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Improper English

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London on Three Kisses a Day

Brandishing a loaf of French bread at a dishy detective wasn't how Alexandra Freemar had envisioned starting her stay in London. But the sassy American wasn't about to put up with any flak from the uptight--albeit gorgeous--Scotland Yard inspector who accused her of breaking and entering. She didn't have time to deal with this suspicious upstairs neighbor. She had two months to write the perfect romance novel--two months to prove that she could succeed as an author.

Luckily, reserved Englishmen were not her cup of tea. Yet, one kiss told her Alexander Black might not be quite as proper as she'd thought. In fact, his lips could be classified as downright wicked, leaving Alix to wonder how far his talents extended. There was only one snag: The serious-minded gentleman wasn't interested in a mere summer fling. And while as a writer Alix knew every imaginable euphemism for the male member, as a woman she soon realized she had a lot to learn about love.rthijrg]ih

369 pages, Mass Market Paperback

First published January 31, 2003

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About the author

Katie MacAlister

151 books5,785 followers
For as long as she can remember, Katie MacAlister has loved reading. Growing up in a family where a weekly visit to the library was a given, Katie spent much of her time with her nose buried in a book. Despite her love for novels, she didn't think of writing them until she was contracted to write a non-fiction book about software. Since her editor refused to allow her to include either witty dialogue or love scenes in the software book, Katie swiftly resolved to switch to fiction, where she could indulge in world building, tormenting characters, and falling madly in love with all her heroes.

Two years after she started writing novels, Katie sold her first romance, Noble Intentions. More than thirty books followed during the years after Noble's publication. Her novels have been translated into numerous languages, been recorded as audiobooks, received several awards, and placed on the New York Times, USA Today, and Publishers Weekly bestseller lists. She also writes for the young adult audience as Katie Maxwell, and for the mystery world as Kate Marsh.

Katie lives in the Pacific Northwest with her husband and dogs, and can often be found lurking around online.

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5 stars
909 (24%)
4 stars
1,014 (27%)
3 stars
1,062 (28%)
2 stars
434 (11%)
1 star
256 (6%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 269 reviews
Profile Image for Stacey.
1,446 reviews1,156 followers
May 3, 2018
An unsuccessful attempt at a reread...

DNF...I didn't even bother to confirm where I stopped but her hair just caught fire and she referred to the hairy chunk of mascara that she put on the side of her dinner plate as a hairy gonad. Nope, can't go on.

There's a good chance I was insane when I read Improper English the first time as I originally gave it 5 stars. I'm listening to the audio and while the narrator is doing a fabulous job, the story is anything but fabulous.

I admit, I did chuckle but I think that was more in sympathy for the character than anything else.

This is proof that tastes do change. Unfortunately, Alex's bumbling, idiotic chatter mixed with her history of bad choices and immaturity, did not appeal to me. Adding to that, the hero is also named Alex and he'd be an idiot to fall for this twit, I just couldn't go on with the story.

I don't mind a quirky heroine but a character who is trying to write a historical romance (BADLY) and reads sex scenes to random people to see what they think, I just couldn't gel...sympathise...understand...her.

Profile Image for Shae.
453 reviews17 followers
June 16, 2008
NO! no no no no no! This book was bad. Terrible. Horrible. Trash trash trash! I did not enjoy it at all. The character was a feeble minded idiot and I wanted to beat some sense into her. Having two people with the same name is not cute or hilarious. It is stupid. This reeks of a self insert (and looking at her other books, they seem to be much of the same). The hero is a great guy who has a good job and is very sane and normal. He is much too good for Alix. She is whiney, jealous, rude, and is not likable at all. Ugh, I had to force myself through this book.
Profile Image for Erin.
2,145 reviews28 followers
March 12, 2011
What a terrible, terrible book. Main character had no redeeming quality whatsoever. Wanted this to suddenly turn into a murder mystery where she was the victim.
Profile Image for Jena.
253 reviews14 followers
August 3, 2015
What a total crap book. I only read it because a friend and I chose an author to each read one book by (not the same book, just the same author). What an unfortunate choice. NO character development (except some trumped up denouement at the end), NO plot, just an excuse for crappy writing samples (at the beginning of each chapter there was an excerpt from the worst romance writer imaginable) and lusty sex scenes.

