Friday, July 3, 2015

Jodi Thomas - A Texan's Luck

Captain Walker Larson received the shock of his life when a beautiful stranger boldly walked into his office—claiming to be his wife. His father may have bought Lacy Larson for him in a wife lottery, but Walker had no desire for a bride—even one as captivating as the one standing before him. So he promptly sent Lacy back to Cedar Point.
Nearly three years later, Lacy is shocked when Walker shows up on her doorstep—ordered by the military to protect his wife from a killer. Lacy wants nothing to do with the gruff soldier who once drove her away.
But despite their different lifestyles and expectations, she finds herself wondering if their marriage was a far better gamble than either of them had imagined...and what it would feel like to be in his arms.

Comment: I got this book after Reading the first one in the series and liking it quite well. Then I read the second and wasn't very impressed with it. I had hopes that was only a particular impression and not the trend for the remaining books and thankfully, this third one was better.
This is the story of the third "wife lottery", Lacy's fate. Lacy was rescued by an old man who wanted her to marry his son, who was away. His son is a military man and wanted nothing to do with a wife but his father had the power to marry them in his absence.
Lacy had many dreams of what a married life would be like but unfortunately her husband turned out not to be the man of her dreams and after  a quick, awkward meeting, they go their own way until the day the man Lacy and her friends were convinced they went to prison for, was himself released.
Now Lacy's husband is back and with the task to protect her. Can they salvage their marriage?
I wasn't totally impressed with this story, at least not to the same level I was with the first book. This story wasn't as brilliant because the main couple never seemed as passionate or balanced or even intriguing as the first one. I guess part of it comes from the fact both are constituted by two different people each, but overall this book's couple and their relationship never seemed so good.
I think the main issue is precisely the relationship. The couple spent a lot of time apart from the moment they acknowledged the validity of their marriage. The book starts with the way they met in person and how awkward and quick it was made it all feel uncomfortable and honestly I don't know why it had to be like that. Had they talked it wouldn't look as weird. And until this time I can't tell exactly what the purpose was because when the story really starts in chapter one, things are still hard between them anyway.
I think the author wanted a fast explanation why they couldn't hit it off right away but since Walter, the husband, maintained his reasoning of not wanting a wife, that situation remained. It's really unnecessary how the plot became like this, a simple explanation would have sufficed.
The couple has a rocky start but, obviously, by the end of the book all is almost well. I liked their relationship developed slowly from the moment they had to share a house and lacy had to be protected. However, I don't think they were the most passionate or well suited couple. Lacy begun as a quiet young women running her life and I appreciated this side of her quite well. When the story begun I was actually very pleased with her for doing what she could and still being a likable person - and character.
Walter always seemed too aloof, I never really felt captivated by him or his personality.
Their relationship ended up well and not sugary perfect, but balanced enough. Still, it never felt like it was meant to be, like they "had" to be together.
The plot was more interesting than the romance. Some things happened that pushed the story forward but were also emotional. All ended up well except a couple of issues which will be dealt in the final book of the quartet series.
I'm actually quite eager to read the final book and have even biggest hopes for it than I had for this one.
All in all this worked out but wasn't as brilliantly presented as other books in the genre I've read and although better than the previous one, it's still not as amazing as the first.
Grade: 7/10

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Patrice Michelle - Scions:Revelation

Caine Grennard is a werewolf, living among humans and lacking purpose--until the night he meets a woman with an exotic, irresistible scent. A woman who might be his deadliest enemy.When her aunt is kidnapped, Emma Gray swears she'll do anything to get the older woman back. Even if it means trusting the mysterious--and sexy--stranger named Caine.But more is at stake than one woman's life: Emma's past holds the last key to unlocking a prophecy Caine's clan is depending on. The fates of both their clans rest on Caine and Emma trusting the impossible, electric connection between them, even in the midst of betrayal..

Comment: This is the third installment in this series by author Patrice Michelle. The books are centered around a world where shapeshifters and vampires exist.
In the beginning of the series, vampires and lupines (wolf shapeshifters) were in different parts of a conflict but now they have an agreement. In this third story we see the involvement of the cat shapeshifters in the conflict and how conversations and peace among them all are the best courses of action.
All books obviously focus on central characters related to the solution of the conflicts.

