Thursday, September 29, 2011

Challenge Completed: What's In a Name 4 Challenge

I have completed the What's In a Name 4 Challenge hosted by Beth Fish from Beth Fish Reads. This was definitely the most unique reading challenge that I have participated in this year. I had the most difficult time finding a book that fits with #2, so "glass" is a bit of a stretch. Here are the categories and corresponding books that I read for this challenge. The links will lead you to my reviews of each book.

1. A book with a number in the title: 13 Little Blue Envelopes by Maureen Johnson
2. A book with jewelry or a gem in the title: Storm Glass by Maria V. Snyder
3. A book with a size in the title: Halfway to the Grave by Jeaniene Frost
4. A book with travel or movement in the title: On The Prowl by Patricia Briggs, Eileen Wilks, Karen Chance, and Sunny
5. A book with evil in the title: Walking Dead by C. E. Murphy
6. A book with a life stage in the title: Harvest Moon by Mercedes Lackey, Michelle Sagara, and Cameron Haley

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Review: Storm Glass by Maria V. Snyder

Book Details:
Storm Glass
By Maria V. Snyder
Genre: Fantasy
Published 2009, MIRA Books
Paperback, 488 pages
ISBN: 9780778325642

          As a glassmaker and a magician-in-training, Opal Cowen understands trial by fire. Now it's time to test her mettle. Someone has sabotaged the Stormdancer clan's glass orbs, killing their most powerful magicians. The Stormdancers—particularly the mysterious and mercurial Kade—require Opal's unique talents to prevent it happening again. But when the mission goes awry, Opal must tap in to a new kind of magic as stunningly potent as it is frightening. And the further she delves into the intrigue behind the glass and magic, the more distorted things appear. With lives hanging in the balance—including her own—Opal must control powers she hadn't known she possessed…powers that might lead to disaster beyond anything she's ever known.
It's been awhile since I read Maria V. Snyder's first trilogy, but this book follows right on its heels, explaining how Opal Cowen connects to Yelena, while leading into Opal's life of glass-making. The whole process is intricately described throughout the book, but without burdening the plot with too much detail.
Despite the part that Opal played and her great contribution to Sitia, she does not consider her magical abilities to be anything worth boasting about and struggles with low self-esteem for most of the book. All the while, her abilities grow and blossom in the face of suspense and danger. Her specific talents keep her busy solving one magical dilemma after another, introducing her to new characters along the way, as well as bringing in familiar faces - some welcome and some not.
The romantic aspects to the book involve her being torn between two men, Kale of the Stormdance clan, and Ulrick, a fellow glass-maker. While Opal shares qualities with both young men, I prefer her chemistry with the moody, quiet Kale over the self-absorbed Ulrick.
One of the more interesting characters in the book aside from Opal is her school nemesis, who also happens to be in the running for becoming a Master Magician. Their interactions teach Opal a few things about herself, both magical and psychological, and they develop into unlikely allies. Theirs is one of several loose ends left in the book that will likely be continued in the next book, Sea Glass.

The Cover: I love the visualization of the magic encased in a glass ball, but hidden - like a secret.

First Line: "The hot air pressed against my face as I entered the glass factory."
This descriptive first line helps me feel as the narrator feels, as well as introduces me to the arching theme of the series - very nice.

Favorite Quote"Yippee. I’ve been promoted from fire lighter to delivery boy. I’ll write a letter home to Mother. She’ll be so pleased.”

Read For: What's In a Name Challenge

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Teaser Tuesday: Chocolat by Joanne Harris

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:
1. Grab your current read.
2. Open to a random page.
3. Share two “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page.
4. BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!).
5. Share the title and author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

My Teaser:
         Still more of this interminable rain. It falls like a piece of the sky upended to pour misery onto the aquarium life below. The children, bright plastic ducks in their waterproofs and boots, squawk and waddle across the sqaure, their cries ricocheting off the low clouds. I work in the kitchen with half an eye to the children in the street. This morning I unmade the window display, the witch, the gingerbread house, and all the chocolate animals sitting around watching with glossy expectant faces, and Anouk and her friends shared the pieces between excursions into rainy backwaters of Les Marauds. Jeannot Drou watched me in the kitchen, a piece of gilded pain d'epices in each hand, eyes shining. Anouk stood behind him, the others behind her, a wall of shining eyes and whisperings. - pg. 101, Chocolat by Joanne Harris
What are you reading this week?

