Pages: 352 pages
Series: Spikes & Spurs-1,2,3,4,5
Challenges- 100 Books In A Year 2012, Outdo Yourself Reading Challenge 2012, Romance Reading Challenge 2012
Buy this Book: Amazon, Indiebound, Powell's
I have loved the vast majority of Carolyn Brown's books. They have a certain charm about them and almost never fail to give me the feeling of small-town smushiness. This one was great for the most part but there were a couple of aspects that just rubbed me the wrong way.
I liked Gemma a lot. I always appreciate women who can compete with the boys at their level and not rely on pretty or allowances to get by. She was just as good as the hero and didn't fail to let him know that. But I was sad to see her kind of ruined by a passing statement she made later in the book--I'll get to it. But it took me from "love" to lukewarm "like" with Gemma and, as a result, the book. I liked Trace as well. He was a nice guy and a gentleman. He also never toned down his competitiveness against Gemma. He didn't give her an easy time because she was pretty or because he was attracted to her. He competed against her the way he would compete against anyone.
This one is, perhaps, not my favorite but it was a good read. Gemma and Trace had good chemistry. Not exactly epic but good enough to be entertaining and believable. I do wish that the baby plotline had been introduced earlier. It seemed like it was a major plotpoint but it was just thrown in there at the end. It did end up a bit disjointed. I also thought that Ava turned out to be a bit demonized and, as I explain in the next paragraph, I found it to be offensive and quite irresponsible. Especially, how she is treated by our hero and heroine.
My biggest problem with this book was the treatment of Ava, Trace's daughter's mother. Gemma, quite wrongly and irresponsibly classifies her as "heartless." Ava took every precaution to prevent pregnancy. She took birth control and when it failed, did not have an abortion, had the baby and made an effort to find a good home for her child. And she's heartless? What other option did she have? This woman had every right to have an abortion but she didn't. Honestly, she may not want to raise Holly herself but she gave Holly to a couple who would raise her in a loving home--not heartless at all. Not every woman melts at the sight of a newborn. Not every woman wants to be a mother. And that's perfectly fine. Not heartless. She should be commended for making the right choice for a child she couldn't give the life it deserved. As one of these "heartless" women, I cannot tell you how offensive I found this. It impacted my enjoyment to the point where I had to alter my rating and I never do that.