This is the story of Emma Gray, she works as a barista and takes care of her aunt. However, her aunt is kidnapped one day and while looking for her she has the ad of Caine, someone she met at a club because somehow she couldn't forget his scent.
Meeting Caine allows Emma to learn a lot about her life and her heritage and why her aunt was kidnapped. Emma understands she's part of a big problem and her help and that of her real family will do wonders to bring peace to everyone involved. Of course this will only happen f they can defeat the enemies attempting to make it all go wrong..

I really want to finish this series quartet because it will be one less "world" to care about in all of the books I had to read. I don't want to think of it like a task to be done and let's move on, but the reality is exactly that. I guess I could say it's not a hardship but these stories are only average for me and like I said to someone recently, these days I enjoy more certain types of plots and authors than a particular genre.
I used to love PNR and for a while it was pretty much my favorite type of book but with time and repetition of ideas I kind of started to move on. This doesn't mean I no longer like PNR because I DO, but truth to be told, I'm now more picky about it than before.

I think that, as it has happened with other authors and the previous installments in this series, so does this book feels like lacking in greatness. I can't help but think that  this world is full of potential but the way the author chose to execute the ideas, whether because of page limit of personal choice, the result was an average tale but not as amazing as it could be.
I guess my biggest issue, in terms of writing is how this world doesn't feel engaging nor addictive to read about. The shape shifter and vampires' societies seem too spread out, not united enough or well set. I know this is part of the whole conflict but it still feels like I'm just reading about a bunch of guys who happen to be shapeshifters but without any order or community. I've learned I enjoy these things a lot in PNRs.

As for this title in particular, I still read it better than I did the others. I don't think it was because I already knew what to expect, in truth I think the author achieved a better plot and character's development. I was more curious about these characters and how they would get their HEA and not just to get it over with.
Emma is a sweet woman and despite all the clichés surrounding the concept of herself as a heroine, I liked knowing more about her and how she would need to change her life, her behavior...
Caine is a recurrent character but he always seemed sort of childish so I had a hard time seeing him act as an adult because his personality was never as developed as Emma's, especially when it came to his ideas and background. Again, many clichés and used ideas from any PNR, so it was hard to read any deeper meanings in things.

All in all, this is a simple, average story that could gain a lot if it were published in a different brand with other types of rules. For its aim, I can't say it was badly done, but personally I would have liked something more engaging and more passionate.
Oh and the not fit to the couple's presence, neither is described as scary and unlikable as the models seem to be. Some covers are really unexplainable...
Grade: 6/10

Monday, June 29, 2015

Mercy Celeste - Let It Go

When alcohol and fierce tempers land two cowboys from the rodeo circuit under house arrest, it may be time to Let It Go. Can hidden secrets and a common enemy hold the key to happiness or... will they destroy them both?
Creed was the main focus of Eli’s fierce temper. For ten years the two men left a trail of destruction in their wake, with rodeo, beer, and fists all they had in common. Until a judge had enough and sentenced them to house arrest—in the same house. They’d either learn to get along or they’d kill each other.
Trapped on Eli’s rundown Florida ranch, Creed discovers Eli’s secret, one that he shares. But he didn’t count on Eli learning all of his secrets, especially the one that would shatter their newfound truce.
Scarred to his bones, Eli avoided relationships like the plague. Yet something about the quiet Creed had always pushed his buttons. Falling in love with him was never part of Eli’s plan. When it happens he’s unprepared and out of his league.
When a shared enemy comes calling Eli can only think of keeping Creed safe. He never dreamed that their lives were linked or that Creed’s former life could destroy them both. Will love be enough to save them?

Comment: This story has been waiting to be read a few months after it was released in 2012. As always, most books are in the pile for a while before I get to them and this one wasn't an exception. This month, I decided to read it at last.

This is the story of Eli and Creed. They have been enemies in the competitions they entered from the beginning. Why that was so they aren't sure but it just was. Then, one of the times they fought it over at a late party, they are sent to prison. The judge, someone who knows Eli, forces them to work together at Eli's ranch as punishment and sentence.
The guys have trouble letting go of the animosity between them but with time and the forced cohabiting, they start to admit their lives might not be as different as they think until the day a common enemy comes and makes it all bad. Can they save themselves?

