The Book Worm: Book review: Bending the Rules by Susan Andersen

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Book review: Bending the Rules by Susan Andersen

bending the rules by susan andersen book review


Genre: Contemporary romance
Offensive content: mild violence and some hot sex scenes. 

I liked this one. It is funny, witty and sexy. There isn't a lot of suspense, since you know who the bad guys are from the beginning. It won't broaden your horizons, but it won't burn any brain cells either and you'll spend a good time reading it.  

Bending the Rules is part of the Sisterhood Diaries, a series focused on three friends (Jane, Ava and Poppy) that have inherited the Wolcott mansion together and are working on restoring it and inventorying all the antiques. Bending the Rules is actually book 2 in the series. Book 1 is called Cutting Loose (Jane's story) and book 3 is Playing Dirty (Ava's story). I haven't read either book 1 or book 3 (yet), so I can attest that Bending the Rules fares perfectly well as a stand alone book. 

In Bending the Rules we get to know Poppy Calloway. Poppy is an artist and works several jobs to make ends meet, from designing boards and signs for the local stores to making and selling greeting cards. She also teaches art classes to groups of teens from low income or dysfunctional families that wouldn't have the means to learn and pursue their talents otherwise. 

The story begins when a group of merchants meet to decide the fate of three teens that have been caught defacing several of their store walls with their graffiti. Poppy gets an honorary seat in the meeting, and so does Jason de Sanges, a police detective working on the mayor’s special task force bent on discovering the culprits of a series of burglaries that have been plaguing the city. 

Now, Poppy and de Sanges have met before. We learn that he was the detective assigned to a burglary at the Wolcott mansion a year ago. And though even during that first meeting the chemistry between the two was off the charts, they actually dislike each other. De Sanges lives by the rules, convinced that if he strays from that road, he will end up in jail like the rest of the men in his family. Poppy, on the other hand, was raised by hippie parents and grew up in a commune. They therefore have totally different personalities that clash with one another, despite the underlying physical attraction. 

Poppy manages to stop the merchants from pressing charges on the three kids and enrolls them in a program by which they will repaint the stores walls they ruined and, in exchange, they get to paint a special graffiti mural. De Sanges is forced by his boss to accompany Poppy and the teens, which he clearly dislikes, since he believes he's wasting precious time when he should be out in the streets solving the cases he's assigned to. 

On an apparent side story, Cory, the teenage girl involved the above mentioned graffiti fiasco is witness to a robbery and is able to identify the man behind the wave of crimes de Sanges is precisely trying to solve. But Cory's past prevents her from going to the police and testifying, and this situation runs is parallel to the main storyline until the two merge in the end (no spoilers, you'll have to read it to find out). 

This book makes you want to laugh, cry and, sometimes, whack the characters in the back of their heads. The way Poppy handles the "at risk" teens, however, is very appropriately addressed, in my opinion, and the whole plot is well structured and makes sense. And Poppy and de Sanges? They are explosive together and the story flows into a happy ending that will leave you felling all warm and fuzzy. I personally recommend it. 



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