I was hoping the location (London, England) would have been fun, but ... no. The characters annoyed me to no end. The two main characters fought constantly (about completely trumped up garbage most of the time). Yet it was the main character who annoyed me the most as she was the worst example of a modern female I've ever seen. Seriously, WHAT female needs her boyfriend to ditch his job in the middle of a work crisis to come sooth her emotions (for something that is NOT an emergency) and then says the relationship is over and gets downright depressed and idiotic over it?

This was a hot mess. I only forged through to the end because I PUSHED myself to finish. UGH! This book is precisely why I do NOT read romance novels any more.
Profile Image for Antonella.
3,404 reviews449 followers
December 18, 2021
first person pov from the heroine who is simply put an idiot
I just can't be bothered to finish it.. not my jam

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Profile Image for Stephanie.
18 reviews
July 26, 2016
I am so tired of stories where the heroine is a stupid self-centered bitch with no self-confidence who cries incessantly. And of course, the hero is smart, attractive, rational, has his life in order, etc. Why do we perpetuate these false ideas of gender roles? I'm very disappointed in this book.
Profile Image for Cyndi.
2,338 reviews97 followers
November 17, 2020
This is why I usually don't read reviews until after I've read the book. A lot of people didn't seem to like this book and I found it very entertaining. Our heroine is on a quest to find her chops as an author. She has an idea for a book but can't seem to get it to work. She tries to read it out loud to anyone she can nail down long enough to listen, and the general consensus is that it's crap. My humor enjoyed the picture of a variety of people almost too polite to walk away and trying to help her creatively.
Meanwhile she and our hero clash on a number of instances. Although she may find him to be intolerable in a lot of ways, he is still hot so he plays into the romance she is trying to write and her real life.
Adorable romance with some good laughs along the way.
42 reviews1 follower
August 8, 2015

The heroine was weak.
She was constantly falling at the hero's feet and basically begging him to do her.
She did all of the chasing. The hero never made a huge gesture of love. Anything that,went wrong in their relationship was blamed on the heroine.
The heroine was kind of dumb. She was a crappy historical romance writer and gotten taken advantage of the entire story.
She used a lot of weird phrases that were supposed to be British slang (she's American) but was just annoying random words that made no sense. It was difficult to read. I'd go in more detail but my kindle is about to die.
Needless to say, I would not recommend this book.
Profile Image for Jennifer.
912 reviews19 followers
October 4, 2008
This book was fun but a little frustrating too. You know how a main character is not getting it and it makes you want to shake them a little bit or slap them like Cher did in Moonstruck to Nicholas Cage and tell them to Snap out of it? Yeah. Like that.

That being said I still enjoyed the read. It had steamy sex and funny moments. It had a character who - although you want to slap a little bit DOES undergo a bit of a journey of self revelation. All in all not a bad book and definetly worth reading.
Profile Image for Emily.
183 reviews13 followers
June 8, 2019
If I could give this book no stars, I would. Honestly thought it was a satire of a feckless, self-obsessed woman but no! It’s actually supposed to be a romance?! There was no believable conflict— just hurdles that any normal person would have gotten through but the heroine, in a rather dramatic fashion, agonised over. There was so much “woe is me” from her that I nearly threw the book at the wall. There was some subtle racism, sexism, discrimination against sex workers, LOTS of body hatred. Ugh. The worst romance I’ve ever read.
Profile Image for Georgie-who-is-Sarah-Drew.
1,100 reviews125 followers
September 7, 2015
And I like Katie MacAlister's other books, too, which makes it worse. I really did want to like this - wannabe author finds love in London. But there are three ginormous strikes against it, though, which make this a good candidate for Most Disappointing Read of 2015.

