A little bit of housekeeping first. I’m going to start publishing these reviews twice a week instead of the current frequency. Life has started to get a bit busier, and though I considered giving the blog up altogether, I thought it would be better if I just pulled back and gave myself some breathing room instead. So I’m going to publish on Tuesdays and Thursdays, which seems reasonable enough and gives me time to get and stay caught up. In theory.
Now, on to the review…
I received an ARC of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
One Sentence Synopsis
A preacher’s daughter with a hidden wild side and a military dog trainer find a strong mutual attraction despite their differences. For a full synopsis, see this book’s Goodreads page.
Secrets of a Good Girl
Valerie’s father, the local preacher, expects her to be a good girl, to serve the members of the church, and to find an upstanding, if not boring, man to be with. But while Valerie does her best to please her father, she has a secret: she expresses her wild side through the romance novels she writes under a pseudonym. Unfortunately, she’s currently dealing with a case of writer’s block and could use some inspiration.
And Your Little Dog Too…
Inspiration shows up in the form of Griffin, a military K-9 trainer who decides to help train the little dog that Valerie is caring for while her owner is in a nursing home following hip surgery. Griffin is edgy and hot and someone she knows her father wouldn’t approve of. Which makes the fact that she wants him even more exciting. Also, he doesn’t just set her loins on fire…he also sparks her writing mojo.
Not only was this book romantic, but there are so many other emotions as well. Valerie is extremely sweet and spends her free time volunteering at the local nursing home, reading books to the elderly (she gets roped into reading her own book which was kind of funny and a bit awkward). Her relationship with her father is a bit heartbreaking. She wants him to show her warmth, but since her mother died when she was young, he’s been aloof, treating the members of his church more kindly than he does his daughter.
Griffin has his own issues. His mother has early onset Alzheimers, and he’s trying to come to terms with the fact that she never recognizes him when he visits her. It doesn’t help that their last interaction when she was cognizant involved them fighting and him running away. Now Griffin doesn’t know how to make her understand that he’s sorry for what happened and ask for her forgiveness when she doesn’t see him as her son in her declined mental state.
During the dog training, Valerie also helps take care of Griffin’s mother, showing him ways to connect with her. The two form a relationship and end up letting their mutual attraction take over. Valerie embraces the fact that an affair is just what she needs to finish her book, even if she “knows” that it’s just a summer fling and that Griffin has no intentions of sticking around in the fall.
The Romance Factor
Griffin and Valerie as characters were amazing, and together they formed this cute, slightly angsty couple who didn’t think the other would want anything long term. Their relationship wasn’t without its issues, though, and the conflict just made it that more emotional and worth the journey. 5/5
The Steam Factor
Though the sexy times were super sweet, they were also pretty tame. 3/5
There were many tears in this one. The topic of Alzheimer’s disease is one that makes me sad anyway, so the theme broke my heart. But there are also family relationships and friendships and other tragedies that are explored throughout the book. I loved the story as a whole, though, and loved that it took me through a whole range of emotions.