What a great blurb! I can't just dismiss and ignore a good blurb where the potential and expectation about how the romance will develop seduces me completely. If I remember well, the blurb really got to me and I imagined all kinds of sexual tension and falling in love in a romantic story I couldn't wait to try.
Well, there's the other shoe, though.
With such a seductive blurb to me, I really can't stress out enough how disappointing it was to see such a promising story going down the drain.
But here's the thing: The story is hard and full of angst and issues, but that's not the problem for me. In my opinion, the real problem in all this is the deceiving blurb that portrays an idea and then the story is very different than what I think I'll get.
I thought I'd read a sweet romantic story - sure with some angst or villain to balance things - but this is more a drama with really disgusting content.

This is a serious story. It deals with serious situations, emotions, problems, scenes and I think the blurb makes it all seem unreal, like this would be only a romance about two guys overcoming their mistaken animosity for an obvious attraction.
I don't mind that the author wrote a serious and dramatic story and that she focused on (too) many difficult obstacles to be conquered. But when I started it, I dare to say I was led to believe it wouldn't be so.

Anyway, as for the story itself, I liked some things but others were really too much and I can't tell if it's the author intend or if things just went that way... the truth is, Creed and Eli have had seriously complicated things happening to them and it seems they couldn't go past that. Both their pasts are full of hardships, some harder than others and I confess it all seemed slightly too much. The story starts deceivingly easy but it evolves to a complex line of problems. In a way I could say this adds matter to the content but this content is hard to get past and I often wondered if anyone could ever live with the things the guys did and just go through life like that. I really think the two guys dealt with everything too easily. I'd say counseling wouldn't be enough to help them.

Creed is hit more harshly with a past no one should ever face. How he manages to seem balanced in the end I can't say. Still, I understand his reactions, the self explanations to justify hie behavior, his answers in some situations. Rationally, it's understandable.
Eli seems more steady, both in life and in his head. But he hasn't got it easy and I felt glad he could reach happiness with Creed.
I wish I could they their love was brighter than the sun and extinguished all evil, but in reality I think their lives were hit too many times with bad things to be credible they could live on love alone. Nevertheless, it was good to see a HEA happened. One that could happen, anyway.

The plot has a lot to be said. I think it's really difficult to separate the fictional parts from the human reactions to those situations they went through which are surely very real if we were to know it happened in real life to someone. I guess I'd say this isn't a romance. To me, this is a dramatic fictional story which happens to be ended with a HEA although not one of those sugary ones we see in other  - lighter - kind of novels.
It's not that bad, despite the disgusting parts, but I wish I weren't mislead by the blurb and the seemingly simple cover. I could have prepared myself for what was to come.
Grade: 6/10

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Alphabet Soup Challenge: Patricia Gaffney - Thief of Hearts

Though he is not her late husband's twin brother, John Brodie is far from the perfect gentleman and sheltered Anna Jourdaine would burn with shame. No lady would allow the outrageous liberties Brodie took, but forced to pretend she was married to him to clear Nick's good name, Anna finds herself weakening to her brother-in-law's seductive appeal. Caught up in deceits and desires beyond her control, she knows only that her future happiness depends on learning which brother is an immoral criminal and which is merely a thief of hearts.

Comment: This book has been in the pile for a couple of years and once in a while I randomly think about the amount of back lists by several authors I have to read and tell myself I need to get to them. This month I looked at ms Gaffney's list and thought this title would suit perfectly the T entry for the Soup challenge.

In this story we meet Anna Jourdaine, she's a newlywed whose husband is murdered soon after their marriage and when they were going to leave to their honeymoon. After a busy time she learns her beloved husband might be guilty of a crime concerning her family's business and she sees herself involved in a mad scheme to prove her husband's guilt - or innocence.
In order for this to happen, her husband's unknown twin brother is rescued from prison to take his place and play the part until more conspirators are found. 
The brother, John is just like Nick, her husband, but they are also totally different. With time, Anna starts seeing John for who he really is and he is also an innocent man. Could their scheme ever turn them into a real couple?

In general, I liked this story and felt curious about what would happen. I think a couple of plot situations were exaggerated without any real purpose I could see except bring out more (unnecessary) drama, but overall it was a good enough historical romance story.

