Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Cindi Madsen - Crazy for the Competition

Always the rebel in her ultra-conservative family, Quinn Sakata dreams of quitting her dad's real-estate business and restoring the old Mountain Ridge Bed and Breakfast in her hometown of Hope Springs. Except that Quinn's not the only person bidding on it. Worse still, her competitor is her high school crush, Heath Brantley, who is all kinds of ripped, tattooed hotness...
So much for her "nice, conservative boys" rule.
Heath has his own reasons for bidding on Mountain Ridge, and he won't give in without a fight - even to the red-lipped hottie with a sailor's mouth. But when their rivalry shifts into an unexpected zing of chemistry, Heath realizes he's in deep trouble. Because it's inevitable that emotions will get involved, and he needs to keep his eyes on the prize before they both get hurt.

Comment: I knew about this the usual way one knows about books out of one's radar, which is, basically, GR suggestions or book lists with things similar to things we liked. I only decided I wanted to read this book because it seemed it had a enemies to lovers plot and I like those.

This is the story of Quinn Sakata, a young woman who works for her father's company but she dreams of having her own place and control her time and work and for that she planned on bidding on an old property so she can renovate the space and later on starting a Bed and Breakfast.
Heath Brantley, however, thinks the same, he and his deployed brother put all their savings to bid on the property so they can open their own hunting lodge. This way they can stay away from their father's house and business and avoid Heath's brother renovating a military contract.
These two have everything to battle but what about the complicity that comes from the confrontations?

This is my first story by the author and the second in her Hope Springs trilogy. I have to say her style is simple, easy, fluid and engaging. The narrative was catching and the details used aren't badly done. In terms of writing style I found no issues with this novel.

I knew, when I first got the book, that this belonged to a trilogy and I haven't read the first book yet. In fact, I don't plan to because the story doesn't appeal to me much. The third story isn't interesting enough for me to go after it also. I guess it's a case of just focusing on a story and that's it. I know it goes against may readers "rules" (in general, mine as well) of reading things in order, but I don't feel invested enough in those characters to keep reading.
This almost sounds nonsense if I say I liked the story and the writing but...this story had enough elements to compel and seduce me and the others simply don't.

The plot is quite interesting, I liked all the movements we are told about the protagonists' actions and all the scenes that convince us why it matters why each one must be given the positive decision of renovating the property. I liked both had very valid reasons and their behavior towards the end of the story gains force and substance but neither does something totally wrong and has to apologize after and so on. The conflicts are basically internal rather than actions they do.
I was quite happy with the resolution although from a certain point it's the only things that makes sense for them to reach a HEA.

The protagonists have their strengths and weaknesses but overall, their relationship was satisfying.
I just think it was given to much emphasis to their particular antagonism when, all things considered, there's basically none to be seen. The heroine even had a crush on the hero when they were teenagers, which makes their connection closer than what I imagined.
We are also led to believe the heroine is a rebel but she isn't. Not that I minded, but is makes you expect different things. When she did act more rebel I actually thought it wasn't up to her behavior, so...
The hero has some interesting layers and his past seemed to be more complicated in terms of family support and a good support system in general but I liked he didn't let himself be too affected by it. In a way, I liked him a bit more although he could have been constructed better as a character.
The emotional development of their personalities was interesting, their relationship mostly convincing too.

There are three interesting themes exploited here, not too deep (this isn't a drama after all) and I would have liked to see more but overall it was ok.
First, the much younger sibling relationship between Heath and his younger half brother.
Second, the fact Quinn has a Japanese family and identity and how culture has a role in all her decisions, choices, beliefs...
Third, Quinn's personal choice of waiting for marriage to have sex.
All these things are included in this plot's development, it certainly makes things lively and adds more layers to a very simple plot. Too bad some of those situations would have been better developed if only there was more time. As it is, maybe the author didn't have to include as many...

All in all, this was a good book, I had fun, I liked the HEA, very sweet.... The story has many positive elements but there are some little details that could have worked better. Still, a great attempt on trying a different author.
Grade: 8/10

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