Jump to ratings and reviews
Rate this book

Southern Comfort #5

Practice Makes Perfect

Rate this book
Helen Lee has a top-secret dream: to publish a romance novel. There’s just one problem, and her most recent rejection letter doesn’t mince words: Helen can’t write a love scene to save her life. As Head of Reference at Willow Springs, Kentucky’s Pembroke College, Helen is hoping her library research skills will do the trick. But she may have to resort to a far more “hands-on” course of study. Luckily, there’s someone who’s more than happy to instruct her…

History professor Henry Beckham has noticed that his friend, Helen, is behaving strangely. Known for her laser sharp focus—not to mention her snorting laugh—she’s been oddly distracted. He misses that laugh. But it all makes sense when he catches Helen researching erotic writing and discovers her ambition. She seems to think her only option is to die of embarrassment or give up and surrender to spinsterhood in the company of her two basset hounds. Good thing Henry has a much more real-life approach in mind. And his tutorial just might teach them both a thing or two…

96 pages, ebook

First published August 30, 2016

Loading interface...
Loading interface...

About the author

Sarah Title

13 books137 followers
Sarah Title has worked as a barista, a secretary, a furniture painter, and once managed a team of giant walking beans. She currently leads a much more normal life as a librarian in West Virginia. Kentucky Home is her first novel.

Ratings & Reviews

What do you think?
Rate this book

Friends & Following

Create a free account to discover what your friends think of this book!

Community Reviews

5 stars
25 (18%)
4 stars
51 (38%)
3 stars
43 (32%)
2 stars
10 (7%)
1 star
5 (3%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 42 reviews
Profile Image for Sarandah chrysalis.
433 reviews39 followers
November 3, 2020
This book lightened my day. Author broke the fourth wall (is that even a thing in books? Is there a better term?) and made me giggle. Henry is yum and Helen is delicious and together they are adorable.

Bingeing all of Sarah Title’s books now, tyvm
Profile Image for Judy.
693 reviews78 followers
October 3, 2016
Reviewed on Musings and Ramblings.

I always stop and take a look at books featuring Librarians. I thought long and hard about becoming one, but finally decided that though I enjoy reading books, I personally wasn't professional librarian material. However I still love libraries and those that take care of the books held within.

But this book had more than just librarians, it also had basset hounds. I have been in love with basset hounds since watching The Fox and The Hound as a child. Who can resist those sad eyes and that squishy face? Then we top that off with a guy who wears a bow tie. A history professor doing research about a brothel, all while wearing a bow tie. I mean, how adorkable is that?

The love story between Helen and Henry was one of friends to lovers. He was so sweet to read romance novels to help figure out how to woo Helen. I couldn't help but develop a bit of a crush on him as well.

This was a very nice read and I had a good time with it. Though this is part of a series, it would work fine as a stand alone.

Kensington and Netgalley provided me with this book in exchange for my honest opinion.
Profile Image for Sometime.
1,683 reviews123 followers
January 2, 2018
This was a perfectly done novella. The author isn't so ambitious that you lose all the good bits. I loved Helen and Henry as they moved from best friends to more. Great book!
Profile Image for Vivian.
Author 2 books137 followers
August 30, 2016
3.5-star read

I received a copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley for review purposes.

Helen Lee is a research librarian extraordinaire. Her colleagues respect her research abilities. Her friends like and love her. Her two adopted basset hounds, George and Tammy, adore her. The only thing missing from Helen's life is success as a romance author...oh, and having a love life. And apparently, the lack of the latter has gravely influenced the lack of success as a writer. The only thing left for Helen to do is research the heck out of sex/love scenes in Sarah Title's latest addition to the Southern Comfort series, Practice Makes Perfect.

Helen finally receives a rejection letter that provides constructive criticism on her romance novel. Everything she's written works except for the sex/love scenes and since the book is being submitted as an erotic romance there's obviously a problem. Fortunately, Helen knows how to research almost any topic. Unfortunately for Helen, her friends, especially history professor Henry Beckham, notices that Helen is not being herself. After getting Helen to admit what's going on, he does the only thing a true friend can do and that's offer to help her in her research and that leads to lots of kissing and sex.