1. The heroine is unlikable. And a book written in the first person, in particular, has GOT to have someone I identify with. But Alix is (a) under her mother's thumb (b) a quitter (c) totally un-self-aware (d) more than a little unpleasant to her "boyfriend". I wouldn't like her even if I met her giving away champagne on the street.
2. The secondary characters take up too much space, and are inconsistent - not only is there no obvious reason why they would willingly spend time with the fushionless (good Scots word, that) waste of space that is Alix, but Isabella, her landlady, in particular seems to veer from maternal-substitute to indulgent sisterhood, in a way that just doesn't stack up.
3. The plot is silly - Alix's mother has stated, "Write a book, any book, in six months, and I will continue to support you." I think we are meant to snigger at how awful Alix's book is - but there is funny awful, and there's just plain boring. And then Alix...but, you know what, I wasn't interested in what Alix did next, and I can't imagine you will be either.

Sorry, and all that - rubbish book. Go and find The Trouble With Harry which is much better.
Profile Image for Victoria Otero.
155 reviews16 followers
November 29, 2021
Wow, I am usually a huge Katie MacAlister fan, and I count her books as comfort reads, but this was an exception to the rule. A deeply unlikable heroine with unrealistic expectations, to the point where I couldn’t even begin to empathize with her. The plot seems flimsy until maybe halfway through the book. The writing felt especially amateurish. I wouldn’t be surprised if this is the very first book she wrote. I hate giving this such a low rating, but this truly deserves it. Skip this book and read another book in her huge catalog. This isn’t representative of her writing.
Profile Image for Morgan.
1,681 reviews74 followers
April 1, 2014
I was tempted to put this down several times, but managed to stick with it to the end. Others have mentioned it being her first novel (and there's even a forward from Katie MacAlister herself pointing out flaws before you even begin).

Alix is...probably the actual worst. Even in her "resolution" at the end where things work out and usually lessons are learned... There's not really much progress. She doesn't see that ALL of her problems are self-inflicted. In solving her problem and "reaching her goal", she pushes away and rejects the guy she supposedly loves more than anything. Why not just say, "Listen, boo, I have to get my shit straight before we can make with the relationship"?

As a whole it's irrational, unrealistic, and disjointed. The heroine's moods change faster than anything I've ever encountered and always to negative extremes. I would almost venture to say she was pretty emotionally abusive to the main guy (and several other people). I'm uncertain why anyone liked her actually.

She had zero redeeming qualities and the only things making this a 2 instead of a 1 star review are:

- The snippets of her novel in progress. It's terrifically bad. (And the reactions of random people as she reads bits of it to them.)
It really seemed to oddly reflect the actual book. Like "hahahaha look how bad this is", but even the parts that aren't supposed to be bad are bad.

I read it mainly for the sake of completion--when you like an author so much you want to read everything--but this is definitely from before Katie MacAlister came into her own and found the entertaining and enjoyable style that she has now.
Profile Image for N.N. Heaven.
Author 6 books1,824 followers
August 17, 2017
What happens when a feisty American writer and a stuffy drop-dead gorgeous British police inspector clash in London? Alix is trying to make it as a romance writer and this trip to London is her big shot. She may be American and had her share of heartbreak but she certainly isn't a thief. Alexander dislikes her from the moment she opened her sassy mouth but there's something about her that gets under his skin. Try as he might, she might just be what he needs.

I loved this romance so much! MacAlister has such a talent for humorous dialogue and snarkiness that it makes Improper English a must read! Move over Shopaholic, you've got to make room for Improper English!

My Rating: 5 stars
Profile Image for Tiersa.
181 reviews2 followers
February 22, 2022
I hated how whiney and crazy the main character was and how utterly inconsiderate she was of her lovers job. I almost didn't finish the book.
Profile Image for Rach.
1,396 reviews87 followers
November 16, 2011
Ok. I'll admit it. I went through a phase were I read a lot of romance novels. A LOT. A sort of ridiculous amount. You could say I swooned into a pit of cheese and couldn't seem to fight my way out. The lifeline that eventually pulled me out was Goodreads, which widened my scope of reading and encouraged me to pick up different kinds of books. That being said, I still had a soft spot for the comfort and ease of romance, and so I thought I'd take a break from more "serious" reading to read this one by Katie MacAlister, whose books I remember really enjoying back in the day.

