on May 14, 2004
If you like Rachel Gibson, you will like Susan Donovan. This is one of the more funny, entertaining, romances I have read. I loved it. Another one of those books you read in one sitting.
Autumn Adams (aka Audie) has taken her mother's place as Homey Helen, an advice guru to the Martha Stewart crowd. But someone has been sending her threatening notes. Finally she calls in the police. Sounds familiar right? WRONG!
Detective Stacy Quinn (aka Quinn) is unlike most other detective characters I have read. He is funny, steady, neat, and has a wonderful family. All the things Audie thinks she is not, and his family fills her with envy.
The search for her stalker, leads to several ex-boyfriends. And a wonderfully humorous attraction between her and Quinn. You will be wishing to have a loving family like the Quinns, too.
As the stalker gets more violent in his notes, we are truly mistified as to why any one would want to harm Audie.
From the wonderful characters to the twisting plot, I was enthralled. Great entertainment. Don't miss this book.
I look forward to more of these books by Susan Donovan!
on September 4, 2003
When writing about Irish-American families (and I am of Irish descent) there's a thin line between pride in one's heritage and ridiculous cliches and stereotyping (one reason I hated the movie The Brothers McMullen - oh yes, we always wear Aran sweaters, Guinness T-shirts and carry our shillelaghs!). With the Quinn family the author walks to the edge, but doesn't cross the line - well maybe a toe or two over. Police detective Stacey Quinn is from a large rambunctious Irish family very free with the laughs, hugs and tears. Autumn "Audie" Adams is from a wealthy, cold and dysfunctional WASP family, which has had the unconscious effect of sabotaging her relationships with men.
Audie's mother was Chicago's version of Martha Stewart, Homey Helen, and since her death the year before, Audie has reluctantly stepped into the role. She'd rather go back to her teaching and soccer coaching, but she made a deathbed promise to her mom to carry on with Helen. But when she begins to receive death threats and sick gifts, it looks as though someone does not like the new Helen. Audie is finally persuaded to involve the police, so enter detective Quinn.
Quinn and his partner have been assigned to her case, and Quinn is attracted from the word GO! She's his fantasy come true - a combination of Martha Stewart and Carmen Electra - or so he thinks. But the more he gets to know her, the less she fulfills that fantasy. Oh, she's beautiful and sexy, but she's no Martha. She can't cook or keep house, she's a bit of a slob and has definite klutz tendencies (she refers to herself as "kind of a spaz"). So why does his attraction keep getting stronger?
Audie is no less attracted to Quinn, but to her chagrin, part of his investigation includes digging into her (failed) past romantic relationships in case one of her ex-boyfriends is the stalker. How humiliating, now he'll find out exactly how much of a spaz she really is! But to her surprise, his interest has not waned and after a few dinners and a sail on Lake Michigan she finds herself meeting his family. What a revelation that is! These people are warm, gregarious, feisty and fun - nothing like her sterile, cold unemotional family. It's almost too much for Audie - that feeling of belonging, warmth and joy. Is it possible for her to be a part of that? Is she capable of loving someone and being a part of a family? Her doubts cause all sorts of problems. And there is still a stalker to be caught, and since one of the suspects, one of her ex's, is also a guy Quinn has hated since childhood, is he able to be objective or are there other suspects that make more sense? Who would gain the most if Audie quit being Homey Helen? Read this book and find out!
Susan Donovan is fast becoming a favourite author for me. I also loved her second book Take a Chance on Me. I enjoy her sassy sense of humour and her warm, often quirky way with characters. I look forward to reading her 3rd book, Public Displays of Affection, when it comes out. Highly recommended!
on August 30, 2003
This book was awesome! Parts of it were extremely funny, and I found myself laughing out loud. All of the characters seem real, too... they all have their little flaws, quirks, etc., and Quinn and Audie each aren't what the other expects, despite their overwhelming attraction to each other. For instance, Quinn starts off picturing Audie in leopard-print underwear, only to be disillusioned by discovering her sleepwear consists of old soccer jerseys and white cotton panties instead. Secondary characters are also appealing and have depth. Quinn's family is vastly appealing in the strength of their familial love and the support and banter between them.
