Monday, September 30, 2013

The Trouble With Cowboys - Review

Review by Rachel Hamm

Amy Sorentino has just returned to the family farm after a humiliating appearance on a reality cooking competition.  She’s prepared for the small town gossip and her dysfunctional family, but she’s not prepared for Kellan Reed.  Kellan is a real-life cowboy, a troubled youth turned self-made cattle rancher.  And Amy has a big weakness for cowboys.

Their immediate and mutual lust for one another breaks Amy’s first personal rule: “Stay Away From Cowboys.”  Amy has a lot of rules for her life, all of which stem from not wanting to follow the same paths as her parents.   She’s just not very good at following them.

Though both try to deny wanting more, neither Amy nor Kellan are satisfied with a sexual-only relationship.  But, as they get to know each other, Kellan discovers a conflict of interest in their business affairs.  He wants to do the honorable thing and step away, but between Amy’s curves and the emotional trauma she’s facing dealing with family issues, he can’t stay away.

Cheese, cheese, extra cheesy.  But not in a bad way.  This is one of those don’t-take-yourself-so-seriously books that every girl should keep on her nightstand or in her beach bag.  Cutler paints a portrait of New Mexico farm life that is sad at times, wicked at times, and almost always HOT.  The steamy scenes aren’t overdone (no ick factor here) , though I would have liked the characters a little better if they could have held off more than two hours after meeting each other.  Call me a prude, I guess!

Mechanically speaking, Cutler has a great way with words.  I love when an author is able to effortlessly vary sentence structure and vocabulary in a way that does not intrude on the reader.  Her characters always seemed intelligent, without sounding overly so.  There’s nothing more annoying to me as a reader than characters assuring me how smart they are.  The dialogue felt a bit stiff at times, but for the most part, flowed well and always moved the story forward.

There were a few times, especially toward the end, that I teared up.  The family difficulties heaped on Amy were heartbreaking, but it was touching sharing her struggles and watching her hold tightly to her sisters to get through them.  Any woman with sisters will understand this.  Women without sisters will long for it.  The best part of the sisters’ relationships, though, was that they weren’t perfect.  They fought.  They kept secrets from one another.  They had different outlooks on life.  But in the end, they always found support for each other.  A true testament to family.

I’m a Southern California native, born and raised.  At eighteen, I moved a hundred miles down the coast from Orange County to San Diego to attend college and knew instantly that I’d found my heaven on earth.  Meeting the love of my life there was icing on the cake.

I love my life as a writer, wife, and mom.  With every unfolding day, the world seems more wondrous, more crowded with possibilities.   But while I still harbor dreams of fronting a rock-and-roll cover band, traveling to every corner of the world, and driving a race car, writing and reading romance novels are still my greatest joys.

When I’m not chasing after kids, trying to coax my nervous Siamese cat out from under the bed, or experimenting with cocktail recipes, you can find me hunched over my computer, dreaming up perfectly flawed characters and timeless romances…and those all-important love scenes.

Connect with Melissa at:

Bits Of Broken Glass By Martha Reynolds

How much really changes in 25 years?  Former classmates are poised to find out as their first-ever high school reunion gets closer. Some lives have improved, some have soured, but all remained connected by their shared West Alton High past...

Once the target of ridicule, one-time "ugly duckling" Kellie has transformed in both beauty and attitude, though her fears and fragility remain as deep scars within. Will facing those who once wronged her help or do even more damage to her delicate psyche? Joe was adored by everyone in school. Well...almost everyone. Being gay in a close-minded small town, he knew he had no future in West Alton, so right after graduation, he traded one ocean for another. Now an Oscar-winning Hollywood director, Joe is ready to return. Except that it means having to face the horrific event that ultimately pushed him away... Former cheerleader Cherry planned this reunion to make peace with those she may have wronged in school. But as she faces cancer and stares down her own mortality, will she really be able to make things right again? And then there's Scott, the West Alton "lifer," who's been collecting a disability pension from the town for a suspicious back injury, among other questionable life choices. Are his reasons for wanting to attend the reunion pure? Or does he have another agenda? As the months count down, long-kept secrets will be revealed as the question ever looms... Can you ever really go home again?

Q&A With The Author

When did you know you wanted to become an author?
My career took some unexpected turns, and some circumstances prevented me from pursuing this dream until recently. But once I'd left behind a toxic job that was likely going to give me a heart attack or a stroke, I focused on writing. So I guess I could say that I've "wanted" this for a long time, and am tremendously grateful to realize the dream now.

What gets you in the mood to write?
Coffee! Seriously. After two cups of good, strong coffee and a little breakfast, I'm ready to go. A quiet house, comfortable clothes, good lighting! I write for most of the morning.

What’s your go to snack when you’re writing?
I don't allow myself to bring food to the computer - it's distracting and messy. Usually I make a power shake in the morning (Greek yogurt, banana, frozen blueberries, some green powder in a can from Trader Joe's) and I'm energized. If I were going to snack on anything, it would be unsalted cashews. :-)

Describe your book in three words.
Real true fiction. I've adopted that as my "brand," based on what an editor once told me about my first novel.

What can your readers expect next from you?
 I've drafted the third and final novel in the 'chocolate' series, titled "Bittersweet Chocolate." It finishes out the trilogy. Also, I'm presently reading a journal that my grandfather wrote, in 1924, about a canoe trip he made with a buddy, covering three rivers in Rhode Island and Connecticut. While it isn't necessarily for the masses, I want to prepare a digital and print version for family members to cherish.

Martha Reynolds ended an accomplished career as a fraud investigator in 2011 and began writing full time. Her debut novel, CHOCOLATE FOR BREAKFAST, was named 2012 Book of the Year in Women’s Fiction by Turning the Pages Books. Its sequel, CHOCOLATE FONDUE, was released in March 2013.
BITS OF BROKEN GLASS is the author’s third novel. She is planning to publish the last book in the Chocolate Series, BITTERSWEET CHOCOLATE, around November 2013.
She and her husband live in Rhode Island, never far from the ocean.
Connect with Martha at:
Website * Facebook * Twitter * Goodreads

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