Practice Makes Perfect is, in my opinion, the perfect addition to the Southern Comfort series by Sarah Title. It is a fast-paced and enjoyable read that provides all of the hallmark elements of a Sarah Title read: sweet and sexy romance, sassy characters and dialogue, and humor. Seriously, what's not to love about a sex-starved librarian turned erotic romance writer and a history professor that hides his assets behind suits and bow-ties, throw in the two adopted basset hounds and you've got the perfect romance read. If you've never read anything by Ms. Title and enjoy reading romance, Practice Makes Perfect may be the perfect entry into the world of the Southern Comfort series. If you're not sure about romance reads but want something quick and sassy to read, then I urge you to read Practice Makes Perfect. Just in case you couldn't tell, I enjoyed reading Practice Makes Perfect and I look forward to reading more from Ms. Title in the future.
Profile Image for LJT.
1,216 reviews2 followers
June 15, 2016
Practice Makes Perfect by Sarah Title is a cute and fun novella. The quick-paced story captured my attention from the very first paragraph, and as a result, I finished it in one sitting.

Librarian Helen Lee and history professor Henry Beckham have been best friends for a long time. They live and work in the sometimes gossipy small town of Willow Springs, Kentucky. Helen is on the verge of publishing her first romance novel, however, according to her publisher, the sex scenes need some spicing up. Henry is on the cusp of proving that the big old house is the middle of town used to be a brothel, which many of the townsfolk want demolished. With his remarkable sexual prowess, Henry becomes Helen's muse, which enables her to experience and subsequently craft spiciness. At the same time, Helen accidentally discovers a piece of documentation that may save the historic brothel. While all this is going on, Helen's two elderly basset hounds provide some much needed companionship.

I really enjoyed this well-written novella. The characters are entertaining and the plot is chock full of originality. Who would of thought that Henry, a nerdy, bow-tie wearing history professor would be buff and talented in the bedroom? Who would have thought that Helen, the leading research librarian at Pembroke College, would satisfy her dream of writing successful erotic novels? Helen and Henry are perfect for each other, and Ms. Title does a wonderful job of exploring their talents and inhibitions. Overall, a solid read.

Complimentary copy provided by the publisher via NetGalley.
920 reviews
July 14, 2016
Sarah Title will put a smile on your face over this story regarding a librarian, Helen Lee, trying to write a novel but can't make the sex scenes sing. She keeps getting rejection letters. Helen's best friend, Henry Beckham, professor of history, catches her reading on the computer how to write sex scenes. He decides to help her by being her sex guinea pig.

Henry is researching a brothel that operated in Willow Springs, KY and he thinks the brothel is a house now owned by Pembroke College. The college wants to tear it down to put in a new building to hold the archives. The brothel was run by Madam Renee Beauchamp who had professors give talks in the downstairs and then entertained the patrons upstairs. Helen finds a diary in the archives one day but almost forgets to show it to Henry as they are tearing up the sheets. This is the proof he needed to prove the brothel existed to stop the house going to from being torn down.

Henry and Helen are well written characters and the story line is not one you see often. It is a wonderful novella.
Profile Image for Despina.
512 reviews3 followers
June 10, 2016
I received copy of this book from NetGalley for a honest review.

I give this story 3 1/2 stars

Practice Makes Perfect is a quick read. I'm not sure what to say about the story, it was sweet but I bit dry, I never fully connected with either Henry or Helen but I the dogs made me laugh. It hard to say what was missing for me, because the story itself is complete, I just didn't really feel the attraction between the two. So the basic story is Helen writes a romance novel, but is told her love scenes need work, Henry finds out and he wants to help her, great set right, unfortunately for me it fell flat.
84 reviews2 followers
July 5, 2016
Oh how I wish Practice Makes perfect was a full length novel. There is plenty of content in the story to make it possible. That is the only thing I don't like about the book.....way too short. I WANT MORE!

