If one cannot enjoy reading a book over and over again, there is no use in reading it at all. - Oscar Wilde
We shouldn't teach great books; we should teach a love of reading. - B. F. Skinner
No entertainment is so cheap as reading, nor any pleasure so lasting. - Mary Wortley Montagu

Monday, April 27, 2015

Review: Men Like This by RoxanneSmith / @pumpupyourbook @KensingtonBooks @lyricalpress @ThisSmithRox

Title: Men Like This
Author: Roxanne Smith
Release Date: April 14, 2015
Genre: Contemporary, Romance
ARC Received From: Pump Up Your Book

Can she trust a man who pretends for a living?

Horror author Quinn Buzzly knows all about the dark side, but when she meets actor Jack Decker, she’s moved to explore something completely different—at least on paper. With his sexy good looks, intriguing manner, and charming Irish-tinged English accent, Jack is the perfect model for her next hero. Quinn decides to spend one year in London writing a historical romance inspired by him. Until real life butts in… 

Jack’s jealous ex-fiancée sparks a media storm when she accuses him and Quinn of having an affair. But Jack knows how to play this game. At his insistence, Quinn agrees to go along with the faux romance until the chatter subsides. Then they’ll stage a quiet breakup and go their separate ways. Yet Jack is a shameless—and irresistibly convincing—flirt, and Quinn has to remind herself it’s an act. Or is it? If Jack means business, he’ll have to find the words to convince a wordsmith that their love is the real thing…

A horror-turned-romance author and an actor. You think you've read it all then a new author comes along and surprises you. Well done, Ms. Smith!

When it came to her career, Quinn was almost fearless taking a risk by changing genres. When it came to her heart, she was definitely iron walls and snipers keeping watch. I couldn't blame her though. Her ex took her for one hell of a ride having an affair for five years while they were married. That's be enough to give anyone a complex, make them doubt their ability to maintain a relationship, have them question every little thing in any relationship they enter into. Her heart was broken; Jack had his work cut out for him if he was ever going to have it.

Jack was an interesting actor. He wasn't arrogance or name dropping (he did it once but it wasn't to gain something) or an ass. He was laid back, easy to talk to, and talented beyond acting. His feelings for Quinn were obvious from their initial meeting, and I was surprised they didn't dim after she unceremoniously told him he needed to be gone after their amazing night together.

But that's okay. Their separation gave Quinn time to decide on her trip of a lifetime: move to England to study its history so her romance story was as authentic as possible. The trip was a brilliant idea. It felt like the right move for her, not just for her career as an author but for herself. More than anything, she needed to do it for herself.

Of course, trouble followed her across the ocean. Reconnecting with Jack was a surprise. The problems that followed probably would've sent a lesser woman scrambling for cover. Quinn was made of hardier stuff and she stuck to her guns through the media hurricane Jack's ex-fiancée created. She made a sound decision regarding her son who was stateside with her ex and his wife. But all of that was done with her head. Her heart she kept just out of Jack's reach. Self-preservation? Absolutely. But I questioned her motives when her sister started whispering negativity in her ear.

There were plenty of laughs as Jack and Quinn navigated the murky waters of their relationship, what with his dry humor and her penchant for sarcasm. And it took a lot of arguing, explanations and a second separation before they were on the same page but they were ready for it. Their happy ending was the kind I want every fictional couple to experience, the ending that's filled with promises of a future filled with love and laughter and the occasional sarcastic remark just because they can.

This is a great debut for Ms. Smith. Her writing style is quick and snappy when the moment calls for it, but deep and insightful when emotions run high. Her characters will make you smile, maybe laugh, maybe tear up a time or two. But if you're willing to experience whatever trauma she puts her characters through, you'll discover what I did: the only kind of love worth having or experiencing in life is the kind worth fighting for because it's the kind that will last. 

Men Like This, is my debut novel, the first story in a series of three I’ve decided to call Long Shot Romance–long odds and stubborn hearts make love a thing to fight for. I’ve always loved characters who surprise me and make me laugh, with just a tad of the dramatic tossed in, and I hope that’s something I’ve been able to do for my readers. So much of what inspires me comes from the unexpected; the fork in the road you might trip over. Life takes funny turns and there’s not much you can do but hang on.

Most of us pick up a pen with the understanding that the odds are against us. It’s a dream. I decided in my early twenties to take writing seriously and try. With trying came falling flat on my face more times than I can count, but there’s always something to be gained from effort, and I took that and ran with it like I was a wide receiver gunning for the end zone at the bottom of the fourth on Superbowl Sunday. Lots of revising, rewriting, and tears between then and now, and a whole stack of friends and family at my back.

I’m a mom and wife before I’m an author, which is just as well. You can’t leave the little people behind once you’ve ascended to greatness. Remember where you came from. My kids are my two favorite people. They’re weird and hilarious. They’re at that age where they’re forming into something unique and apart from everyone else. They’re developing self. It’s probably one of the most rewarding things I’ve experienced as a parent so far, right up there with teaching them bathroom independence. A teen parent twice over, I’ve done just as much growing as they have in the last decade, and I’ve done it with the perfect partner–married 11 years and still arguing over who gets to drive the hypothetical Corvette.

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