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Review: Ghost Town by Rachel Caine

Book Details:
Ghost Town
By Rachel Caine
Genre: Fantasy
Published Nov. 2010, Penguin Group
Hardback, 335 pages
ISBN: 9780451231611

          While developing a new system to maintain the town's defenses, genius student Claire Danvers discovers a way to use the vampires' powers to keep outsiders from spreading news of Morganville's "unique" situation. But when people in town start forgetting who they are-including the vampires-Claire has to figure out how to pull the plug on her experiment before she forgets how to save herself...and Morganville.

I have to say, I really hope this series never truly ends, because I don't think I could ever get tired of reading about the escapades of Claire and friends in the supernatural town of Morganville, Texas.
In this book, Rachel Caine uses a unique form of mass amnesia to show the reader what Morganville was like before Claire showed up, including many of the different characters that play a part in the series. After Claire is forced to fix the machine that protects the town -- which proves once again how big her brain really is -- amnesia and Myrnin-style craziness erupt in Morganville. Claire, of course, is the only one who correctly guesses the source of the madness, though the more people forget, the harder it is for her to get to the machine and find a way to repair it.
If a giant broken machine is not enough to keep Claire busy, Amelie and Oliver are also in a power struggle for control of the town that not even mass amnesia can stop. The power struggle also reveals an interesting twist in their relationship that could be useful in future plots. Allegiances are also revealed, as well as the roles that a few of the vampires play under each of the two heads' discretion. One abhorred character is also conveniently killed off in the middle of this power struggle.
The mass amnesia also shows how some of the characters are predisposed to behaving a certain way, even if they can not remember certain things about themselves. Michael and Eve still have chemistry, as do Shane and Claire, and Monica is still the same - though a younger, flouncier version.
For the most part, the way the book ends is almost exactly how I predicted it would be, except for one crucial detail that made my jaw drop in shock. I really need to get my hands on the next book, Bite Club.

The Cover: Claire is at her best in this photo, though I never did figure out if there was any significance to the necklace she is wearing on the cover.

First Line: "'Oh, this doesn't sound like a good idea,' Claire said, looking down at the paper that had been shoved into her hand by a passing student."
Now this is a great way to start a book - especially since I know when Claire says something is bad, it's really bad.

Favorite Quote"I'm worried he's going to ... do something crazy." 
"He lives in a hole in the ground, dresses funny, and occasionally eats his assistants," Eve said. "Define crazy."

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Review: Wedlocked by Bonnie Trachtenberg

Book Details:
By Bonnie Trachtenberg
Genre: Romance
Published 2011, iUniverse
Paperback, 260 pages
ISBN: 9781462022670

          On what should be the happiest day of her life, Rebecca Ross is panic stricken. Rebecca has just wed Craig Jacobs, but she realizes she put more thought into choosing her florist than she did in choosing the man she's just pledged to love for the rest of her life. Before Craig, Rebecca, a talented Long Island girl, dreamed of following in her grandmother's footsteps with an acting career. Unfortunately, she was cut down to size by years of disappointment, and by her first love-a Hollywood director. She returned to Long Island a lost and broken woman, and ended up in the last place she ever wanted: her old bedroom at her parents' house.
But Rebecca's mother, an overzealous convert to Judaism, has a long held dream too: marry off her three daughters to Jewish men. So no one is more thrilled than her when Rebecca meets and marries bon vivant Craig Jacobs, the man who has won over the whole family. Too bad they're all about to discover that underneath his charismatic shell, this Prince Charming is anything but!
While the cover of the book gives the impression that the story is exclusively about the main character Rebecca's bad marriage. The book actually encompasses her life leading up to the bad marriage and what happens as a result of the rocky nuptials. The actual ceremony is understood to have happened sort of "between the lines," so to speak. The book is a before and after image in prose.
The prologue to the book is the immediate aftermath of the ceremony when Rebecca is undergoing the realization of her mistake. I was a bit confused at this point since I could not figure out if the ceremony took place or not. The next chapter starts in Rebecca's childhood, growing up with two sisters and a very marriage-minded mother in a strict Jewish household. To her mother's dismay, Rebecca is quickly influenced by her grandma Emma into a love for acting, movies, and theater. From there, the book walks us through Rebecca's pursuit of an acting career and near-absence of dating material.
Though Rebecca is likable enough, I had a difficult time relating to her career struggles, since I have little interest in that side of the business. I also did wonder if she was really as talented as she claimed to be, since her struggles were so great.
When a man, Evan, finally lays claim to Rebecca's heart, both Rebecca and Evan handle the relationship poorly and Rebecca abandons her suffering career with a broken heart. The man she eventually becomes "wedlocked" to, Craig, then shows up in her life, and a rebound relationship becomes a permanent one before Rebecca thinks to learn a bit more about her new husband. A honeymoon from hell makes the reality of her situation quite clear as Craig's bad behavior and numerous secrets get him in trouble with the Italian government, until a new friend, Michael, flies in to save the day.
Without spoiling the ending, I think Rebecca handled her problems remarkably well, with a little help, and ended the book with a humorous twist. If I suspend my opinions of the Hollywood-influenced methods of dating, marriage, and divorce that is so common in America today, the book was an entertaining read, and likely would make an even better movie.

