Thursday, May 21, 2015

Review | No Better Man by Sara Richardson

No Better Man by Sara Richardson
Series: Heart of the Rockies #1
Published by 
Forever
Publish Date: May 26, 2015
Source: Publisher
Find it here:  Goodreads / Amazon 


When it comes to business, Avery King always comes out on top. So after a very public breakup, work is the perfect excuse to flee the Windy City for the gentle breezes of Aspen, Colorado. Her mission: acquire the land of a rundown mountain ranch. Avery expects an easy win . . . until she meets the rugged and irresistible rancher who won't give up his property without a fight.
Bryce Walker is stunned by the stubborn beauty determined to get what she wants. But what she wants is his last connection to the life he used to have. Bryce has plans to return the ranch to its former glory and no way will he sell his family home. Yet the more time he spends with Avery, the more her sweet touch makes him forget his painful memories. Now Bryce must decide whether living in the past is worth losing his future . . .  (Goodreads) 
No Better Man by Sara Richardson 

My Thoughts:  With a great setting and an enjoyable cast, the Heart of the Rockies Series seems to be off to a great start. I loved No Better Man, featuring Bryce Walker and Avery King. 

Bryce is about to lose the family land. The ranch is in debt and has fallen into disrepair after he was away for a few years following an accident for which he carries tremendous guilt and shame. Bryce has trouble seeing the bright side of things in the recent past and works nonstop to earn back what was lost while he was away. He doesn't want to lose the land, which is his family's legacy, but the bank and potential investors are watching as the date nears for him to turn over tons of money that he doesn't have. 

Avery has just been humiliated publicly by her ex-boyfriend after she refused his proposal. She has been sent to the ranch to assess the land and make an offer, and she believes that she can make the deal. However, when she arrives, she is surprised to see that Bryce is not entertaining offers. She is also surprised by his temperament, which is gruff and unreasonably grumpy. Determined to figure out the connection to the land, to change his mind (and complete the task her father has assigned her), and to see what is going on with Bryce, Avery begins investigating. The more she finds out, the more she likes both the ranch and Bryce. 

The longer she stays, the less she wants to leave. The longer she is around Bryce, the more she likes him. The more Bryce is around Avery, the more he feels again for the first time in years. 

Bryce and Avery have an instant attraction, which I can get behind. I love good chemistry and these two have it. I love the connection that Bryce has with his ranch, with his community and his friends there, and with his mother. Bryce is sexy because he likes to work with his hands, he has the support of people that have loved him through his tougher times, and he loves his mother without being too attached. When the story begins, he has already made some progress in working through his issues, but he still has some work to do. I'm glad when he allows himself the room to do this and I enjoyed reading how he fell for Avery through this process. It was not easy for him to open himself up to her, so I was happy for him when he finally found happiness. 

Avery has always been successful, I think in part because she wants to make her father proud. After her mother died, this became more difficult because her father retreated into himself a bit. Avery her never fully spread her wings and she has always sort of catered to her father, but I'm not sure that it ever occurred to her that she was not completely happy until she made it out to the ranch. I loved seeing her in this environment, in a slower-paced life. She embraced the community and Bryce's friends, partly because she loved it out there and partly because they're such great people that they befriended her right away. I loved the way she was able to look beyond her career objective to see the heart of the ranch, and the heart of Bryce and his mother - why the land was important to them - and she used this information to help her determine how she wanted to move forward with her own life. Watching other people with a sense of community and love made her want to have the same. It took guts and determination for Avery to step out and make some big life changes, but she did, and good for her.

In the process of all of these changes - Avery changing her life goals and the path she was taking and Bryce opening his heart to love again - these two quickly fell in love. While their falling seemed fast, it took a little while for the two to get it together and come up with a workable relationship. 

I love the setting and I enjoyed the secondary cast as much as I love this romance. I'm looking forward to continuing with the series to read about Bryce's friends (and Avery's too, hopefully). 

Bryce is a quiet hero and I like that. His strength is not diminished and he is not weak. I love his development over the story, and I love that it was tough for him. Avery is not quiet at all, but I love that she learned to live a quieter life. Her development is enjoyable as well. I recommend No Better Man by Sara Richardson for readers that enjoy romance stories with happy endings, small town romances, and books with great friendships. 


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No Better Man will appeal to fans of:

Adult Contemporary Romance
Romance: No triangle. 
Great setting: Aspen, Colorado
Great secondary cast.
Happy ever after! 

No Better Man by Sara Richardson
is currently available for purchase.


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Heart of the Rockies Series: 





Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Time To Talk! Reading From The Backlist

I'm drinking the last of my pot of coffee right now
and I'm feeling pretty wired. It's GREAT.  