I liked the idea of this story. Twins are a handy way to solve a character's proximity to another person for some reason and in a way that society won't find out. In this book's case, Anna's husband is replaced for his twin but with the premise the twin, John, will go back to prison after his part is completed. One would ask why bother, but I think any prisoner would like to savor freedom again and even contemplate escape. This wasn't a perfect scheme but considering the time and the lack of identity validities we have nowadays, it was done reasonably well.

I liked John. He had a love for life that wasn't mad or reckless and he hid a morally acceptable personality I liked knowing about, and how under his cockiness and sometimes vulgar behavior he had a good heart. He was a very interesting character who, in my opinion, didn't have all the focus I think he deserved.
Anna was more classically presented and she wanted a loving marriage. I understand her reaction when things went wrong and after her husband died. It certainly couldn't be easy to accept someone just because of a physical likeness.
Their relationship started rocky and mutually suspicious but small things and the need to uncover the truth led them to learn things about one another and to keep the pretense to find out who Nick really was. With time they started to fall in love although things were never easy or simple because there were always things to know, to solve, new findings...

The romance was OK, I guess. It wasn't as magical as some love stories I've read but it was entertaining enough to make me happy when the couple finally got their HEA.
As for the plot, a couple of things made this a bit exaggerated and I think sometimes the need to put drama in evidence to, perhaps, get a heavier reaction from the reader is a bit too much and in this book I felt that. Maybe it's just me.

All in all, I was glad enough with this story. I think the evolution of the two main characters was the focus of this story and that was good enough. I liked there was forgiveness and second chances enough to make this uplifting.
I don't think this is one of those books that stays in our memory like an epic romance but it did offer what it could and did its job.
Grade: 7/10

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Samantha Young - Fall From India Place

When Hannah Nichols last saw Marco D’Alessandro, five long years ago, he broke her heart. The bad boy with a hidden sweet side was the only guy Hannah ever loved—and the only man she’s ever been with. After one intense night of giving into temptation, Marco took off, leaving Scotland and Hannah behind. Shattered by the consequences of their night together, Hannah has never truly moved on.
Leaving Hannah was the biggest mistake of Marco’s life, something he has deeply regretted for years. So when fate reunites them, he refuses to let her go without a fight. Determined to make her his, Marco pursues Hannah, reminding her of all the reasons they’re meant to be together.…
But just when Marco thinks they’re committed to a future together, Hannah makes a discovery that unearths the secret pain she’s been hiding from him, a secret that could tear them apart before they have a real chance to start over again.

Comment: This is the fourth full length story in the Dublin Street series by author Samantha Young. So far, all the books in this series have intrigued me and I was actually positively surprised by how much I liked them, considering some opinions. I guess what works for some really does not for others in some cases. I very pleased these books work for me.

This is the story of Hannah, she's Braden's sister, sort of, and she has always been a cheeky teenager, confident and happy. As the other books moved along we got to know she had a crush on a boy and they seemed to become something serious but then the guy, Marcus, went away and Hannah was down for a while but now she is a happy adult with the possibility of her teaching job becoming permanent and her family is healthy and happy.
But Marcus suddenly comes back into her life and although she attempts to stay away from him, the connection they had gets stronger and they try to be together again. But both have secrets about what what happened in the past and would that affect their new found love?

I think the biggest lesson in this story is how we should just live the moment and try to grab all the happiness we can because life is short and we shouldn't let it go to waste.
The morale is, indeed, appreciated. However, this story - despite still being amazing and one I loved spending time with - also felt slightly less polished than the others.
I think the fact the protagonists, Hannah and Marco, had had the beginning of a relationship helped in now making their reconnection faster. Still, I do dislike this trope in general and enjoying this story didn't distract me enough from the fact this is a lovers reunited plot.
I do have to appreciate this author did a good job in making me care about the characters and writing a compelling family that I did like this story, even if not as much as the others.