The Cover: The cover image is a very good representation of the the overall premise of the book according to the title - chained to a bad marriage. While I think the book was about more than just this, the cover still gets my attention.

First Line: "I used to think the term 'temporary insanity' was just a dubious courtroom plea."
I love this opening line - what kind of romance would fall into the category of temporary insanity?

Favorite Quote: "I bet there are a lot of things that vision distracts us from."

Read For: Off the Shelf Challenge

*I received this book free of charge from the publisher for review purposes.*

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Review: Lover Eternal by J. R. Ward

Lover Eternal (Black Dagger Brotherhood, Book 2)Book Details:
Lover Eternal (Black Dagger Brotherhood, Book 2)
By J. R. Ward
Genre: Fantasy
Published 2006, Penguin Books
Paperback, 441 pages
ISBN: 9780451218049

          Within the brotherhood, Rhage is the vampire with the strongest appetite. He's the best fighter, the quickest to act on his impulses, and the most voracious lover-for inside him burns a ferocious curse cast by the Scribe Virgin.

Possessed by this dark side, Rhage fears the times when his inner dragon is unleashed, making him a danger to everyone around him. When Mary Luce is unwittingly thrown into the vampire world, she must rely on Rhage's protection. Knowing that Mary feels the same intense animal attraction, Rhage must make her his alone...
First off, I enjoyed this book much more than the first book. I was familiar with the background, so I did not need to take time to understand everything, and I was already familiar with the main characters of the brotherhood, so I knew who I liked and wanted to know more about.
This book focused on Rhage and his love interest, Mary. Rhage is the one nicknamed "Hollywood" for both his good looks and promiscuous behavior. That, plus the violent habits of the brotherhood allow him to keep the dragon-like beast inside in check, but the appearance of Mary puts a new spin on an old curse. Just like the theme in the first book, the desire to claim Mary for his wife changes Rhage permanently - I detect a commonality throughout the series with this theme.
Rhage has a very frank and forward way of communicating, which I like, though it can sometimes throw me off in the reading. Mary sometimes got quite annoying with how low her self-image is. The way that the book ends and how the Scribe Virgin plays into Rhage and Mary's romance seemed a bit out of place and over-compensating, but it did cause things to work out well, so I won't complain.
The subplot of the lessers also progresses with the introduction of a secondary character under Mr. X, a Mr. O who seems to resent being a lesser and possesses a weakness. This, combined with a subplot dedicated to the brother, Zsadist, leads into the next book in the series, Lover Awakened.

The Cover: This cover is very similar to the first cover, only the color has changed. It would be nice to have a picture that is more specific to the plot.

First Line: "'Ah, hell, V, you're killing me.' Butch O'Neal mined through his sock drawer, looking for black silk, finding white cotton."
My curiosity about Butch was peaked in the first novel, so I love that Ward opens with his P.O.V. I have high hopes for this book.

Favorite Quote"She smiled a little. 'You are a manipulator.' 
'I like to think of myself more as an outcome engineer.'"