The novella had me hooked from the beginning. It is a topic I've always wondered about. How do romance writers write the love scenes to make them believable? Do they have to research it, take notes, and act out scenes to make it work? This book takes ahold of those questions as the plot and it totally works. NOT your typical romance formula.
Profile Image for Amber Polo.
Author 14 books157 followers
November 23, 2016
So much fun!
Librarian/romance author Helen Lee decides to research sex in order to study and improve her writing of sex scenes. What better way to study erotica than first hand. Lucky for her a friendly history professor has a practicum in mind.
I probably would have still liked it if I wasn't a librarian who's written a couple romance novels (but every time I began a sex scene it turned comic) and am a huge dog lover. I totally believed a librarian would launch a research project just like Helen's.
Plus –Franzen is mentioned on page 2!
Can Sarah Title’s name be a pseud.?

Profile Image for Heather andrews.
9,520 reviews149 followers
June 12, 2016
Henry was such an oddball, but damn I loved him for it, “I didn’t think you would be so . . . in charge.” He was pretty sure that was a compliment. A compliment to his lovemaking, if not a compliment to his personality. Whatever, there was a compliment in there somewhere. He was pretty sure. “Seriously, Henry. That was amazing.” Yup, definitely a compliment." I liked this book, it was short, sweet and Henry I loved him.
383 reviews
June 28, 2016
Practice makes Perfect was an enjoyable read that enchanted me from the start. It was a short but sweet story and I adored the characters. Helen is determined to release her romance novel and needs help in making her love scenes more hotter in her book. Henry becomes the person to help Helen with fixing her love scenes up in her novel.
I found practice makes perfect to be an enjoyable read.
Profile Image for Cyn Delia.
448 reviews21 followers
August 29, 2016
Even though I didn't read any of the other books in this series, I still enjoyed it- it had some of my favorite things in it! My full review will come soon!
Profile Image for Jennyj Jennifer.
27 reviews
November 3, 2016
Sweet book about books and history!

Gives a glimpse into a connection between love, historic preservation, and local legend. Great, sexy read with humor and friendship thrown in to make the story more engaging!
Profile Image for Anna Marie.
1,102 reviews2 followers
December 21, 2016
Lovely, short read about a university librarian who wants to break out of her boring shell and write an erotic romance novel, and her bow-tie wearing best friend who sees his colleague behaving oddly and troubled... and how he sets himself to helping her. LOVED it!
Profile Image for Emma.
15 reviews1 follower
January 28, 2019
I sadly didn't like this book. Some of Sarah Titles books are great, such as The Undateable, but the romance in this one just didn't work for me. I didn't feel the chemistry at all and the plot felt a bit forced too unfortunately.
Profile Image for Penny Leidecker.
2,418 reviews24 followers
May 29, 2019
Practice Makes Perfect is a fast read about Henry and Helen. Helen received a rejection letter stating that her sex scenes were boring. Henry, being the friend he is, decides to help her with some hands-on research. Grab your copy and see what happens.
Profile Image for Amanda.
2,170 reviews21 followers
July 22, 2017
I thought this was a really cute book! I blew right through it. I enjoyed reading a romance set on a college campus with two smart main characters (even though the premise was pretty silly).
Profile Image for L B.
237 reviews
October 20, 2022
It's not often I absolutely LOVE a book, but this one, I did.
Profile Image for Amy ~ Love At 1st Read.
514 reviews28 followers
August 13, 2016
Librarian Helen Lee dreams of writing a romance novel. Unfortunately, she just received another rejection letter for her erotic story. The reason? It just ain’t erotic. Helen needs to spice it up. Perhaps she can use her considerable research skills to write the sex scenes.
Helen’s friend and colleague, Henry Beckham, is proud of his friend when he discovers her secret. Henry and Helen started out as colleagues, but they’d grown a real friendship. Helen always helped Henry with his historical research. He could help with her research as well. What would any good friend do? He’ll be her sensual guinea pig.

