ARC Review: Prose Before Bros by Cathy Yardley

Posted November 13, 2019 by Kate

ARC Review: Prose Before Bros by Cathy YardleyCheck out on Goodreads | Buy on Amazon
Genres: Adult, Contemporary Romance
Series: Green Valley Library #3
Publisher: SmartyPants Romance
Source: Social Butterfly PR

Nothing about being a librarian prepared Thuy Nguyen for such a wide variety of casseroles. Or life in a small town. Or becoming a farmer.
But what can she do when her catastrophe-prone best friend begs her for help? After all, Maddy has always been there for Thuy. It’s time to return the favor.
It’s simple really, all she has to do is: learn everything about farming ASAP, save her BBF’s family business from disaster, and avoid being caught staring at Maddy’s biker brother, and his muscles, and his smile, and his soulful, sexy eyes.
Oh yeah, and she should definitely not fall in love with him.
Easy, right? . . . Right.
'Prose Before Bros' is a full-length contemporary romantic comedy, can be read as a standalone, and is book #3 in the Green Valley Library series, Green Valley World, Penny Reid Book Universe

DisclaimerI received this book free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review, but it does not influence my opinion of the book nor the contents of this review in any way.

Let me start by saying Penny Reid is one of my favorite authors. Now after reading that statement, you may be asking me, “Why the heck are you talking about the lovely and wonderful Ms. Reid when this is not her book?” To that I would say, you are correct! But you are also wrong. Ms. Reid an author and the founder of SmartyPants Romance, which is a kind of small publishing venture that she’s started up. Basically, other authors write extensions to her stories! No, that’s not right. Other authors write their own stories, just set in the Pennyverse, in the world she’s created and with characters, she’s written about as side characters. That makes more sense, right? 

In the other SmartyPants Romance books, Ms. Reid’s characters were a great touch of nostalgic window dressing. They weren’t main characters or even ultra-important side characters. For instance, in Prose Before Brosour main character Drill is someone was also a side character in Winston Brother’s books, and there were other side characters in this book who were side characters in Ms. Reid’s version. 

Prose Before Bros follows Thuy Nguyen as she follows her pregnant and single best friend – Maddy Blount – to Green Valley, Tennessee in order to take over her Dad’s farm after he passes away. She knows nothing about farming but manages to land a part-time job at the Green Valley library, where she is able to bring in a secondary income for the “family” and use her skills. 

This how she meets Teddy “Drill” Blount, an Iron Wraith’s loyalist for 16 years and running. According to Drill, and his brother’s in the Iron Wraiths (a motorcycle gang), his brothers in the club are the extent of his family. But he can’t resist stopping over to see Maddy, his former sister when he hears that she arrives in time for their father’s funeral pregnant and with a female in tow. But he finds that he can’t quite stay away from the spitfire that Maddy brought home with her… 

“There’s a great quote by John Waters. He said we need to make books cooler gain. So if you go home with somebody, and they don’t have books, don’t fuck them […] Librarian’s gotta have her standards, even for one-night stands, Drill. Sorry.”
He hadn’t read a book since he was required to, back in high school. And he hadn’t read a  book since was required to, high school. He thought about lying, but knew she’d see right through it. “I’ll pick up some books right away,” he drawled. “Read right through ’em. And then maybe we can revisit the situation.”
She blushed. It was adorable.

It was a toe-curling moment, I’m not going to lie. Teddy is a sexy mother.

Thuy herself was a bit of a surprise. I thoroughly enjoyed her determination and strength of character, and it was evident throughout the whole novel. She was not willing to back down an inch in her belief in herself or her standards. If she wanted to learn to farm, she was damn well going to learn. If she needed a job, she was damn well going to find one. And if she needed to stand up for her beliefs in Young Adult literature, alternative forms of reading, and teen life in the library, she was going to do so, even if it risked her job. 

As a person who’s enriched in the publishing community as I am, I thoroughly enjoyed the discussions as she went toe-to-toe with the head librarian to bring the library into the modern age. There were three archaic computers – only two that worked – and teens were only allowed an hour of playing time, even if nobody was waiting. YA was nonexistent among the shelves and wasn’t put on shelves even if given by donation. Not to mention, there was no investment in large print books, comic books, graphic novels, ebooks or audiobooks. Not to mention, no inter-library lending. Awkward! 

“Can I buy you a drink?”
She tilted her head, a small smile playing at the corners of her full lips.
“That’s probably a bad idea,” she said.
“You can talk to me about books,” he said, wiggling his eyebrows.” 

Drill, or Teddy, depending on who you are talking to, was an interesting character, too. As an Iron Wraith, I was prejudiced against him from the beginning, but I was turned around by the end. I know Drill was present before in Ms. Reid’s book as a side character, usually side-by-side with Catfish, but I can’t remember how he was. If he was really thuggish, I’d be disappointed. I’ll have to see when I go back and reread all the Winston books here soon. But Ms. Yardley did a great job writing his emotions. His desperation really stank up the pages, especially there in the end.

This book was the first book where the Wraith’s actually felt like a threat. In the other books where the Wraiths are present, especially in Love in Due Time, they were just kind of like an immaterial, non-believable threat. But in this one, I was on the edge of my seat and had no idea how this one was going to go down. The suspense was yanking me around by my heart. Read my review of book 1…

Thank you SmartyPants Romance for the title, of course, and to Social Butterfly PR for the work you do ?

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Have you read any of Penny Reid books? What are some of your favorite hate-to-love romances? Let me know in the comments below, I’d love to hear from you! 

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