Friday, August 15, 2014

Branded For You (Cheyenne McCray)

Branded For You
(The Riding Tall series, Book 1)
Cheyenne McCray
Pink Zebra Publishing
Fiction, Romance
**+ (Bad/Okay)

DESCRIPTION: Months after her divorce from a verbally abusive man, Megan Wilder moves to Prescott, Arizona, to be with her family... and quickly remembers why she was so eager to get away. Though her older sister, Tess, has always been supportive, her father once more tries to take over her life and her mother's constant criticism opens old wounds. Maybe Bart and her parents are right; maybe she really is an overweight screw-up who doesn't know how to run her own life. Then she runs into Ryan McBride. Tall, handsome, and endlessly kind, the Arizona cowboy makes Megan believe she's beautiful. But with the family restaurant in trouble and her parents' disapproval, can she hope to find a happy ending?

REVIEW: I wanted to give this one an Okay. I really tried to look past the problems. But, by the end, I just couldn't do it. Megan starts out an insecure, flawed, and hurt woman, but she only apparently has to do one thing to fix everything wrong with her and her family: trust a man like Ryan McBride to take care of everything. Ryan, on the other hand, is impossibly perfect. He's rich, he's handsome, he's the perfect boyfriend and lover, and he knows just how to solve everyone's problems. How he learned is a mystery, as he apparently has no problems of his own. (Some lip service is given to a little family tension, but it's nothing compared to the impending ruin facing Megan's clan.) Within a week of meeting each other, they're already thinking marriage. The only possibly fly in the ointment of their happiness is a simple misunderstanding - shoehorned in because this kind of story needs a crisis - that's cleared up within a chapter of its introduction. Silly Megan, thinking her man might have had a flaw! She should've known better! But, then, she is just a woman. Men are the only ones who can really do anything. The plot, like the generic cover art, is a thinly redressed retread of the quintessential (bordering on stereotypical) romance. I was almost laughing by the end as one ridiculous cliche after another played out. The writing does the job, but I have to admit my inner editor cringed at several pointless stretches and phrases. ("He pressed the accelerator and the truck sped up." What else is supposed to happen when the accelerator is pressed? And why interrupt the dialog to tell me this when I already know he's driving on a highway, where speed is required? And why was I so bored that this kind of thing really started getting on my nerves?) I suppose I just expect more out of a story, even a romance, than I found here.

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