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Baby, Don't Go (Southern Roads Trilogy) Mass Market Paperback – 15 Nov 2011


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Stephanie Bond was several years into a corporate computer programming career when an instructor in her night school MBA program remarked that she had a flair for writing and encouraged her to submit one of her projects to academic journals. "But," Stephanie says, "all I could think was 'I wonder if I could write a romance novel?'" Bond grew up on a farm in eastern Kentucky where the entertainment choices were few. Luckily, she had a beloved aunt who shared her passion for reading. "When she visited once a year, she brought boxes and boxes of gothic novels by Victoria Holt and Phyllis Whitney and lush historical romances--I was in heaven! So suddenly thinking about writing in the genre of the books I loved was very exciting." After writing every spare moment for two years, Stephanie sold her first romantic comedy manuscript, IRRESISTIBLE? to Harlequin books. Two years later, she walked away from her corporate career to write commercial fiction full time. To date, she's published over 60 romance and mystery projects with Random House, St. Martin's Press, HarperCollins, and Mira Books, and is most well-known for her BODY MOVERS humorous mystery series. Her newest series is TWO GUYS DETECTIVE AGENCY (about two sisters whose last name is Guy). Stephanie lives in midtown Atlanta and is probably working on a story at this very moment.

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Amazon.com: 43 reviews
9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
No, Really, It's Okay - Go 13 Nov. 2011
By Tracy - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Mass Market Paperback
She works as a reporter for a militant feminist magazine, so when Alicia Randall finds out about the town of Sweetness, GA, she's practically salivating over its potential as an investigative reporter's gold mine. Sweetness had been wiped off the map a decade ago when a deadly F5 tornado steamrolled the place. Now three brothers, all former residents, are dedicated to working together to organize the rebuilding and make a completely advanced green town, environmentally friendly in every way.

Alicia finds it hard to appreciate the nobility of the effort given the brothers' unconventional actions. Apparently starved for female residents, they took out an ad in a northern newspaper, an ad written to entice single women to join some sort of estrogen-induced migration and settle in the man-rich town of Sweetness as it's being rebuilt. It's positively barbaric!

Full of righteous indignation on behalf of women everywhere, Alicia sweeps out of NYC and into Sweetness, GA. Armed with little more than her ideals and her disdain for Sweetness in general and the Armstrong brothers in particular, she goes undercover as a new resident, determined to unearth all the dirty little secrets of the town - and the brothers - and take them national.

Alicia wasn't anticipating the full scope of the culture shock. She wasn't expecting such a provincial existence. She certainly wasn't expecting the Armstrong's eldest brother, Marcus, who is definitely the man in charge of Sweetness and its rebuilding. Still, Alicia clings tightly to her militant feminism as she surreptitiously investigates the goings on in Sweetness, though her grip gets a little looser every time she and woman-weary Marcus lock horns or butt heads - which seems to happen with dismaying frequency.

Soon it's all Alicia can do to get to the heart of Sweetness without losing her own. Her career is riding on it, her life in New York is riding on it, and absolutely without one doubt, her future is riding on it.

~*~

I was a little leery when I started this book. I'm a firm believer in equal rights for...well...everyone, really, but militant anything - including feminism - makes me itchy, especially when it appears to be little more than excuse for man hating and fear of being hurt. That's not my idea of an ideological or sociopolitical platform. Sure, I'll joke about men being the weaker species (they so are, poor dears), but I'm not real keen on turning the battle of the sexes into bloody warfare, either.

That made reading this book a chore when faced with a main character who uses militant feminism as both a sword to skewer anyone, male or female, who isn't living according to her own "ideals," and a shield to protect herself from risking her heart on a relationship that could end in pain. And when it became clear that a large part of her feminism was rooted in the wounds she got as the child of divorced and frequently remarried parents, she also seemed a bit of a poser. Alicia was far too self-righteous, judgmental, and elitist to be sympathetic or even likable. And while part of the plot was obviously her slow evolution into a kinder, gentler feminista fascist, it didn't happen soon enough in the story to redeem her in my eyes.

With that unfortunate truth, the rest of the book wasn't able to offer enough entertainment to raise my opinion any higher than average. The plot was still pleasant, though predictable and formulaic, and the other characters were perfectly fine. I enjoyed Marcus quite a lot, actually, and frankly felt he deserved better than the deceitful and snobbish Alicia. His brothers made me chuckle, too - they were sort of like overgrown puppies the way they yapped at and harried Marcus for every little thing.

Maybe I'm viewing the book through too harsh a lens. I've read other books by Bond and know that she writes more towards the light, fluffy, and sexy end of the romance spectrum, and I know that this book was intended to be similar in tone. My problems with the lead character, however, made me tone deaf, and the rest just wasn't quite enough to truly entertain me when balanced against her.

That's not to say the book didn't have it's fun, flirty, sexy, and sweet moments. It absolutely did, and for all that Alicia annoyed me throughout the majority of the book, at the end she had become a far more likable character. The book ended on a high note, and I was particularly enamored with the epilogue. Those points in the book's favor at least saved it from the two star rating of a disappointing read.

