Monday, March 21, 2011

Monday Review Contest: Quick Study by Gretchen Galway

* Note - every Monday I'll write a review of a romance novel and also host a contest, giving the winner a free copy of the eBook on Kindle. Follow the contest rules for a chance to win!

WARNING: minor spoilers.

Most of my online time these days is spent creating the basic social media tools needed to become a successful independent publisher these days: a Facebook page, a Twitter account, a blog, an account on Smashwords, WattPag, LibraryThing, Goodreads, etc. I learned about Quick Study, by Gretchen Galway, on the Kindleboards - which is like graduate school for independent publishers of eBooks. But that's not what I want to talk about. I want to talk about light bondage and fucking random strangers as a method for earning a graduate degree.

Now, when I went to graduate school, fucking random strangers as a research method to finish my thesis was, oddly enough, never offered to me by my advisor. That would have been so much easier than conducting early 1990s-style, pre-Internet research (with teletype and faxing "new methods") in a foreign language, or inhaling mold spores in old archives.

Bonnie Angelo sets out to do just this - but falls in love with stranger Paul Ash in Gretchen Galway's debut novel, Quick Study. As with any contemporary erotic romance, there are a few wrinkles on the path to the ever-necessary "happily ever after," or HEA, ending. The book isn't just a contemporary erotic romance - I'd classify it as a romantic thriller as well, for there's a plot twist involving Bonnie's unorthodox research methods that takes what could have been a standard (though well written) "meet'n fuck 'n fall in love" and turns into more into a well-done novel with some erotic elements.

Within the first 30 pages I was so hooked that I pawned my three kids off on the husband and read Galway's novel straight through. The characters are believable without being corny. Humor doesn't overwhelm the piece, nor does Galway make the mistake so many contemporary romance authors make - substituting sass and sarcasm for the funny. I laughed out loud at a "Say Anything" reference that might go over the head of the under-25 crowd (don't be offended if you're under 25 - just go rent the movie. Trust me).

The erotic scenes are well done, and Galway builds the tension between the characters by crafting various obstacles - both internal and external - leaving the reader with a strong understanding of what each character is thinking without overwhelming the prose with too much "in the head" time. She shows and she tells - and the balance is good, hot, wet and satisfying.

By the end of the book I wandered out into the living room to find my husband playing Uru, three happy kids, and a completely destroyed living room. Small price to pay for an enjoyable read. This is Galway's first book and, I hope, not her last.

Available on:

In this inaugural Monday Review Contest, here's how to enter: Tweet this blog post with the hash tag #mondayreviewcontest

That's it! One winner will be randomly chosen to receive a copy of the book - I'll use the Kindle book gift program to do it, so make sure you either have a Kindle or that you've downloaded the Kindle free app to read books on your PC, Mac, iPad, iPhone, Android or Blackberry.

Good luck! Winner will be announced here on Friday, March 25!


  1. Thank you, Harper! You can believe I'm your blog's newest, biggest fan. I loved writing Quick Study, am relieved you got the Say Anything reference, and thrilled you couldn't put it down.

    I was very curious to know how readers would classify the story--as an erotic contemporary romance or just a contemporary romance with a high heat level?

    The novel I have coming out in April (Love Handles) will be less steamy (in terms of percentages of pages spent having sex, not necessarily the details of those happy moments). I consider it a romantic comedy in the vein of Susan Elizabeth Phillips (swoon).

    Anyway, your blog, my happiness. Thanks again and I hope other readers like it as much as you did!

  2. Gretchen, want to clean my living room now? You wouldn't believe what three kids 12 and under can do to a house while their mom reads an erotic romance novel and their dad plays Uru.


    Glad to read and review, and keep writing!

  3. I'm all about messy house=good book. Either one I'm writing or reading. I've got a 7 and 10 yo myself.

    I just blogged back to you from my blog, so we're creating a nice little loop-de-loop, lol. Hope your Monday Reviews really take off--I'm curious to see what you review next. Cheers!

  4. So I guess writing a sex scene where the main characters go at it in the bathroom (because it's the only room in the house with a lock on the door) using a Boppy as a pillow while a child shouts "Mommy! I need my butt wiped!" and a LEGO digs into the female character's hip wouldn't be, uh, romantic enough?

    And I've started following your blog too. I'm finding it's so much easier to read blogs, do research, read Kindleboards, check the NYT publishing articles, etc. than to actually write my mss. But not today! Will write!