Hannah is a good protagonist, she's a warm, friendly girl even with some quirky traits that make her endearing as well. I liked how she felt about her family and how she gave importance to so many things like appreciation for her parents or the need to trust her close family. I thought she would be a bit more shy and we get to know how she got past that. In a way, I understand how this shaped her character but I kind of wanted her to still be shy like she was as a teenager. I feel shy female protagonists aren't enough and when they exist they overcome that as a handicap or don't act like shy people. Anyway...something I wished were different.
Hannah went through some serious issues and I understand how this made her think some things concerning her future with Marco but thankfully in romacelandia everything usually works out well.

Marco is an intriguing character. I'd have liked to know more about him but since this is told from Hannah's POV, we only know things by their conversations. He is funny now but as a younger self he seemed darker and more intense maybe this is an obvious way to compare how much he has grown up and changed. His actions from the past have an explanation but I felt their romance overall was weaker than the others. I just felt a certain separation from what their story is because they were away from each other for a long time and the motives for it were made as not worthy of the separation itself. Meaning, I think the author used many tools to explain what could have been done in a simpler, clearer way.

Still, I enjoyed the story. It has some elements which surely were meant to be angsty or emotional but I think some elements were a bit too much. I had the feeling the author struggled a lot more with this plot and the others were more effortless. It's just an impression. I also think the trope didn't help even if appropriate to this couple's story. (Perhaps it's my prejudice against "lovers reunited" speaking...)

In the end, I liked this enough to keep the faith and I ended up glad about the fact they got their HEA. But what I liked the most were all the family scenes with the characters we've known from other books and how they are now that some years have passed from the 3rd story to this one. How good to see HEAs still active and important to the family ties the author has been using. Really great!
Grade: 7/10

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Two depressing books: personal taste, content intention?

Way of the Wolf by EE Knight
->  Louisiana, 2065, 43rd year of the Kurian Order. Possessed of an unnatural hunger, bloodthirsty Reapers rule the planet, sucking out human blood and souls. Starting in revenge for the loss of his parents, on to fellow soldiers, Lieutenant David Valentine intends to fight back in this western-style frontier
 Blood Meridian by Cormac McCarthy
-> An epic novel of the violence and depravity that attended America's westward expansion, Blood Meridian brilliantly subverts the conventions of the Western novel and the mythology of the "wild west." Based on historical events that took place on the Texas-Mexico border in the 1850s, it traces the fortunes of the Kid, a fourteen-year-old Tennesseean who stumbles into the nightmarish world where Indians are being murdered and the market for their scalps is thriving.

Comment: Recently I've read two books that I considered depressing in general. Although one of them seemed worse in terms of content, I can't ignore the fact of how I felt by reading them and when I finished.
Both have in common the lack of hope. I don't mean to say the authors didn't have a purpose, which is rather obvious, actually, but for me, personally, the goal wasn't exactly clear. I think the books were too depressing and angsty to be savored. 
I think part of this reaction is my own take on life right now. I'm not in a happy place and reading about such depressing things puts me down and depresses me. It doesn't mean the books are bad or that they are trash, it just means I didn't enjoy them.

I have to say both had some good aspects but the story, which is the biggest aim in all this, didn't met my taste. I know I'm only one reader and perhaps my opinions don't really matter, but in the end of the day every reader does it for themselves. 
I consider myself a pretty eclectic reader, I don't stick only to the things I know I'll prefer. I also read things I know might not be to my preference and sometimes that's good, it's important to let go of the same, to try something else, to see if that author will be one of those that changes the game and makes us love a genre or a plot we normally wouldn't.
Isn't this the beauty of reading books?

I often wonder if it's true that some readers can read more serious toned books or those so called "erudite" books better than others, that some readers can understand or interpret them better than others. The kind of books one reads is still something as full of prejudice as any other activity in the world, I think.
I feel some books aren't for me and I don't like them. Does that mean I'm a lesser reader than someone who does like those books? I think we all judge others by several things including what we read but if we're honest to ourselves, when it comes to give up on things others condemn, do we really stop reading?
I think it works both ways. I don't look for more conceited books to look good, the same I don't give up on things I like because they aren't considered "better". So, each reader knows their own mind in the end. This means I'll keep trying books I usually wouldn't think of touching but that is a study on my own taste, not on what it means to my «reader identity» if we do have one!
Blood Meridian is a well liked fiction book based on real happenings. I liked the writing, the prose is easily read and unlike some readers, I liked how fast it looked and how small the sentences usually were. What I really disliked was the content. The plot didn't seem to have any goal besides death and suffering and the validity of how a human being can be the most horrendous of the animals. I guess we all have it in us, depending on the environment around us, the stimuli and conditions in which we live. Still, no matter the characterization and the intellectuality of any meaning intended, I did not like the story nor what it signifies. I read this one in PT.
Grade: 2/10

