Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Book Review: Rodeo Rebel by Debra Kayn

Rodeo Rebel (Sisters of McDougal Ranch, #4)Rodeo Rebel by Debra Kayn
Sisters of McDougal Ranch #4
Publisher: Entangled Publishing
Pub Date: June 15, 2012
ebook, 242 pages

My rating: 5.0/5.0

My Review:
Rodeo Rebel is a great quick feel good romance read. If you are looking for a good strong female heroine who needs a good man and a good alpha male who doesn't quite need his head bashed in by a female then Rodeo Rebel is the book for you.

Through the years I have found the modern western romance that focuses on ranch life and rodeo life to be very interesting. This is not a world I am familiar with at all living on the coast of NC. Yes the rodeo does come here, but I must confess I don't have much urge to go and see it. However reading about it is a completely different story and reading about a female rodeo rider made the story even more interesting. Florentine is a strong, hard-headed character, but I loved her from the start. From a family of five sisters and she's one of the last to find love and marriage as she pursues her dream of making it into the professional rodeo circuit so she can one day be a motivational speaker to girls everywhere proving to them they can do anything. Impressive right? Well she is even more so in the story. Of course she has the moments where you want to bash her in the head, but that always happens in a romance, but they were few and far between. Mostly I felt she really had it together, things just needed to fall into place for her. And one of those things was her new sponsor, Cole, the man who didn't want to be her sponsor. But of course sparks will fly, but there is so much more to the book than that but I won't go into much more detail because I don't want to give it away. Needless to say, the characters in Rodeo Rebel are anything but one dimensional. I felt like I could really get into Florentine's and Cole's minds and hearts. I was touched and moved by their feelings and yes sometimes even frustrated.

The story moves along at a great pace with most of it taking place at Florentine's family ranch and also on the rodeo circuit. I loved seeing both places and really feel like Ms. Kayn is familiar with the settings she uses. I also love how she develops the plot and how she paces the story. I felt like every thing that happens in the story had a place in the development and loved just about every scene in the book.

Well-written with wonderful characters and an excellent storyline, Rodeo Rebel is a beautiful romance. I loved watching Florentine and Cole fall in love and at times the story actually brought tears to my eye (in a good way). Rodeo Rebel is what a good romance is all about!

About Rodeo Rebel:

When widower and land baron Cole Reardon acquired the Turner Grain Corporation, he didn't know the company sponsored a bull rider. He refuses to support thrill-seekers dumb enough to get on the back of a crazed animal. He’s not willing to risk his fortune and livelihood when he has his daughter's well-being to consider. Not even when the bull rider is the sexiest woman he's ever seen.

Bull rider Florentine McDougal plans to turn pro after the season championship, fulfilling her lifelong dream of succeeding in a man’s world. That is, until Cole Reardon shows up and threatens to break his sponsorship contract with her. Now everything she’s worked for is less than eight seconds away from being destroyed.

Cole distracts Florentine with his sexy mouth and unreasonable demands, and he's not going to compromise his integrity. But she's not going to let him loose until she has pro status. And neither will come away from this dust-up unscathed.

***I received this book from the publisher for an honest review.  I was not compensated in any other way except receiving the book for free.  ***

Book Review & $50 GC Tour Giveaway: Forgive Me, Alex by Lane Diamond

Forgive Me, Alex by Lane Diamond
Publisher: Evolved Publishing
Publish Date: March 19, 2012
Softcover, 260 pages
ISBN13: 9781475008326

My Review:

Forgive Me, Alex was a slightly different take on a suspense/thriller than what I am use to in a good way.  Mr. Diamond uses alternating points-of-view and alternating time frames to tell the story and while doing this really builds up the suspense in both time periods.  I found the story horrifying and fascinating the way a great suspense thriller should be.