I ended up reading this in one night, mostly because I knew if I stopped, I would never finish it, and that seemed wasteful when I'm behind on my yearly reading goal. But really, it was quite terrible. Alix, the main character, was whiny, obnoxious, self-centered, and flighty. I wanted to yell at her to grow up and stop being so ridiculously stupid. And yes, she has a revelation towards the end and "turns her life around," because a better person so she can be with the man she loves with all her heart (who she met 2-3 months previously, by the way). That revelation, though, didn't seem real to me. It didn't seem real that Alix and Alex (yes, they really had the same name) would fall in love so quickly when they didn't really seem that well matched. Anything that relies on "instant, unexplainable chemistry at first touch" to explain why two people are together seems utterly ridiculous and unbelievable.

Which leads me to wonder, was I deluded all those years ago, when I thought these kinds of books were fun and enjoyable and somehow well-written? Or maybe I have just become so skeptical of that kind of unrealistic, instant love, that it's farcical and incomprehensible to me now. It's logical that tastes change, and it could be I just don't like these kind of stories anymore. Or maybe this one is just particularly distasteful to me. Whatever it is, the likely outcome is I probably won't pick up a traditional romance novel for a while.
Profile Image for Yodamom.
1,989 reviews194 followers
July 21, 2013
2.5 stars
Fun, quick, laughable, a bit ridiculous, perhaps a nice beach read.
I was held hostage by this unreliable, sarcastic, insecure, slightly crazy heroine. She dreams of being a writer but writes the most ridiculous story. It's so awful. She reads passages of it to everyone, everyone she meets on the street ! She is in England on her mothers dollar to realize her dream and prove to her mother she is 'something' (yes, she's that insecure) She moves into a apartment building filled with quirky, wonderful people who become important to her growth. One tenant becomes her focus for a romantic adventure. He is her opposite, secure, focused and conservative. They battle through the relationship, at times it becomes ridiculous with some of her comments and actions.
I found this book had some very funny moments, some completely ridiculous actions, rude behavior, unbelievable romance, and yet had some great side characters. I hated how they all bent down to her rude, ridiculous behavior. I just didn't like her, couldn't cheer her on, and wished they would all just let her go. She was rude to her mother, her friends, to anyone.
Profile Image for Adriana.
2,559 reviews18 followers
April 11, 2017
Fun, witty, and with a slightly crazy leading lady.
This book is everything I love about a Katie MacAlister book with the added bonus of some of the worst possible romance novel writing ever. Seriously, this book is worth reading if only for the cringe worthy awesomeness of Alix's novel.
Profile Image for Shannon .
1,900 reviews133 followers
July 30, 2018
Improper English

I Picked Up This Book Because: Random selection from my never ending TBR list, meant to read at night instead of the uber creepy book I was also reading.

The Characters:

Alexandria “Alix” Freemar: American in London to get a jump start on restarting her life as an author
Alexander “Alex” Black: Detective Inspector “so many nicknames” of the Scotland Yard. He has the patience of a saint and I need to find a man just like him.
Isabella, Karl, Daniel, Ray, Bert and other assorted neighbors and friends

The Story:

Alix is a study in living with all your emotions up front and ready to view. It’s rather endearing to me and Alex obviously finds this attractive. It never ceased to amuse me when their friends recognized the way Alix could pull out Alex’s emotions thus proving to be great partner for him. This book overall was fun with a small side of heartbreak. Katie has a way of writing stories that I look back on with joy.

The Random Thoughts:

The Score Card:


3 Stars
281 reviews
June 1, 2017
I love the author but I hated this book. I couldn't stand the main character. Chapter two, I thought she was stupid and I couldn't shake it. It took me a long time to get through and I wasted a lot of time waiting for it to turn around.
Profile Image for Laure Estep.
115 reviews27 followers
July 15, 2017
While Alix's histrionics grated on my nerves, I still found myself rooting for her in the story. The supporting cast of characters were interesting and entertaining enough to make up for the I-Love-Lucy type melodrama from the heroine.
Profile Image for KaeCee Reed.
41 reviews
March 23, 2019
2.75 stars.

I have rarely laughed out loud at a book.. but this one had me cracking up time and again. I enjoyed the characters and the setting. My biggest hang up was the 'adult' content. There was too much.