What a humorous, romantic tale of friends to lovers. The characters of Helen and Henry were delightful. Helen loved her job but it wasn’t challenging. She wanted to try her hand at writing. She hadn’t told anyone about it because she felt she wasn’t taken seriously as it was. She wasn’t a professor like so many of her friends and colleagues. She was a librarian and she didn’t think adding romance writer to her title would help. Henry could tell something was bothering Helen. They’d been friends long enough that he could read her moods. When he discovers her googling “how to write about sex”, he’s impressed that she’s giving writing a try and he understands her secretiveness. He knew how it felt to feel passionately about something that others didn’t take seriously. Like his research into the long ago Willow Springs brothel. While other colleagues teased him about it, Helen was always willing to help him with his research. So he decides to assist Helen with her research. This is where things get interesting and pretty funny too. The scene with Henry and Helen trying to recreate sex scenes using GI Joe and Barbie was hysterical. And since GI Joe and Barbie don’t exactly bend easily, you can imagine it was pretty unsuccessful. So Henry sees no other choice but to be her “research partner”. And for the first time, Helen saw Henry as a man. A man who had sex. And apparently a man who could really kiss too. The toe-curling, mind-blowing research seemed to work too. It was like working with Henry took everything Helen knew and loved about sex and made it legible. The problem though was that they were starting to forget this was research. That they were supposed to be acting out a sex scene in a romance novel instead of making out with their best friend. Were these feelings real or sex feelings? And was it worth risking their friendship?
I love friends to lovers plots because when the friendship changes, it’s so much fun watching the characters explore those possibilities. And we readers get to travel along with the characters on a voyage of surprising discovery. This is the latest in new-to-me-author Sarah Title’s Southern Comfort series. Though it can be read as a stand-alone, I’m eager to read the earlier books in this series so I can get to better know the other characters in this charming college town. I was given an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.
Profile Image for Bungluna.
1,127 reviews
January 4, 2017
This fun novella centers around a unique couple: he's a history professor trying to prove that an old house in town was a brothel of historical significance; she's a librarian who finds artistic outlets writing erotic romance. When her book is rejected due to lack of fire in the love scenes, he offers to help her wit "research ". Who knew nerdy, bow tie wearing professors could be so passionate?! Every thing about this story was good. Recommend to readers looking for something fresh.
Profile Image for Frederic.
94 reviews7 followers
August 25, 2016
What a fun time I had reading Practice makes perfect. Sometimes I am in the mood for a funny and short story. This one was everything I was looking for and then some. It is not an easy task to be able to create a good story with an interesting character development in less than 100 pages, Sarah Title managed to do it perfectly. When I reached the end of the story I caught myself hoping that I could have stayed a little longer into the world of Henry and Helen.

Helen is a librarian (I always love when the main character loves books as much as I do!!!). She is working in a college and she has a big secret : she wrote a romance novel. She did not tell anybody about it, worrying that she would be judged by her colleagues and family, so she kept it to herself. She submitted her manuscript to a contest and it was refused. She received some constructive criticisms from an editor that asked her to work on her intimate scenes and to submit her book again once it is revised. Helen was taken aback, she had no clues what was wrong with these scenes or how to rewrite those. Helen is a charming character, full of life and funny as hell. I really loved how she cope with disappointment: drinking wine and dress up in a disco dress while listening to disco songs. I can totally picture myself doing the same thing (I might trade the dress for Disco pants instead though). Her dogs are lovely; it added a “doggie” vibe that made this story great!

Henry is a historian in college. Helen and he are close friends and he is trying to prove that one of the historical building that was bought by the college used to be a brothel in the early 1900's. He is stating that it must be kept as it is for its significant importance in the community. He is having a hard time to find some facts to corroborate his hypothesis. One day, he went to the library to discuss with Helen but she was watching something on her computer. She was so focused that she did not hear him creeping up to her side. Then Henry saw she was reading about how to write steamy scenes. Helen did not react well when she realized that he was there. Being a good friend, he suggested to Helen to actually practice some steamy scenes together to better her writing. That is quite funny coming from a character that is so conservative. He is a real gentleman and he is trying to help Helen. This is when the story become really funny and entertaining.

