived her whole life being told what's acceptable and how to act, dress, look, and feel. All the while bottling up the REAL May. The person she's always wanted to be. It takes a shake up like her breakup and meeting a gruff angry New York chef to open her eyes to who and what she really is. Fantasizing most of her life away has caused her nothing but trouble and jilted expectations with not only the men in her life but her future aspirations as well. May's self discovery throughout the story was brilliantly done. Not rushed and not slowly drawn out to the point of boredom. Just perfect. She needed to wake up and live LIFE and not let it pass her by with silly daydreams of what she THOUGHT it should be like. From her clothes to her hair and the things she says have all been repressed in a way and I loved watching her bloom so to speak. Being a tall woman has always caused her some self image issues so that's another point in her corner for the reader to experience. Whether you're tall, thin, fat, black, white etc, you can relate to someone feeling less than best in life because we all have our days when we feel that way.
Ben. The angry chef/bee-keeper/gardener is one of my top favorite book guys...probably ever! He was surly and stubborn and sometimes he was mean but getting to the heart of his issues helped me understand that he was dealing with a lot. From his childhood with an angry father who struck fear in him early on and left him a pent up aggression he has never understood about himself. I found that Ben was just in need of an outlet to vent that anger in a healthier way. Not that he needed someone to force him to change but he needed someone like May to question everything he thought he wanted. Even though she pushed him a little bit he needed it in a way. A failed marriage, a restaurant he no longer owns and a career path he wants but isn't necessarily good for him are all struggles he's been facing alone. Ben was a guy I could see myself in and that rarely happens with guy characters for me. His anger and the unintentional way he lashed out when cornered emotionally was something I tend to struggle with as well. When people got too close to the truth about him he did the only thing he could to protect himself. A sort of defense mechanism that usually only worsens the intended effect. I loved this guy so much! It's not just the fact that he's an asshole in need of an attitude adjustment it's the fact that it's fun and exciting to watch them start to change into a better version on themselves. That awkward push and pull of knowing you need to be a better person but stuck in the rut of how you've always been was captured so honestly about Ben's character.
Falling in love with someone after a week seems entirely crazy and unrealistic. But not when you spend the majority of that week breaking down each others' walls and digging deeply beneath the layers of what's not real and finding what is. May and Ben don't click immediately, both too wrapped up in their own bullshit to see two feet in front of them. But they have a spark, and as it smolders it burns bright like a brush fire in California. A friendship begins over darts and beer in a GreenBay Packers bar in the middle of New York. That's one of the main things I loved about this story. The two characters are from Wisconsin and root for my favorite football team! They explore the city and tend to Ben's bees and before either of them know it, it's too late for anything else and they are too far gone for each other. I loved watching them fall and how they picked up on little things the other did. Whether it was Ben watching May come out of her shell or May standing by Ben's side as he discovered what he really wanted in life the relationship between them felt natural and right.
The first several chapters go back and forth between Ben and May and I was all into it. So much so that when the perspective jumped to her sister after a while it was a little jarring. At first I didn't understand why the author would jump from the main characters to a secondary character but the further I read the more I saw the validity of Allie's character. While May is playing "Tourist" with Ben in New York, her sister is having a marriage meltdown over whether to stay with her fiance Matt or break it off while trying to hold down the fort with May's ex Dan and her family. Once I got used to Allie having a small part in the story I started to fall in love with her. The situation she's in broke my heart a little bit for her. It's never easy having to let someone down right before such a big occasion but her courage got her through. Plus maybe a little help from her big sister and some alcohol had a minor part in it. She was adorable and seeing how well her and her sister were developed together as a family has me looking forward to the next part of this series that will hopefully be about Allie. I expect some big things for her and I can't wait to see what kind of trouble she gets into. Especially if New York had anything to say about it.
TRULY was such amazing read and I am so glad I took time out of my day to experience the growing pains and the love that came out of this book. I've got myself a book hangover and it's been a while since I've had one but I'll need to sleep on it and let this story absorb into my bones before I will physically be able to start anything else. Of all the Ruthie Knox originals I've read, I think TRULY stands out among my favorites of hers. In fact, I'm having a hard time not picking it up and starting over with again just because I want to relive all the amazing feelings I had while I read. Fans of Knox will be pleased with this romantic and realistic couple who find each other during crazy circumstances. If you're a new comer you couldn't have picked a better book than TRULY to start your KNOX-perience.
He couldn't go by what his gut told him. His gut was a Neanderthal. All it wanted was to eat and fuck and win at things. If he wanted May to stay, he had to figure out what someone else would do in this situation. Someone with better instincts. eARC 23%
He felt brighter just being next to her. Like she could transmit all that enjoyment to him by touching him. Inoculate him against every dark obsession, every bad memory. eARC 40%
She kissed his scratchy jaw. His chin. His mouth. The spot where his hairline almost met his ear. Passion, she thought. This is passion. Stupid-looking from the outside, but awesome when it caught you and dragged you along for the ride. eARC 43%
"I don't know what Einarsson ever said to you, if it was your fault or somebody else's or just the whole goddamn world, but you're sexy, all right? Your legs are sexy, your tits are sexy, your face is beautiful, you smile like the fucking sun coming up. Anybody who disagrees with me is an idiot, May. You got that? Are you hearing me?
"I want you. I want you with me."
And even if he leaves for good, I have to learn to be that person he sees. I have to decide whether I'm going to be her all the time, or whether I'm going to settle for less, even knowing I could have had more. That's the lesson of New York. That I get to choose. Not whether to walk off the cliff, but whether to fall. Whether to believe I can hold myself up. eARC 83%
About The Author:
USA 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.