The word "backlist" makes me chuckle sometimes. Imagine me, sitting at my computer, using air quotes every time I type that word, okay? Perfect. Why, you ask? Because every time I find a new title, no matter when it was published, IT IS A NEW TITLE TO ME. Also, whenever I pick up a book that I've always known about, no matter when it was published, IT IS A NEW TITLE TO ME. 

But, for the sake of being correct, let's talk about "backlist" titles. 

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back·list
ˈbakˌlist/
noun
  1. a publisher's list of older books still in print.

Source: Google 

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Why do I read so many backlist titles? 

1. HypeI get excited about new releases just like everyone else BUT I fall victim to the hype machine super easily, which causes me to completely freeze up. It's really bad, you guys. Over the past few years, I've learned that when I see big marketing and lots of tweeting, it may be a book that I should wait to read. Not that promotion is a bad thing - I'm not saying that. I'm saying this is an Asheley-thing and I don't know why and it almost always makes me feel differently about a book. 

Reading a book that is being heavily promoted feels to me like reading a book with a winter jacket on - I feel suffocated, like I can't move my arms completely. I feel much more comfortable if I take the jacket off. That may be a really odd way of explaining it, but it's just so much easier for me to wait and read without that extra burden and pressure. This is why I often wait a little while to read new releases. This is why I often wait a long while to read some very popular titles/series, particularly if the popularity grows with each subsequent installment. 

Here are two series that I've waited on, currently reading, and loving to the point of tears: 



I tried starting them earlier, but put them on hold and it was the right decision for me. Now is the time.

The likelihood that I will enjoy the book is much higher without the added pressure, so it makes sense to me. I only want to read if I love it, and this is the best way I can do that! 

*sometimes marketing campaigns are completely overdone, you guys have to admit this. 

2. Finding an author that I love. Sometimes I find an author that I love and I want to read everything that author writes in the future and also everything that author has ever written. This is the actual definition of backlist as I see it and I LOVE IT. This is working forward and backward on an author's timeline. This is fangirling an author. I LOVE DOING THIS. 


3. Browsing shelves. Library, Goodreads, Amazon, wherever else. I look at covers, spine art, similar titles that are recommended when I click on a certain title. No elaboration necessary, I presume. 

4. Books on-hold. Okay, this one may/may not be very popular but no judging because I'm being honest: I've received titles for review before and seen some negative/mixed reviews. NOW. I try to stay completely away from other reviews and usually I do a pretty good job of this, but sometimes I can't help seeing things. Also, I usually am drawn to mixed reviews like a moth to a flame, but sometimes I really want to like a book and would prefer to go into reading it without having prior opinions. These things are important to me. In these cases, if I have not received a time frame for a review request from an author/publisher, I will wait a while to read the books because I hope I can forget what I've seen. Thus a new title becomes a backlist title because sometimes I (gasp!) do wait that long. Being honest here, we all have things we do, not only ME. 


I would rather review a book I'm interested in honestly than not review it at all. I don't want to give a review that isn't really fair because my opinion may have been swayed a little bit. I'm careful about what I choose to review and I'm careful about doing it fairly, and I do have a folder of these titles that I pull from in my rotation. 

5. Waiting for an audiobook. Sometimes I want to wait and read the print copy while I listen to the audiobook. Sometimes the audiobook is published immediately along with the print - sometimes it is not-too-long after the print - sometimes it is a long time after. ALSO, I can't buy ALL THE AUDIOBOOKS, although this is probably one of my top three bookish dreams. Sometimes I have to wait for my library to get the audio, if I really want to listen to it. 

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Sidenotes:

1. I'm often (not always, but often) more likely to read backlist reviews because of hype and because I feel less pressure to keep my head clear for my own review titles. 

2. Reading YOUR thoughts on your blogs and on Goodreads makes me aware of so many books that I may not be aware of already - or - perhaps I didn't realize that a title sounded like something I would be interested in. 

3. I love seeing a book featured on a blog or website or Goodreads that I haven't seen in a while! New releases usually seem to be bundled around the same time; they dominate the bookish-internet sometimes. Sometimes I'm a part of this, I know, but I try hard not to be because it is terribly boring. I'm more likely to open the post and read the thoughts of the writer when I don't see the same thing over and over in my reader. Just being honest! (We all feel this way, you can be honest too.)

4. I LOVE seeing older titles featured on Instagram. LOVE IT, LOVE IT, LOVE IT. 

By the way, here's my blog's new-ish IG!
 Instagram

5. Even when a book isn't a new release anymore, it still deserves to be read and talked about and photographed and loved and recommended. I love receiving these recommendations and I know the authors appreciate it when their non-new release titles are still circulating. 

6. I see some blogs and Goodreads reviewers only talking about new releases. I see this thing actually happen and while it is totally a personal choice what we read and talk about on our own corners of the Internet, it makes me a little sad for all of the other stories. Dramatic? Maybe. Truth? Absolutely. 

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How often do you guys read backlist titles? 
What about backlist reviews/blogs that feature them?



 
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