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, December 21, 2015

Review: Her Winning Ways by J.M. Bronston / @pumpupyourbook @jmbronston

Title: Her Winning Ways
Author: J.M. Bronston
Publisher: Lyrical Shine
Release Date: December 8, 2015
Genre: Contemporary, Romance
ARC Received From: NetGalley
Reviewed For: Pump Up Your Book

GRAND PRIZE: $50,000 shopping spree for two in New York. Includes makeover, photo shoot with Lady Fair magazine…and a shot at happily ever after.

As a college librarian in Wyoming, shushing students and tending the family cattle ranch is about the most excitement Annie Cornell can count on. So when Annie wins an all-expenses-paid shopping spree at a high-end department store in New York City, she’s thrilled to trade wide-open spaces for fast-paced Fifth Avenue. But she never expected to be swept off her feet—least of all by an overconfident, horse-mounted police officer…

Sergeant Bart Hardin is instantly attracted to Annie. He’s not sure if it’s the way she handles his trusty horse or the way those angelic hazel eyes held his gaze during that rowdy protest outside the UN. Whatever it is, Bart quickly learns that this clueless tourist in need of his protection can handle herself just fine—in fact, she might just teach him a thing or two on these mean Manhattan streets…

The synopsis is what prompted me to want to read this story. Small town girl on the trip of a lifetime to one of the greatest cities on earth finds more than she bargained for when she falls for a mounted officer. Sounds cool, right? Aside from the romance, there was the contest Annie won that took her to New York and gave her a $50,000 shopping spree. Everything about this synopsis spoke of adventure, excitement, and possible romance.

But the story itself wasn't as exciting as I'd hoped.

I liked Annie. I sorta, kinda liked Bart. Separate, they were incredible characters, each with their own strengths and weaknesses that either complimented or irritated the other. Their first meeting was totally movie-worthy: Bart, a mounted officer, sweeping Annie out of harm's way when she gets caught up in a protest. The attraction is there; I just struggled to feel it, you know?

It was hard for me to wrap my brain around their relationship. I couldn't connect emotionally with either and it's why I didn't understand how they were even into each other. There wasn't any constant fighting, abuse, drug use, or anything that's seen as detrimental to a healthy relationship. There just wasn't any...magic. Bart rubbed me wrong with his highhandedness. Annie didn't really rub me wrong at any given point in this story except how her attraction to Bart didn't make sense. The few kisses they shared were mild while the disagreement that drove them apart provided more fireworks.

While the characters didn't do it for me, I enjoyed Ms. Bronston's writing style. It's descriptive, clear, and quick. Not just the narrative but the dialogue as well. I just wish the passion displayed in those parts carried over into the characters and their emotions. A decent read, one that may or may not leave other readers feeling the same as I am, but it won't deter me from reading another novel by Ms. Bronston. For me, it might just be this one that doesn't make me say, "Aw!" For you, it very well may.

Joan Myra Bronston grew up in New York City, married her college sweetheart, and went with him to Germany for a year while he was in the Army and where she worked as a telex operator and mail clerk. They then moved to Austria where Joan spent five years teaching at an international school. She is the mother of three wonderful girls and the grandmother of a super-wonderful grandson. Joan was also a secretary, social investigator, and psychiatric researcher, before entering law school and eventually becoming a corporate attorney. In addition to her years in Europe, Joan has lived in Pittsburgh, Chicago, and, for 18 years, Salt Lake City. At last, she has closed the circle and returned to her first and most beloved – New York City.

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