Way of the Wolf is an interesting UF/fantastic dystopian story about the Earth being ruled by aliens. I liked the main character's personality, bravery and knowledge things would have to change and he does try his best in fighting a sacred fight to gain humanity back, one day at a time. However it is depressing to think there are many books until something positive happens and that he is surrounded by degrading things and actions people make against each other and aliens against humans. The body count is high and the small hope one can find isn't enough to erase what I think is just suffering and death, one after the other in a repetitive and seemingly never ending cycle. 
Good things, concepts, but a too depressing execution and content and it was hard to find any reason to continue this series when even more degradation is sure to come.
Grade: 5/10

-> All in all, both books disappointed me. We always create some kind of expectation, maybe not about the perfection of a book, but of what we wish it would be. These two can be wonderful works of narrative art but, for me, they didn't work and that's it.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Lorraine Heath - Parting Gifts

Desperate for food and shelter, she came to a Texas brothel, knowing what she had to do to survive...
A widower with three children, he knew he wanted more from Maddie than one night of pleasure. He wanted to marry her..
Overnight she went from a dire situation to a comfortable home filled with the warmth of family. But the truth behind their quick marriage was bittersweet -- for Charles Lawson knew he was dying, and he wanted more than anything to leave his children with the gift of love, with a kind and caring mother. And in his race against time, he made the boldest decision of all: Maddie could build a new life -- and a loving home -- with his brother, Jesse. For even as the tender memories of a love past live on, the heart endures, ready to love once more...

Comment: This is another one of the many titles I had in my TBR and felt like reading. I knew the story would be emotional and I wanted to spend a good time learning to like the characters. I already knew the author is talented so I expected a good story.

This is the tale of Maddie, a young woman we meet at the beginning of the book when she enters a brothel because she doesn't have money, she doesn't have anything else to trade for food and her family's dead. She accepts to be there because it's her last resource but she wasn't counting on being saved right away from a unknown man who proposes her a sort of job in exchange for his saving her: she will be his wife and a mother for his children.
Maddie accepts this offer, she feels she should pay back somehow to the man who saved her but what she's unaware is the fact her new husband is sick and that living near his brother will prove to be the best and most challenging task of her life...

There's really something to be said about historical love stories where situations so weird and impossible to our contemporary ways can be believable and romantic. This is my favorite thing about these novels, how we can escape to a world where rules and living were so different we can't expect anything to be solved like we do today.
The plot to this story is a good example, first it must have been very difficult to a man to pay to save a prostitute - even if it was her first night, like with Maddie - then to marry her to offer her a honest living and the only thing he wanted in return was for her to care for his children. Still, this resonated deeply to my feelings of honor and decency and I always feel happy when good people act honorably and are fair to those around them and live a simple but dedicated life.
I was sold on this plot and the personality and characterization of Maddie from the very start.

The story isn't totally simple because there are things Maddie doesn't know but when she does she doesn't react crazy or recklessly, she understands and she keep trying her best to be the person that family needs to have a normal life as long as she can. She cooks, does work and cares for every member of the family. She has fears and secrets and honestly I could have done without the secrets part because the story already had an intense drama and didn't need more to make it seem fuller - if that was the goal there.

Maddie is wonderful but she is in a dilemma. She cars for her husband Thomas and his children but Jesse, her single brother-in-law, he is the one for her. She doesn't think that right away but with time they get closer and fall in love. I liked their romance felt inevitable but never did they act fully on it. They never cheated on Thomas and I applaud that.

Jesse is a captivating character. I really liked him, he's honorable too and he does things putting other's feelings into perspective. He falls for Maddie but he still tries to see his brother happy and helps him any way he can and I confess to feel very pleased by his dedication. Jesse is a character that soothes because he isn't alpha and demanding, he tries his best to help others.