I liked that although this book is a pure joy to read, it's not shallow or forgettable. The mystery is actually a good part of the plot, as opposed to other romance novels I've read where the mystery is either ridiculous or easily ignored. I liked the fact that Quinn and Audie didn't just jump into bed with each other, despite the obvious and instant sexual tension. They got to know and like each other first. The dialogue between Quinn and Audie is interesting and witty, not to mention sexy, and the love scenes are REALLY good when they happen. I've read about 200 romance novels so I know what I'm talking about here, Quinn is one sexy man. (while boyishly shy sometimes outside the bedroom). Read this book! you won't regret it.
on August 18, 2003
I first picked this book because of Lori Foster. She recomended it in her website and I love her, so I thought it would be a good book. After reading what it was about I was majorly turned off. I didnt bought it. Then I got a lengthy excerpt from a group i belong to, and decided to give it a chance. Boy, after reading the first part (of 5) I wanted the book immediately.
This book is refreshing, original and funny as hell.
Autum is Homey Helen, a Chicago Martha Stewart. But she lands in that position because her mother (the original Homey Helen) made her promise before she died.
But Audie (Autum) is getting threat letters and a dectective (Quinn) is sent to check what is going on and protect her. The attraction is instantaneous. Now I dont like this type of book where it is all too sudden, but in this book, it worked perfectly. You can tell the why, what and how of that attarction.
Soon the letters post a date for Audies death. Quinn and Audie can barely keep their hands from each other, and Audie is metting all of Quinn's family, who are a happy, loud, woderful bunch.
She is not used to have a close family. Not familiar with love, and at the 1st sign that her and Quinn's relationship is shifting to love she flees.
The person behind the letters is really sick, and it's probably not expected for most people.
The book was fantastic I finished it in no time. It is beautiful and I highly recomend it!
on March 3, 2003
You are going to love this book. There is nothing not to like really. Audie is fun, sassy, and likable, and Detective Stacey Quinn is YUMMY! These two people are so opposite in personality, social situation, and family that it is fun to read about them falling in love.
Audie is being stalked by someone that reads her "Homey Helen" column. She does not know who the stalker is and finally takes the advice of her friend and co-worker to get the police involved.
Detective Stacey Quinn is brought on to the case and he can't believe that he is looking at his dream girl a Martha Stewart/Carman Electra cross. He basically falls in love with her as she falls at his feet literally on the first meeting.
These two people soon find themselves not only hunting for Audie's stalker, they are also trying to solve Audie's mother's murder, and trying to do their best to fall in love.
This was a fast paced page turner full of laughs, tears, and good old fashion chemistry. This one will Knock You off Your Feet!
on January 13, 2003
With "Knock Me Off My Feet," Susan Donovan gives us one of the better contemporary romances I've read in quite some time (and I read most of the major ones that hit the market).
The two main characters are very believable and appealing. Donovan manages to write some of the better developed main characters I've seen in years. In addition, the minor characters are accessible and attractive.
The romance between Audie and Quinn crackles with wit, heart, and sensuality. Donovan gives us some great love scenes, as well as wonderful romantic development.
The "suspense" plot, however, stumbles a bit; the motives and personality of the eventual villain aren't fleshed out well. In addition, while the romance between Audie and Quinn is generally developed well, the final resolution doesn't quite have the punch I would have liked.
Still, this is a top-of-the-line contemporary romance with a great deal of wit and some very accessible characters. Definitely recommended.
on January 2, 2003
Autumn "Audie" Adams was known as "Homey Helen" of Chicago. She ran a household hints column. Her mother, the original Helen, was mugged and murdered a little over a year before. With her dying breath, Helena made Audie promise to take over the column. It was NOT a job Audie enjoyed, but she was very good at it. Shortly after Helen's death, Audie began to receive threatening letters. They were easily ignored, until they became violent.