The pace was great and I love the writing style of Sarah Title. She was able to make the main characters alive and as crazy as this story is, I believed it! Who knows that might be happening to me one of these days!

I definitely recommend this short read; you will read it in one sitting and I am quite sure that you will be left craving for more!!

*I was gifted this book by Jeep DIva in exchange for an honest review
Profile Image for Blackjack.
422 reviews143 followers
October 30, 2016
I enjoyed the premise of this book a bit more than the execution. I have to say though that I was smitten from the start by the academic setting and the promise of a romance between a history professor and librarian. My favorite parts of this story center around the research Helen, the librarian, engages in as part of her endeavor to write a romance with believable sex scenes in her spare time. And I liked this part of the novel even more once Henry, Helen's colleague, good friend and hero of the story, gets in on the project and starts his own research to better understand why women read romances. I enjoyed too the debunking of romance myths, especially through the eyes of Henry as a new reader to them. I think readers who enjoy seeing romances validated will enjoy this aspect of Title's book. Also, the nerdy beta guy is a favorite for me in romances and so I did really like Henry and had no trouble envisioning the sexy man behind the bow tie!

I wished for more background though on why Helen feels the need to write a romance, especially given that she feels disconnected from the sexuality represented in them. And it turns out this is just one area in which I wanted more background to fill in gaps in the writing. Practice Makes Perfect is a novella and so the author is limited in space and time to how much back story can come in here, but I still think that even in a shorter frame, the story suffers from not providing enough context. Why are Helen and Henry such good friends given how very different they are? Also, the transition from friends to lovers felt rapid to me and I wished for more expansion from both characters' perspectives on how they saw each other before the changed they became lovers. Why did they not have an attraction prior to the romance project? Title does try to fill in gaps at times by stating the reasons for characterization and plot but I wanted to see things develop. "Telling" versus "showing" is a definite issue for me here. I think in the end this is a promising story that just needed a more leisurely treatment.
Profile Image for Gaele.
4,079 reviews80 followers
September 1, 2016
When a novella leaves you satisfied and smiling, even as you wish there was more to the story, you’ve found a story from Sarah Title. This warm and clever story is full of charm with a touch of the warmth of the south, and is sure to leave readers smiling.

Helen Lee has only ever wanted to live with and in books, and her position as a librarian allows her that. But with a secret desire to write her own romance novel, she’s hit a stumbling block. The publishers wants more spice in her sex scenes, and the relationship-less Helen isn��t sure where to turn.

Henry Beckham is a history professor, and Helen’s best friend. He’s determined that a grand house in the center of town used to be operating as a brothel, and he’s sure that this discovery will not only make his career but save the house from demolition.

Only Henry is privy to Helen’s secret, and he’s stepping up to help. Acting out scenes with GI Joe and Barbie is laugh-out-loud funny, to ‘in person’ demonstrations quickly move these friends into lovers, with both actually denying the chemistry and attraction until it jumps up and demands notice. With the ongoing story of Henry’s research into the house’s origins and history as well as the development of the relationship between the two, there is plenty going on…. S

A wonderful novella peek into the lives in this small town, and the taste of a relationship between Henry and Helen is wonderful and supportive. Adding a bit of interest into the story are Helen’s elderly Basset Hounds, always popping in for a moment of lightness. A wonderful afternoon read, sure to have you looking for more from Sarah Title.

I received an eArc copy of the title from the publisher via NetGalley for purpose of honest review. I was not compensated for this review: all conclusions are my own responsibility.
This review was originally posted on I am, Indeed
Displaying 1 - 30 of 42 reviews

Can't find what you're looking for?

Get help and learn more about the design.