Told from the points-of-view of the protagonist Tony and the antagonist Mitchell Norton is a very interesting way to frame the story.  Tony is the ultimate good guy who's had hard luck in his life, but he's in love, he's taking care of his brother and life seems to be good. Mitchell is just a twenty-something not really going anywhere but not really hurting anything when the demons start to strike.  I felt sympathetic to Mitchell to a degree until things started getting out-of-control, then I just felt like he was evil.  I was cheering for Tony during the book even with his brand of vigilante justice.  I felt like the characters were very relatable for a suspense book.  A lot of times times this genre doesn't concentrate on character development, but I felt like I got to know Tony, Frank, the Chief and Linda very well.  I really liked Frank and I really liked the other people that supported Tony in his life, the Chief and his Master at the dojo, these were all wonderful examples of the community at work.

I think the thing I loved best about Forgive Me, Alex was the alternating time frames. Mr. Diamond tells the story going back and forth between 1978 when the initial murders take place and 1995 when Mitchell Norton is released from prison.  The suspense really builds between both time frames even though the reader knows the ultimate outcome of 1978. The reader still doesn't know how the outcome happens and I found the story building up to that fascinating.  Then the story in 1995 starts up as well and has a great suspense line of it's own as well as letting the reader catch up with the main characters (and a few new ones) seventeen years later.  I loved this.  It was never confusing as I thought it might be when I glanced at the table of contents and saw how it went back and forth between the characters and the years.  Each character had his own voice in the writing and each time frame was easy to figure out so even if you didn't pay attention to the chapter headers it was easy to figure out when the action was taking place and who was doing the thinking/talking.  The plot was very well-written and had me hooked from the first page.  And I don't think this was an easy thing to do with the alternating time period and alternating characters.

Forgive Me, Alex is an excellent suspense/thriller.  If you don't mind your suspense a little more on the grisly side (description of the crimes) then you will be okay with this.  I did cringe a few times, but I was fully warned of the content of the book.  It's not over the top and I have read much more graphic books, so don't let my word of warning scare you.  It's about like a James Patterson type book in terms of descriptive crimes.  But the great thing about Forgive Me, Alex is it has completely relatable characters is Tony, Frank and Linda.  They felt real and their feelings were heartfelt. I wanted more of them in the end, so that outweighed the grisly aspect to me.  There is much more to this book than the crimes.  Forgive Me, Alex has an excellent plot, terrific characters and an ending that will stick with me for some time.

My Rating: 4.5/5.0

About Forgive Me, Alex:

Tony Hooper stands in shadow across the street, one amongst many in the crowd of curiosity-hounds gathered to watch a monster’s release. Seventeen years after Mitchell Norton, “the devil,” terrorized Algonquin, Illinois on a spree of kidnapping, torture and murder, the authorities release the butcher from psychiatric prison.
Tony longs to charge across the street to destroy Norton—no remorse—as if stepping on a cockroach. Only sheer force of will prevents his doing so.

“The devil” walks the world again. What shall Tony do about it? Aye, what indeed.

After all, this is what he does. It’s who he is. “The devil” himself long ago made Tony into this hunter of monsters. What a sweet twist of fate this is, that he may still, finally, administer justice.

Will FBI Special Agent Linda Monroe stop him? She owes him her life, so how can she possibly put an end to his?

Tony Hooper and Mitchell Norton battle for supremacy, with law enforcement always a step away, in this story of justice and vengeance, evil and redemption, fear and courage, love and loss.

Novel Publicity Blog Tour Notes:

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About the author: I write fiction, long and short. My writings cross over many genres and focus on diverse subjects, ranging from the mysteries of the human mind, with its fragile psychological and emotional states, to the everyday joy and anguish of life on Earth. Ultimately, characters move me – as both a reader and an author. It's all about the people. When not writing, I'm Publisher and Executive Editor at Evolved Publishing. Connect with me on my website, Facebook, Twitter, GoodReads, or via Evolved Publishing.

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***I received this book through Novel Publicity for an honest review.  I was not compensated in any other way except receiving the book for free.  ***