Detective Stacey Quinn was of the Chicago Police's Violent Crimes Division. He and his partner, Stanley Oleskiewicz, were given the job of catching Audie's stalker. They decided to begin with her ex-boyfriends. The number of them surprised the detectives. (Audie never could hold a relationship together.) The names on the list were famous too. However, one name in particular jumped off the list to smack Stacey.
To Stacey, Audie was the perfect woman for him. Convincing HER of that fact would NOT be easy though.
***** I could not stop reading this one. I found it to be full of wit, terrific secondary characters, and some very hot love scenes. I cannot think of a better way to begin my reading of the new year! I have hopes that Stanley will get his own novel. VERY HIGHLY RECOMMENDED! *****
Reviewed by Detra Fitch.
on December 30, 2002
What a terrific book, along with a refreshing story line. There's a lot going on in this book, aside from the police investigation, as to who's responsible for the threats to Homey Helen. We have the baseball and soccer events, the great Irish family get-togethers, and of course the romantic angle. For a new author, keeping all this in balance and still remain unequivocally entertaining, says a lot!
As the relationship develops between Audie and Quinn, you find yourself rooting for them to succeed as a couple. Audie needs a real family, and who better to give that to her than Quinn? I fell in love with Quinn and his family. The background characters were well developed, and were almost a story within a story. Also, given the intensity of the threats against Homey Helen, the humor in the other parts of the story keep this book from becoming too bogged down. Plus, the finger points in more than one direction as the identity of the stalker, and keeps you guessing right up to the end. Can't wait for Susan Donovan's next book!!
on December 25, 2002
This was a book that I picked up on a whim while in the bookstore because I had a few extra dollars and I thought that it might be mildly entertaining. It has one of those pink cartoony covers that seems to denote a certain style of romance that is usually rather light. As a result of that impulse, I was pleasantly surprised to find myself reading a very entertaining book and discovered a new favorite author.
Autumn Adams is an unloved daughter who makes a death-bed promise to her journalist mother to carry on her helpful hints column. Audie, as she's known to her friends, has no homemaking skills whatsoever, but she is photogenic and becomes a star in her own right. Unfortunately for her, someone is planning to kill her. Into the story enters Detective Stacey Quinn, and the story traces their mutual attraction, his family, the threats on her, and the family history that has stunted her emotions.
The main characters are engaging, the dialogue is fast-paced and realistic, the secondary characters are sufficiently developed to make them interesting, and the mystery works well to drive the plot (even though I guessed early on who the bad guy was). I wound up liking the characters in the book, liking the way the relationship developed, liking their quirks and foibles. It's one of those books that once you start it, you have to finish it. And, based on the included teaser for Ms. Donovan's next book, I'll be buying that one also.
on December 21, 2002
Autumn "Audie" Adams inherited the Homey Helen persona from her mother, who was the Martha Stewart of Chicago. However, Audie and her staff become alarmed when she begins receiving threatening notes from her top fan as well sick presents like dead roses.
Violet Crimes Detective Stacey Quinn and his partner Stanley Oleskiewicz are assigned to investigate. Stacy initially believes that Audie made the whole incident up as an excuse to escape the Homey Helen job that she loathes. However, after a tirade, he begins to believe her. As the two cops investigate every aspect of Audie's life, they conclude the stalker is someone close to Audie because of how much the unknown assailant knows. As the danger mounts, Audie and Stacey fall in love, but first her shadow must be stopped.
KNOCK ME OFF MY FEET is an amusing contemporary romance that contains the ultimate star-crossed lovers: a White Sox fan and a Cub rooter. Readers will enjoy the sparks between the lead couple whether they are in her car, the ballpark, or her office, etc. Both swing the bat hoping this time they hit a home run and not another emotional strike out. The police procedural takes a back seat to the romance so that the increasingly nasty actions of the stalker never quite attain the suspense it should have reached. Still Susan Donovan provides a fun Windy City tale.