REVIEW: So Bad It Must Be Good by Nicole Helm

Posted September 17th, 2017 by in Blog, Contemporary Romance, Review / 7 comments

In So Bad It Must Be Good by Nicole Helm, Kayla Gallagher is finally free from all the demands of her family. She’s finally going to live her life the way she wants to. The first step is accepting a date from bad-boy Aiden Patrick, only his brother, Liam, shows up instead. Kayla has always felt awkward around Liam, and he has barely even spoken to her. But as they spend more time together, they learn to open up. Only Aiden feels like he’s been wronged by the pair, and Liam, who likes to fix everything, doesn’t know how to make it right.

I’m not quite sure where to start with this one, so I’ll start with Kayla and her family. She wasn’t happy working at the family business so she quit, and they cut her off? That seemed a little drastic. Her grandmother and her father wouldn’t talk to her. I have no idea where her mother was in all this because she’s not even mentioned. Then Kayla cuts herself off completely from her cousin, who happens to also be her best friend, simply because she still works at the Gallagher family business. In my opinion, that was a little over the top on Kayla’s part. She didn’t like it when she was cut off by her father and grandmother, why would she then turn around and do the same thing to her cousin, just because of where she worked and because she was a family member?

Aiden is, well, messed up. He stood Kayla up, begged Liam to take his place on the date, and then gets upset because Liam and Kayla decide to start seeing on another. He gets to the point where their mother is afraid he’s going to hurt himself and begs Liam to give Kayla up. It was over the top. I didn’t understand why he felt so inferior to Liam, when it was clear their mother doted on him and took his side more than Liam’s. Then what threw me off is in the Epilogue, all his issues are suddenly gone with no explanation. The one-eighty left my head spinning.

Liam can best be described as a pushover. He wants to help everyone, even at the expense of his own happiness. He lets his family take advantage of him, and it often seems like they don’t appreciate him. It’s clear his parents take Aiden’s side, even though Liam is the one working in the family business even though he doesn’t want to be, while Aiden just takes off time and time again to who-knows-where. Kayla doesn’t like the way he’s treated, and she often gets frustrated with him because he allows his family to treat him poorly.
==”Her sons, both of them her sons, got in a fight and she chose one to take care of? Well, that is bullshit, Liam. Bull. Shit. How dare she?”
“He needs–”
“What about what you need, for heaven’s sake?” She cupped the side of his face she wasn’t holding the quickly thawing bag of carrots to. “What about you?”
He blinked at her as if she spoke some foreign language. Did he not…Did he never think about himself when it came to his family?==

This isn’t listed as part of a series, but there is another book, So Wrong It Must Be Right, which came out before this one and is about Dinah, the cousin Kayla cut out of her life. Not having read it, I don’t know if maybe it would have provided a little more insight into the relationship between the two women and why Kayla would want to cut her out of her life. Dinah and her boyfriend make some appearances in this book as well.

This book had too much over-the-top drama for my liking. It’s mainly between the characters and their respective families, but then it’s also between Kayla and Liam as well. When Kayla tells Liam over and over again how the way he’s treated by his family is wrong, he agrees in his mind yet disagrees with her out loud. It was if he knew she was right but at the same time felt he had to defend his family, who really didn’t deserve for him to stick up for them.

The book started out well, I’ll give it that, but it went quickly downhill after Kayla and Liam got together. By the end of it, I didn’t care all that much about any of the characters or what would happen to them. The book had promise, but with all the drama and characters who all seemed to have nothing but issues, it failed to deliver.

Book Info:

Publication: August 22, 2017 | Lyrical Press |

Free of her overbearing family and their dreams, not hers, Kayla Gallagher is living for herself instead of for her clan’s successful restaurant. Step One: finally make her move on Aiden Patrick, the bad-boy son of Gallagher’s long-time repairman. Too bad Aidan’s taciturn older brother shows up instead . . .

As the “responsible Patrick,” Liam has always made a conscious choice to do the right thing. He likes fixing things for people—whether it be a broken appliance or a bad situation. Which means he can’t just brush off the quiet Gallagher. Clearly, she needs a shoulder to lean on. But suddenly a shoulder becomes so much more, and Kayla isn’t the quiet little girl she used to be. She’s a vivid, down-for-anything woman showing Liam several sizzling ways to put passion first . . .

As things heat up between them, Liam’s family threatens to come apart for good. The only way Liam can set things right means giving up Kayla. But she’s not about to take no for an answer—or let their chance for something sweeter than desire crash-and burn without a fight.



7 Responses to “REVIEW: So Bad It Must Be Good by Nicole Helm”

  1. Kathleen Bylsma

    Well, this sounds like a mess…not even a fine one…what a kind review you managed to write. Thanks.

  2. library addict

    Kayla’s mother left her husband and ran off with Dinah’s father (her brother-in-law) before the start of the first book. I was unsure of the timeline as sometimes it seemed this had happened years before, but other times it seemed to have been a recent thing. But, yes, the rest of the family were all pretty awful so them cutting Dinah off when she quit was not surprising.

    The books are listed as a series (Gallagher & Ivy) on the author’s website.

    I loved the first book because the heroine was ambitious and difficult and I appreciated that the author allowed her to be unsympathetic at times as that’s rare for heroines. Plus the romance was charming and full of joy and humor with only a dash of angst as the heroine and hero tried to navigate turning their anonymous online relationship into a real one. (The plot was sort of a role reversal of You’ve Got Mail).

    I had issues with this book, but overall I liked it more than you as I think it dealt with how difficult it can be to deal with toxic family members. Also how you can know intellectually that the way you’re treated by family is unfair, but how hard it can be to make changes and then stick to them. I did think their argument toward the end felt forced and existed only for plot purposes. It also irked me to no end how the brother’s problems were “resolved.” I think several of the subplots were glossed over and I also wish the friendship between the two cousins had been given more page time in both books.

    • Stacey B

      Thank you for clarifying about the missing mother, as I haven’t read any of the other books. It wasn’t listed as part of a series on Goodreads or Amazon when I checked, so thank you for clarifying that, as well. I agree with being irked about how Aiden’s problems were resolved. There was no explanation as to why he was suddenly ok, which bothered me. I wanted to know what happened that changed his mind. I really wished Liam had more of a backbone. He was too willing to do whatever it took to make his mother and brother happy, at the expense of his own happiness. I kept waiting for him to say enough was enough, but it didn’t really happen.
      I also agree about the friendship between the cousins being given more page time. That could have been expanded upon, showing readers more of their relationship instead of just basically telling us it existed.

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