Read For: Black Dagger Brotherhood Challenge, 101 Fantasy Challenge

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Teaser Tuesday: Storm Glass by Maria V. Snyder

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:
1. Grab your current read.
2. Open to a random page.
3. Share two “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page.
4. BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!).
5. Share the title and author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

My Teaser:
Storm Glass (Glass, Book 1)
          'How long did it take before you could think of her without... ' He tapped his chest. 'The burning pain?' 'Yes.' 'Two to three years. But don't go by me. Everyone grieves in different ways. For some, it could take longer or shorter. I do know it never disappears. An ember still smolders inside me. Most days, I don't notice it, but, out of the blue, it'll flare to life.' The air around me pressed against my skin as if charged with magic. I stepped closer to Kade, seeking to connect with him, ease his pain. He jerked back, and the energy dissipated. 'Then I should avoid getting burned again.' - pg. 192, Storm Glass (Glass, Book 1) by Maria V. Snyder

What are you reading this week?


Saturday, September 10, 2011

Review: A Heart Most Worthy by Siri Mitchell

Heart Most Worthy, ABook Details:
Heart Most Worthy, A
By Siri Mitchell
Genre: Christian Fiction
Published 2011, Bethany House
Paperback, 372 pages
ISBN: 9780764207952

          The elegance of Madame Forza's gown shop is a far cry from the downtrodden North End of Boston. Yet each day Julietta, Annamaria, and Luciana enter the world of the upper class, working on finery for the elite in society. The three beauties each long to break free of their obligations and embrace the American dream--and their chance for love. But the ways of the heart are difficult to discern at times. Julietta is drawn to the swarthy, mysterious Angelo. Annamaria has a star-crossed encounter with the grocer's son, a man from the entirely wrong family. And through no intent of her own, Luciana catches the eye of Billy Quinn, the son of Madame Forza's most important client. Their destinies intertwined, each harboring a secret from their families and each other, will they be found worthy of the love they seek?
Siri Mitchell's books always seem to have the most beautiful covers, and, like the last one I read, She Walks in Beauty,I was originally attracted to this book for the cover alone. Before I read the book, I skipped to the back and read the "Note to the Reader," which detailed the historical background of the book, referencing the Great Italian Emigration and the Spanish Influenza. This perked my interest in the book even more so, since I did not know anything about these references before this book. The Italian aspect also interested me since I have some Italian blood in me.
One of the first thoughts that occurred to me when I began the book was how little the three girls and their separate subplots had in common. The characters do not seem to intersect at all, and all three girls are very different from one another, with the exception of the dress shop. It felt almost like three different stories that the author took turns telling. As the book progresses, that proves to be incorrect, as the different characters intersect in the most unusual ways, such as one of girl's love interest driving the delivery truck for the shop where another girl's love interest works. This aspect of the book became the most interesting for me, since Mitchell does not make a big deal of pointing out where the connections are, and I enjoyed tracking them.
The owner of the dress shop, Madame Fortier, had her own subplot as well, but I was a bit dissatisfied with how hers played out, since very little about her circumstances changed - even though it was this that made her unhappy in the first place.
All three girls were very likable for her own reasons, though each one's subplot ended somewhat differently. Luciana seemed to get the best deal of the three girls, though all were very happy by the end. Annamaria's ending was bittersweet, but it gave the reality of the Spanish Influenza more impact. I did not like Julietta overly much in the beginning, but the lessons she learned made me like her that much more by the end.
Overall, the book was at times intriguing, romantic, suspenseful, and even frustrating, but it was definitely worth the read.

The Cover: I love the dress on this cover, which is also directly described in the book, besides being an indirect reference to part of the plot's background.

First Line: "On May 2, 1918, a short article appeared in the Boston Globe."
Informative, yes, and boring, even more so - good thing I already like Siri Mitchell's writing.

Favorite Quote"Who has ever deserved anything they've been given? Love isn't about deserving, cara mia. It's about giving. And accepting. And sharing. The most worthy heart is also the most courageous." 

Read For: Off the Shelf Challenge, I Want More Challenge

*I received this book free of charge from the publisher for review purposes.*

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Review: At Grave's End by Jeaniene Frost

At Grave's End (Night Huntress, Book 3)Book Details:
At Grave's End (Night Huntress, Book 3)
By Jeaniene Frost
Genre: Fantasy
Published 2009, HarperCollins
Paperback, 342 pages
ISBN: 9780061583070