All in all a very entertaining read.
Profile Image for Dianne.
1,557 reviews117 followers
November 16, 2012
Improper English – Katie MacAlister

This is a re-print of an older Katie Mac book, and one that I had hoped would get better with age. It did and it didn’t. I will say that this book does have a lot of off-the-wall humor in it which makes up for the lack of likability of the protagonist Alix. I can see that Ms MacAlister wrote this so we would NOT like Alix and to show us how Alix could grow at the end of the book, but it was nearly too little too late. Had I not read this book years ago and knew that Alix was going to see the error of her ways, I may have just flung it against the wall and quit while I was ahead.

Alix is in London to do one last thing before she has to go back home and take care of her elderly Grandmothers physical needs. She is going to write a book. A romance novel to be precises. Now mind you Alix has never written a book before and really has no clue to go about it. Each chapter of “Improper English” starts with an excerpt from Alixs’ latest attempt at writing. Some of this is knee-slappingly funny and some of it is simply annoying to the reader.

While writing her epic tome, Alix meets all of the people staying in the housing where her mother has rented her a flat. One of these people is the very straight-laced, handsome, enigmatic Alex Black. He is a member of Scotland Yard Pornography/Pedophilia division.

Alix is soon infatuated with him and really want to jump his bones – Alex would prefer to have more of a relationship. This book spends most of its time showing the reader just how selfish, self-centered and down-right thoughtless and mean Alix can be, and the reader starts wondering just why the author would write any of her characters like this. Luckily, in the end, Alix learns a very valuable lesson and will finally get a Happily Ever After

I just hope that if you pick up this book you will see what is to come and not give up in the middle of the book.

Profile Image for Amy Softa.
683 reviews49 followers
August 3, 2013
I love Ms. MacAlister's paranormal books and she is one of my favorite writers. Her books are usually such fun. This one is the first contemporary romance of hers that I have read and I must confess I had trouble getting into it. It could be just that I thought the lead female, Alix was a twit and wanted to smack her upside the head for most of the book and tell her to straighten up. It could just be that I really do prefer the paranormal's over regular romance books. It won't be my last attempt at her contemporary books, I want to read the one set in Greece for sure. The character Alix was the only one in this book I had a problem with, for much of the story she was too whiny, self centered, selfish and insecure. It wasn't until the very end that she got her act together, but I still wanted to ring her neck for how she treated the male lead, Alex. The story was a bit slow for me and I really missed that paranormal aspect. The last third of the book really picked up, thou, and I finished that part in a fraction of the time it took to read the rest. Love your books and following you on Facebook Ms. MacAlister, but maybe I should stick to your paranormal books.
Profile Image for Angela.
184 reviews4 followers
August 1, 2008
As a quick, you know what's going to happen, read - I really enjoyed this one. A little too much "adult" content for my personal taste, but not so much that it detracted from the storyline.

It's a fun read, set in London. I wasn't quite certain when, but figured current day at least. The characters are kind of fun, but quizzical. I think I spent more time trying to figure out what these people were like than reading the story! The main character, Alexandra (aka Alix), is staying in a friend's flat courtesy of her mother. Her mother agrees she can do so as long as Alix works on a novel, her mother will support her living expenses.

The book lends a humorous view to one woman's quest to find herself and realize that she's worth more than she feels she is - to find her own voice (both in written word and in personal endeavors) and to succeed where she always 'knows' she fails.
Profile Image for Heather andrews.
9,520 reviews149 followers
August 26, 2015
Alix gets herself in trouble, like a lot and sometimes the outcome from her man is pretty damn sexy, “swapping spit?” he growled, and pulled me up against his chest. I let him. I’m a sucker for an alpha male. “Was that all it was to you?” There are times Alex is ever the gentlemen, “thank you,” he groaned, his hands clutching convulsively at the chaise cushions. “It reassures me to know my genitalia meet your exacting standards.” I really liked this book it was funny and entertaining although these two can give a whiplash at times, it was still a great time going on a journey with Alix and Alex.
Profile Image for Pam.
177 reviews
July 29, 2011
What can I say about this book? The story was cute and funny. I loved the secondary characters who lived in the house in London with Alix and Alex. They were all good friends and and looked after Alix. This is a story about a woman who has been a failure at everything she tried to do. She makes a deal with her mother to live in London for the summer and write her first romance book. We (the reader) get to read excerpts of her book at the beginning of each chapter. Her writing is dreadful ....until she realizes what she's doing wrong. At the end...Alex and Alix get their HEA.
Profile Image for Julia .
1,000 reviews7 followers
February 10, 2022
I picked this up via the Audible Plus catalogue as it was going to be removed from it soon, and y'all know I am a sucker for a romance novel.