Disclosure: An ARC of this book was provided to me by Mira Books publisher Harlequin via NetGalley. This rating, review, and all included thoughts and comments are my own.

~*~*~*~
Reviewed for One Good Book Deserves Another.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Sweet 1 Dec. 2011
By Scave31 - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Mass Market Paperback
The final installment of the Sweetness, Georgia, books (Southern Roads Trilogy) was...well, sweet. I loved seeing how the town had progressed and how it had grown. But when it came to the romance of Alicia and Marcus, it felt just...sweet. I didn't feel much passion between them, and although I rooted for them to be together, I felt that their romance wasn't really developed as much as I would have liked. They spent little time together getting to know each other and had really very little opportunity to fall in love, I thought. It felt more like three separate stories - Marcus's story and Alicia's story and the story of Sweetness -- but not much like the story of the couple.

Still, in the end, I was satisfied, if a little under-inspired, with the story and with how the story concluded.
Trite and tedious 17 May 2013
By Kate M. - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Mass Market Paperback
The plot line is great, the idea that three brothers are trying to recreate the town that they grew up in after an F5 tornado decimated it. The idea that they're trying to create a green community is also enjoyable. It's only that many of the characters are too formulaic, too stereotypical that led me farther and farther into disliking the book.

I did finish this. I was invested in the characters from the first two books, and even though they were good rather than great they were the kind of escapist reading I was looking for. This one had such a nasty female protagonist I couldn't see any way for her to become a lovable character. She does, of course, otherwise it wouldn't be proper escapism. But neither character can really stay true to his or herself and still make the happy ending, so people had to undergo unrealistic changes to get to the end. This is so unpleasant that I might not re-read the first and second books because I'll know that getting through the third book will be a chore and I like to read an entire series together. So much so that one of my favorite authors is working on book 35 or 40 or some such and when I know it's coming out I'll go back and re-read all the previous books in order to enjoy a seamless transition to the new book. If you haven't guessed, I don't recommend this book. Book 1 had some troubling transitions in it, but I cared enough about the characters to want to go on. Book 2, again, there were a lot of, why do they do that moments. The ones that you know that why they do it is to forward the plot but you just can't believe that people are that relationship stupid. Maybe they are, but there are limits to credulity, to the amount of change a character can exhibit in the space of a month without wondering if aliens took them over, and this third book crossed those limits. I wouldn't have liked it, but it would have worked better for me if the two central characters went with, you're a person unlike any I would ever want to spend time with and ridden off into their respective sunsets.

Since this was the audio edition I'll say that the narrator was perfectly competent though not great. She didn't make me want to either look for or avoid books she's narrated.
entertaining regional romance 15 Nov. 2011
By Harriet Klausner - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Mass Market Paperback
A decade ago a tornado destroyed their small town in the Georgia Mountains. However, the three Armstrong brothers want to rebuild Sweetness. The only problem with their plan for greening Sweetness is the lack of women. Thus they advertised for females to settle in their town renovation project.

Feminine Power magazine reporter Alicia Randall reads the ad asking for women to come to the Georgia Mountains and her journalistic instincts smells a con. Leaving Manhattan she goes undercover as Alicia Waters to expose the Armstrong brothers as fakes. Although his two younger siblings believe in the ad that has brought love into their lives, the oldest Armstrong brother Marcus remains a skeptic who has a rebirthing town to run. When he and Alicia meet, he changes his mind about the embarrassing ad while she plans to use the boudoir to seduce the truth from him. The reporter runs into two problems while going under the covers with the town leader. First she uncovers no sordid secrets and second she falls in love.

The final Southern Roads contemporary romance (see Baby, Drive South and Baby Come Home) is an entertaining regional romance as big city meets rural town. The story line is character driven as is the previous entries. Although somewhat similar in tone to the previous Armstrong falling in love tales, the lead couple brings the freshness as she is undercover and he is the skeptic. Stephanie Bond provides an engaging tale in a warm series.

Harriet Klausner
Good to see the town grow 27 Nov. 2011
By rhonda - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Mass Market Paperback
review:Baby Don't Go by Stephanie Bond
4 STARS

I really like this series about the town of Sweetness was destroyed by a F5 strom. Only the water tower survived. The Armstong brother came back home to rebuild the town. They brought in lots of workers that lived in a bunkhouse. But no women, so they put out ad in Broadway Michigan for women and offered a free room and board lots of single guys. To help build a town again with green jobs and buildings stronger.
Alicia Randall writes for a magazine feminist. Alicia is a afended by the asking for women. Alicia goes undercover for her stories so she heads to Sweetness. Alicia walks into the dinner to ask for a job and comes out manager.
The manager just quit but everyone who had worked quit and the food not good.
Marcus is not looking for a relationship he is too busy building the town so when inspectors come they will get the grant and the land of Sweetness belongs to the
residents.
I have read a few of the stories and have liked them and would love to read the books that had already come out. I was given this ebook in exchange of hones review from Netgalley
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