Tuesday, 14 December 2010

Review – Konigsburg, Texas #5: Brand New Me© Meg Benjamin

Brand New Me

Author: Meg Benjamin

Publisher: Samhain Publishing

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Buy link

If any man wants more than a dance with her, they’ll have to get past him…

Konigsburg, Texas, Book 5

Deirdre Brandenburg has an MBA and a dream to become the coffee supplier for Konigsburg’s growing restaurant industry. What she doesn’t have is money, courtesy of her billionaire father’s scheme to make her come home. All she needs is three months until her trust fund kicks in. Until then, she needs a job.

Hiring the new girl next door is a no-brainer for ex-gambler Tom Ames. He’s already succeeded in making his bar, The Faro, a growing tourist draw. Deirdre’s beauty will pull in the locals—particularly every red-blooded male in the Hill Country. As he watches her transform from tentative business wonk to confident, sassy barmaid, he realizes he wants first crack at her heart.

When Big John Brandenburg sends Deirdre’s ex-boyfriend to drag her home, the plan backfires, leaving Tom’s bar in shambles and Deirdre kidnapped by a band of loony Texas secessionists.

Things are looking pretty bleak—except the good people of Konigsburg have no intention of giving Deirdre up, either. Even if it takes every Faro employee, every last Toleffson, and one cranky iguana to give the honky-tonk lovebirds a chance at forever.



She cleared her throat and gave him a decorous smile. “Good afternoon, Mr. Broadus. I came to pick up the tables and chairs.”

Broadus’s eyes stayed narrow. “You got the four hundred eighty you owe me?”
“Yes sir.” Deirdre carefully avoided looking at Tom. She had the feeling he wouldn’t be pleased.
Broadus turned without speaking again and marched into his shop. Beside her, Tom made a noise that sounded a lot like a snarl.
She patted his arm. “Be nice. I need those tables. And it shouldn’t take long.”

“Freakin’ maniac,” he fumed. “I thought those guys all treated women like fragile blossom.”

“Probably not barmaids.”

Tom gave her a narrow-eyed look of his own but followed her through the maze of armoires and breakfronts until they reached Broadus’s desk. Deirdre pulled five hundred-dollar bills out of her pocket. “If I could get change, please? I don’t have exactly four hundred and eighty.”

Broadus pulled a battered wallet out of his back pocket and tossed her a greasy twenty.

“And could I also have a receipt?” She gave him the smile that had worked in the past with head waiters who’d tried to put her in a corner.

Broadus rummaged through his desk until he found the original note he’d written with her name, then scrawled Paid across it.


Tom peered at the paper, then back at Broadus. “No sales tax?”

Broadus’s face turned dull pink. “Who’re you anyway? You work for them pricks up in Austin?”

Tom folded his arms across his chest. “Tom Ames. I own the Faro.”

“A honky-tonk,” Broadus spat. “I suppose you pay the revenuers when they come by your place.”

“Yep.” The corners of Tom’s mouth tightened. “I like having the fires put out in town and having a cop on the beat. Not to mention getting the roads repaired after the spring floods. Figure I ought to help pay for it since I benefit from it.”

Broadus’s eyes were burning. “You pay for traitors to suck the blood of patriots.”

“So far as I know, that hasn’t come up at the City Council meetings lately.”

Deirdre sighed. Enough. “We’ll just take those tables and chairs, Mr. Broadus. Do you have a loading dock?”

Broadus was still engaged in a staring match with Tom, but it didn’t seem to be going anywhere. He turned back to her, his mouth a thin line. “No dock. Take ’em out the back door.”

“Right. Come on, Tom, I need you.” She grabbed hold of his arm, towing him through the store. “Don’t bait him,” she murmured.  “Just help me get my stuff out of here.”

© Meg Benjamin

My thoughts

A visit to Konigsburg is never a hardship for me and when BRAND NEW ME hit the shelves I had to get it post haste. This is the fifth book in Ms. Benjamin series of book set in the small town of Konigsburg, Texas.

To be honest this is one of those books I read with some trepidation, because the core characters of the series so far have all had their stories told and I enjoyed every moment. That said, Ms Benjamin writing style and everything about the series so far really made me wish the series wouldn’t end and so we now have BRAND NEW ME.