This one is based on London, and it takes on the drama of everyone in the apartment building being in each others lives. A cop romance, with a detective from Scotland yard. A nosy well meaning land lady. And our main girl, an aspiring writer.

Our MC drove me crazy. I think the book is trying to be funny, but mostly I just wanted to slap her upside the head. She's supposed to be a divorce, with lots of failed life experiences, so I assumed I would get a little maturity out of her as a character, and instead I got a self centered, nincompoop.

First let's start with the obvious, in that this book was pubbed in 2003. Which means that technology and access to information isn't quiet where we are at now. So I'm going to try and be forgiving about those items. But just be aware of that going into this book. There is no text messaging. She doesn't even have an email set up prior to going on this trip. She cannot google how to write a query letter.

On the subject of query letter's our MC is trying to write a book while in London. This is the hole reason for her trip. She thinks she might like to be an author. My issue is that it's like she herself has never read the type of books she is trying to write. She has no sense of voice. And I kind of get it, when I first started writing, what I thought in my head of a scene VS what made it to paper where two totally different things. But she is going straight over the type, let me wield my penis like a lightsaber, level of erotica.

She is also getting feedback on her writing as she goes, but never from the same person, so it's one person at a time, getting one chapter at a time, with no context of what came before, and offering feedback on just what they are experiencing, which the scene is based on feedback from the previous person, and each person has different literary tastes. So the book while also being written by a new written, and having of course new writer problems, it also inconsistent in tone and voice.

I do however, like when she starts a second book, how she has much more grove on it. So there is that.

Also about her writing, she decides she needs an agent, but that she doesn't have to follow agent guidelines. She's just going to call them up in person and set up a meeting and they will fall in love with her and want to rep her book. The agent she does get through these means, comes off as shady, but in the end, works out? She also meets a fellow author who offers criticism on her book, and she goes off the deep end because she can't handle it. If she had the internet like we do today, I wonder if she would be one of those people who thinks that she is above reading agent blogs to find out what they want, and doesn't need to follow query guidelines - because in this version of her, she certainly comes off as that type of person. And as someone who has done a considerable amount of research on agents, and publications (that's me, I'm talking about me), I HATE the type of people who think the rules don't apply to them.

The other thing was her maturity. She states she just wants a sexual relationship, but then falls for the first guy she kisses, and gets mad later on when she makes assumptions about him not beeing serious enough with her, but she didn't want serious in the first place. Girl gives me emotionally whiplash. She keeps telling him he is breaking her heart, after they barely know each other. She cries when he kisses her the first time. But then later on, when she is having a snit, she tells him don't make me cry I'm an ugly crier, as if he's never scene her cry before. She self sabotages the relationship, with no understanding for his job, and wanting to be put first. I think she was being a twat and self centered, and any attempts at anyone to point this out to her, is met with her getting angry. I think she carries a lot of baggage that we don't fully understand, and that she isn't actively working on instead putting up defenses thinking she is faultless, and that is not the case. If this was supposed to be humorous, it was not, and it came off as grating and slogging to get through.

She did eventually have some character growth, and reconsider her actions and develop a new plan of attack in regards to getting her life on track. I just wish she had been more forthcoming about it, and that we have spent more time with her in that self growth phase, as it just felt rushed, to get us back to the getting back together phase. Like a movie montage, where they don't want to do the work of giving us the scenes we need in order to truly bond with the characters, instead giving us snips of it, and saying good enough. NOT good enough.

I want to add this author to my follow up and read more books by her list, but if all of her humor romance writing is like this, with characters like this, maybe she's not for me. I'll look up a newer publication, and see if there has been growth since then.

There are promising things about this book, and it does have potential in concept, but overall, it just didn't hit the mark for me.
Displaying 1 - 30 of 269 reviews

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