This story ends in a very emotional and heartbreaking way. I think there's a deep sad part and then the way things happen after are expected, still beautiful but I think a couple of changes would have done better justice to the characters involved.
I really liked the plot, so many scenes where several emotions ran though me, where we got to see how everyone was shaped. I don't think this story is as perfect as it could be, there are some parts a bit pushed together to work out which look rushed in a way, and I also think some explanations could be better.
Still, the very end was sweet, a bit over done in a particular case, but overall, this is a beautiful, entertaining story and it made me feel happy to have read it.
Grade: 8/10

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Ruthie Knox - Ride With Me

When Lexie Marshall places an ad for a cycling companion, she hopes to find someone friendly and fun to cross the TransAmerica Trail with. Instead, she gets Tom Geiger—a lean, sexy loner whose bad attitude threatens to spoil the adventure she’s spent years planning.
Roped into the cycling equivalent of a blind date by his sister, Tom doesn’t want to ride with a chatty, go-by-the-map kind of woman, and he certainly doesn’t want to want her. Too bad the sight of Lexie with a bike between her thighs really turns his crank.
Even Tom’s stubborn determination to keep Lexie at a distance can’t stop a kiss from leading to endless nights of hotter-than-hot sex. But when the wild ride ends, where will they go next?

Comment: I've had my eye on this book for a long time. Unfortunately the book wasn't easy to get, especially in my country. Recently I was given a copy and I jumped in joy! I've also read another book by the author and liked it so, I had high hopes for this one too.

This is the story of Lexie, she want to do the TransAmerica Trail circuit in a bike. It's something she wanted for a long time but she's not irresponsible to do it alone. She puts an ad in the paper to have company, detailing everything but the fact she's a woman because she had guys quit on her before.
Tom Geiger's sister, however, decides to push her brother into action and set him up with Lexie - who calls herself Alex in the ad - in an attempt to make him be interested in something again, after his past turned him into an almost anti social hermit.
When the two meet, things don't start in the best way, but Lexie's attitude and Tom's responsibility don't let the other go and so they get going. At first they barely talk but then things change a lot...

I really liked this story. It had many good scenes I wanted to gorge myself in. I kept waiting for what would happen and how the characters would act.
In a way, this book's plot can be divided into two parts, although the narrative is continuous. But personally, I'd say the story has one tone until Lexie and Tom seriously talk and admit their feelings and then it becomes something different from then on. I do confess the best part was seeing them before and how the tension kept rising until they couldn't fight the attraction and feelings anymore,
This doesn't mean after that the story loses focus or strength but it's noticeable a change and, in a way, it kind calmed down.

Lexie was a great character, I envy her take on life, we get the idea she has an OK job and the hobby she loves is allowing her to go on an adventure. She seems someone who plans things and tries to do what she can. She isn't crazy, she knows she's do better with someone instead of being all alone. How I wish I were that brave to just live. Anyway, her personality seems nice and I wanted to see her succeed and finish her goal.
Tom, on the other hand, is moody and not always friendly and we get why when we learn the price he paid for being honorable in the past. I liked there was an excuse for the outcome of his actions, meaning, he did something, things didn't go all well but his reasons were good even if he didn't think it all through before acting. Sometimes we do good things and can't really see how far they would take us... so I understand his feelings and his attitude.

Of course Lexie and Tom are great together. They get to learn about each other while on the journey an I got the idea sometimes the right person might be the one to support us in all things. It was great to see that they could complement each other like that.
the sex part was slightly too much I think. But it didn't ruin the story for me.

I enjoyed the story because it was fun to see in what kind of situations the characters would get themselves into while in their bikes. It was cute to see Tom taking care of someone even reluctantly and to see Lexie going from a predicted straight trip to just have fun. This is why I think they make a good couple, they get something from the other. In the end I was happy they got their HEA.

The does happen and we do have an idea of what the future will be like for them, being love already a certainty. But I would have liked to see it in an epilogue or something, just to remind me of the lessons they learned and the positivism they gained. It wasn't a rushed end per se, but things happened quite fast towards the end and we just know they end up happy and that could have been better done.

All in all, this was great, inspiring and happy and I'm very pleased to have spent great moments with the couple's romance and adventure. Sometimes that's the best.
Grade: 8/10