          Some things won't stay buried . . . at grave's end
It should be the best time of half-vampire Cat Crawfield's life. With her undead lover Bones at her side, she's successfully protected mortals from the rogue undead. But though Cat's worn disguise after disguise to keep her true identity a secret from the brazen bloodsuckers, her cover's finally been blown, placing her in terrible danger.
As if that wasn't enough, a woman from Bones's past is determined to bury him once and for all. Caught in the crosshairs of a vengeful vamp, yet determined to help Bones stop a lethal magic from being unleashed, Cat's about to learn the true meaning of bad blood. And the tricks she's learned as a special agent won't help her. She will need to fully embrace her vampire instincts in order to save herself—and Bones—from a fate worse than the grave.
I find it funny that with all of the vampire books I have read over the years, I still have not tired of the theme. In this third book in the Night Huntress series, Jeaniene Frost continues to make life interesting for Cat and Bones and friends by adding a little magic to the mix, specifically from the legendary Cleopatra's daughter-turned-vampire, Patra, who also happens to be Bones's grandsire-turned-partner, Mancheres's wife. Life as a vampire only becomes more convoluted for Cat as Bones gains a few new abilities, and Cat learns why vamps are not allowed to practice magic. When they learn that Patra has sent "the grave" after Bones, I had visions of horror movies dancing in my head - and I was not that far off in my guesses. Since I am not a fan of this particular fad in fantasy fiction, I was glad that Frost depicted these paranormal creatures so horrifically.
One of the elements that I also like about this series is the humor - which Frost delivers in the form of Cat's mother, who embraces the circumstances of Cat and friends' protection with surprising relish. Without spoiling this juicy tidbit, I will say I laughed out loud when I read about the change in Cat's mother.
On the flip side, when anguish hits Cat hard, I felt her pain more than I expected to, even though I harbored doubts about what had really occurred. The emotion that Frost conveys in this section of the plot feels as real as if I felt the same loss as Cat.
There are many other interesting tidbits in the book, such as what almost occurs with Tate - and the result, Juan's decision, as well as the truce that develops between Annette and Cat. This is why I love series - side characters get more plot time, subplots can continue to mature, and I don't have to leave the imagined world behind just because I closed the book! I can't wait for the next book, Destined for an Early Grave (Night Huntress, Book 4).

The Cover: I love the coat and boots that Cat sports, and the church in the background fits in with the plot - perfect.

First Line: "The man smiled and I let my gaze linger over his face."
There is nothing particularly exciting about this opening, but I do sense some sexual tension that is essential to the series.

Favorite Quote"Yeah, Life is a bitch and then you get stabbed."

Read For: 101 Fantasy Challenge

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Teaser Tuesday: Lover Eternal by J. R. Ward

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following: 
1. Grab your current read.
2. Open to a random page.
3. Share two “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page.
4. BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!).
5. Share the title and author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

My Teaser:
Lover Eternal (Black Dagger Brotherhood, Book 2)
          I could see only shadows, as his eyes were incapable of focusing or processing much light. He hated the loss of faculty and did his best to track the two big shapes moving around him. When hands gripped under his armpits and latched onto his ankles, he groaned. 'Easy there, Rhage, we're just gonna lift you for a sec, true?' V said. A fireball of pain shot through his body as he was taken up off the ground and carried around to the back of the Escalade. They laid him down. Doors shut. The engine turned over with a loud purr. He was so cold his teeth knocked together, and he tried to draw whatever was across his shoulders closer. He couldn't make his hands work, but someone pulled what he assumed was a jacket more tightly around him. - pg. 45, Lover Eternal (Black Dagger Brotherhood, Book 2) by J. R. Ward

What are you reading this week?

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Review: A Midnight Dance by Lila DiPasqua

A Midnight DanceBook Details:
A Midnight Dance
By Lila DiPasqua
Genre: Romance
Published August 2011, Penguin Group
Paperback, 355 pages
ISBN: 9780425241981

