As I mentioned in my post on Wednesday, I am fortunate enough to have been chosen to be an Avon Addict which allows me to read advance copies of upcoming releases called ARCs. I am so thrilled to have been chosen and even prouder to be able to do some review work for my most favorite Romance Novel publisher, Avon Romance. One of the first ARCs sent to me was THE RANCHER AND THE ROCK STAR by Lizbeth Selvig, a new Avon Impulse author, which is set to release in its initial ebook format on February 28, 2012.
THE RANCHER AND THE ROCK STAR is this author's debut romance novel and I will have to admit up front, that had it not been sent to me to read as an ARC, I probably would not have read it since I'm not a big contemporary romance novel reader. After reading this one, I may be changing my mind about that. How about that cover?! And the title is quite eye-catching once you allow your eyes to drop below those jeans. *wink*
As soon as I downloaded this book, I began reading without even reading the blurb which I usually don't do but I was already intrigued by the title. However, I will share the blurb with you.
Blurb for THE RANCHER AND THE ROCK STAR:
There comes a time in every independent woman's life when she has to step aside and let a White Knight do his job.
Abby Stadtler has fought to carve out a quiet, independent life for herself and her fifteen-year-old daughter, Kim. She may need a White Knight, but she doesn't want one. Especially when he shows up in the form of a superstar with a missing son and vindictive paparazzi on his tail.
To the world, Gray Covey is a rock god. To his teenage son, Dawson, he's simply an absent father. When Gray is forced to track a runaway Dawson to Abby's struggling horse ranch in small-town Minnesota, he finds far more than a widow and a ranch with a silly name. Faced with one teen who despises him, one teen who worships him, and a woman who flips his heart on its axis, Gray must learn not just how to be a father, but how to be a real superstar.
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I was pleasantly surprised when the first chapter of THE RANCHER AND THE ROCK STAR grabbed hold of me and I thought, I might just like this contemporary romance. Then it seemed to slow down. I will admit that I had to drag myself through the first several chapters not because the writing was poor, not by a long shot, but because it was bogged down by entirely too much bickering between the teens in the story and the adults.
Gray Covey is a rock star. He's been living the life of one for most of his adult life and his world is fast-paced and schedule driven. He's accustomed to things going according to schedule and so when he discovers his teenage son, Dawson, has runaway from his English boarding school, Gray is not happy about having to track him down and attempt to retrieve him. He finds his son living on a ranch in Minnesota with a teenage friend, Kim, who Dawson met online and Kim's widowed mother, Abby Stadtler. From the minute that he and his son stand in the same room, anger, resentment and teenage angst erupt into arguments and accusations. A typical teenager, Dawson expects his father to already understand why he ran away and why he's so angry. Gray, being the self-proclaimed jerk that he is and a man who hasn't the time for games because he has people counting on him, doesn't want to listen or compromise.
Abby Stadtler is a young widow raising a teenage daughter on her own. She's struggling to keep her head above water and a roof over her daughter's head. She owns a horse ranch with a cute name derived from the names of her deceased husband, her deceased son, her daughter and herself, Jabberwicki. She's struggling to pay bills, to make sure her daughter has all she needs without deprivation and working part-time jobs while running the farm. Dawson has been a godsend to her not only because he's a hard worker but he helps fill the void left in her heart with the death of her son, Will and her husband, Jack, in an accident many years earlier. When Gray shows up, she doesn't recognize him right away but after she does, she doesn't say anything because she figures he didn't want her to know who he was. When Gray and Dawson go at each other, it's Abby that tries to be the sensible one without stepping on Gray's toes as a parent. She recognizes the need that Dawson has to have a real father in his life and the frustration that Gray feels at not being able to be the father Dawson needs.
I appreciated the angst, the drama, the emotion of these chapters but it seemed as if it was becoming overtaxed when there was more story brewing behind the scenes that needed to be addressed. I felt that some aspects of the story got short-changed because of the concentration placed on the emotional turbulence between Gray and Dawson.
I will admit though, once the story finally emerged, I was hooked - big time!! Whereas the first several chapters dragged, once the story emerged, the book took off. The emotional tension between Abby and Gray began to build wonderfully. Their attraction to each other which began in the first chapter expanded, deepened and breathed new life into the story. There was more than one time that Lizbeth's emotional writing brought tears to my eyes.
As a romance novel debut, Lizbeth Selvig did an excellent job of creating a story surrounding a group of people from vastly different lifestyles whose individual needs, insecurities, and weaknesses came together to form a family of more than just the main four characters. The romance between Gray and Abby is sweet, tender and emotional. It pulls you along with hope and angst as they work through their fears and apprehensions.
I would like to have seen more of some aspects of the story explored while limiting others for I felt that some moments in the story didn't flow as smoothly as they could have. But overall, it was a delightful story where uniquely different characters learned to trust where they were unable to before. These complicated and emotional characters learn to accept each other as they are as well as learn to accept the assistance of others who care about them.
Most of all, I found this story was about family and how family doesn't have anything to do with bloodlines. That family is about give and take, friendship, trust and loyalty. This story touches the heart, makes you laugh, and I have to say, made this reader shed more than one tear especially with such an absolutely romantic happily- ever- after ending.
I do recommend reading THE RANCHER AND THE ROCK STAR by Lizbeth Selvig. It might start out a bit slow after the first chapter but just as Abby, Gray, Dawson, and Kim hang in there, I promise that if you hang in there too, the best is yet to come.
THE RANCHER AND THE ROCK STAR by Lizbeth Selvig. Published by Avon Impulse, ASIN: B0070XFNES, ebook format, 296 pages. Release date, February 28, 2012.
To learn more about Lizbeth Selvig, please visit her website at http://www.lizbethselvig.com/