This story is about new characters who were never featured in the previous five books and on one hand I was delighted as always when new blood comes into the town , but I was also edging my bets at the same time as I loved the tried and proven madness that I am used to from the Toleffson and their eclectic bunch of friends from the previous four books.

The story starts with Tom Ames sitting in one of his competitor place of business, contemplating how to get traffic into his bar,The Faro. Over the years The Faro had developed a reputation and despite his best attempt to clean it up and make it a place to enjoy a beer in the evenings it doesn’t have the traffic it could have even with a cracker-jack of a cook as his secret weapon.  Not one to brood over something to work towards Tom makes do with what he has and keeps his head above water and his little joint’s reputation clean. 

Tom also just happens to own the actual building where The Faro and another premises is housed, which in his mind should have been turning over even rent at least, but no takers so far. And because of that it comes as some surprise when the most gorgeous woman turns up out of the blue wanting to rent the off the beaten track premises.

Deirdre Brandenburg could not believe her luck when she spot the perfect little shop for her, with a sort of plan in mind she approaches the owner and set in motion a chain of events and lunacy that will have her taking a whole new look at her life.

Deidre is not the run of the mill girl, she is a “Brandenburg” and has the most chauvinistic father to prove it. When the two lock horns over Deirdre’s career path she take matters into her own hands and branches out. With only few choices available to her she heads for Docia Toleffson who is as rock solid as they come and hopes for the best.

Meeting Tom doesn’t factor into her plan, but he is a most welcome addition, along with a new found sense of independence and even a whole new wardrobe that seems to make men do weird things around her. Trouble follows Deidre from the big city and before long it’s not only Deidre that’s in the firing line figuratively and literally – but Tom and all her plan that she has worked so hard for.

As I mentioned before - I approached this book with a little bit of caution and a good thing too. Something's doesn’t change, Benjamin writing is sweet - there is no two ways about it. Her characters are people I would love to meet and with a whole new set of people to fall in love with she introduced me to another set of people outside of the group that hang around the Toleffson brood, which I thought was a good thing as the Toleffson tends to overshadow a big part of anything that happens in the town. Good to know what else was happening down the road from the Dewdrop.

Some of the other things that worked for me are the fact that I met old friends and with some pretty decent scenes to show me where they where at and how the group were gelling together as well as how they made this little town of Konigsburg their own.

The sarcastic humour  that is such a big  part of the series is alive and well in BRAND NEW ME and I grinned at a few scenes. I really love Ms Benjamin dry sense of humour.

It wasn’t all good though, the niggles I had was probably with the events that pushed the books along and the main protags themselves.

Tom and Deidre were too perfect, I don't mean to be mean to them but there was never really any angst that would prevent then from getting together. On one hand it‘s nice to have characters that just click and got on with making whoopee, but too much was happening around them and they both seem to walk around in this sensual haze.. it got old after a while.

There were one or two sub plotline that had a darker edge to it, however none of them really rung true to me and eventually just felt rather comical.

This book was definately more laid back than the others so far. While this might not be a problem for most readers, I do like to a bit of pace to my reading or some suitable suspenseful tension to compensate which I didn’t get from this book.

Bottom line.

Fan of this series, there is no excuse why you have not picked this book up yet. While I had a few niggles with some of the plotline, overall the book did what it set out do. It filled me in with the happenings of all my favourite people, it also introduced a whole new set or people that just might be the main characters in future books.

New readers wanting a sweet series that has all the hallmark of an all round good read please do try the Konigsburg, Texas series of book.

BRAND NEW ME was a catch up book for me and as such it hit the spot.

Books in the series

Venus in Blue Jeans (Konigsburg, #1)

Wedding Bell Blues (Konigsburg, #2)

Be My Baby (Konigsburg, #3)

Long Time Gone (Konigsburg, #4)

2 Speak To Me:

Blodeuedd on 14 December 2010 at 19:01 said...

I like the sound of this one, sweet and nice :)

Meg Benjamin on 17 December 2010 at 23:14 said...

Thanks EH! Glad you liked it.
Meg Benjamin