          Inspired by the tale of Cinderella, Lila DiPasqua weaves a steamy historical romance that offers a glass slipper, a dangerous deception, and an impoverished beauty determined to find her handsome prince...and make him pay. Born into wealth, Sabine Laurent and her twin sister lived a life of luxury, their father's prestigious theater frequented by royalty and aristocracy alike. And Sabine dreamed of her own prince charming--the devastatingly handsome Jules de Moutier. That was before the loss of her sister and her family's fall from grace--a disaster Sabine blames on the Moutier family. Now, with her father's death, she's inherited his sizable debt and the responsibility of caring for his spoiled long-time mistress and her two wastrel daughters. But with the help of Sabine's eccentric friends--the balance of her father's acting troupe--she plans to get very close to her old infatuation, seduce the rake--and make away with a fortune. Resisting Jules's skillful mouth and tantalizing touch is not as easy as Sabine supposed. And soon she must decide whether her desire for vengeance is greater than her desire for her one and only prince...
I love a good fairy tale re-telling, especially when it is retold specifically for adults, as this book is. Right from the beginning, the romance and chemistry between Sabine and Jules is steamy and passionate, and I had a hard time putting the book down at all. The Cinderella references are vague and somewhat after-the-fact. The glass slipper scene takes place at the beginning of the book when Sabine is young, and the stepmother and two stepdaughters look to Sabine as the head of the household, instead of placing her in the role of a servant. This book seems to take the original tale and turn it upside down, with Sabine forging her own destiny - with or without Prince Charming - and refusing to bend to misfortune.
Sabine's character is both headstrong and naive. A large part of her successes in the plot seem to be born out of pure luck, as she lacks any real skill at either deception or thievery. Jules strong attraction to her gives her the freedom to get as far as she does in her plans, even as she falls for him in return.
While the romance and eroticism takes center stage in the novel, there is a secondary element to the book that comes in subtly as Jules takes a more permanent role in Sabine's life. Jules is intent on a restoration of his honor and wealth, and the discover the truth about his father's accusations. Neither Jules nor Sabine suspect the guilty party until Sabine's life is in danger. Suspense and unpredictability pull me right to the end pages, and just enough is left hanging to lead into a sequel. I look forward to discovering what happens next!

The Cover: The cover is appropriately sexy, but it always bugs me when the heads of the cover models are cut off, or in this case, cut in half. The woman's dress is also gorgeous, though I would have liked to see it from the front.

First Line: "'I have a plan!' Isabelle Laurent announced the moment she yanked Sabine inside the costume room at their father's grand theater and slammed the door shut."
A much more exciting way to introduce the reader to the novel - I immediately want to know more about this Isabelle, as well as what plan she has concocted.

Read For: Off the Shelf Challenge, Read a Myth Challenge

*I received this book free of charge from the publisher for review purposes.*

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Review: The Comeback Cowboy by Cathy McDavid

The Comeback Cowboy (Harlequin American Romance)Book Details:
The Comeback Cowboy (Harlequin American Romance)
By Cathy McDavid
Genre: Romance
Published 2011, Harlequin
Paperback, 219 pages
ISBN: 9780373753499

          It isn't easy for a man to get back in the saddle after he's lost his competitive edge. But fallen rodeo star Ty Boudeau refuses to give up his shot at the World Championship. Even if it means taking lessons at a glorified dude ranch from a woman who can rope a steer better than a man. As owner of Cowboy College, Adele Donnelly makes it a rule never to get involved with her guests. Especially not a famous and footloose cowboy whose life is all about traveling the rodeo circuit. But Ty is more than just another handsome face…and getting pregnant with his baby wasn't in Adele's long-term game plan. Because men like him can't be tied down. And she's not used to family sticking around.
The book starts out with much promise, as Ty and Adele have instant chemistry. Even though both have reservations about their relationship, it is obvious to the reader that the pair are good for each other, both romantically and on the ranch.
Ty is easily a rather likable guy, as he is able to humble himself enough to seek help for his career, as well as put aside his own competitiveness for the sake of the concerns of others. Adele, on the other hand, never really seems to mature beyond who is she is introduced in the beginning as. She uses the demise of her parents' marriage and her mother's promiscuous behavior to validate her avoidance of Ty, and later, her lies to him. Even when her mother comes to make amends and change her lifestyle, and she learns more about her parents' marriage, Adele still continues in her own bad behavior. Her behavior is also rather hypocritical from what she claims to want from life.
The ending was a disappointment simply because Adele never really changed her behavior - she only did what she was supposed to thanks to her meddling grandpa. If she had actually managed to make herself stop telling lies without being cornered into it, I likely would have liked her more.

The Cover: The cover is a generic "sexy cowboy" image, with nothing to specify details of the plot, so it does not rank very high with me.

First Line: "Welcome to Seven Cedars Ranch, home of Cowboy College."
While this is a rather utilitarian introduction to the book, there is not much to entice the reader passed this first sentence.

Read For: Off the Shelf Challenge

*I received this book free of charge from the publisher for review purposes.*
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