her best worst mistake by sarah mayberry was a surprise. now, i've read almost all of mayberry's harlequin blaze and superromance novels, and it wasn't a surprise that it was good. mayberry has been on my must buy list for a while. what surprised me about this book was that it was self-published. i'm not sure why harlequin chose not to publish it, especially since they published the companion story to this one in september 2010 and it seems to fit in with their brand perfectly. i imagine it fell between the nuances of the number of books she was contracted to do and the amount of time between sequels.
to be fair i have seen sequels in literary fiction and non-fiction published with much larger publication gaps, and if the amount of time was indeed the reason harlequin didn't publish this then i think that says something non-complimentary of readers of romance. but i'm not touching that with a ten-foot pole!
in any case, i didn't love hot island nights, the characters really annoyed me. so i didn't have the highest hopes for the characters in her best worst mistake. but i was pleasantly surprised, i really liked them and was honestly rooting for them to get a happily ever after sort of ending. i do think that the hero lost a bit of his personality as the story went on, and that the heroine was being ridiculous about the one obstacle to the relationship, but i don't think that these problems would have been fixed with professional editorial help. and this is the point of my writing: there are many kinds of self-published books, what impressed me about this one was how professionally it was done. it was a well-put together kind of book. and i think that's pretty impressive when you are working without the resources of a large imprint.
one thing that i did find interesting was that by not being subject to the "rules of a brand" that harlequin would insist on, the characters' dialogue and thoughts were more realistic. while there are people in the world who make a point of never swearing, sometimes the world harlequin builds is so vanilla, even in its steamiest series no one ever curses. and that kind of prudishness is kind of startling.
especially since i have a hard time getting so offended by cursing. it's just words. their power depend on context, the occasional "fuck" as a conversational punctuation has never bothered me. i think too many people spend too much time dancing around it. as long as you aren't being insulting or degrading i fail to see the need for hand-wringing.
i digress, ultimately, mayberry is wonderful at telling romantic stories full of emotion and real depth of feeling. she has real talent, and it was cool to see it uninhibited.