on May 11, 2014 :
I received a free copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review.
There were a lot of things to like about this story. It focused more on the sweet aspects of romance, and the main characters were truly best friends. The story-line was familiar, but the writing style took some getting used to. It felt like I was actually experiencing everyday life with these characters. Sometimes that was enjoyable because it made it very easy to imagine the scenes as I was reading, but other times it was too much. There was a lot of focus on cooking, bull riding, and the other aspects of the main characters lives, but the character development of those main characters suffered a little bit. Because I am such a huge fan of character development, I need something equally as entertaining to fill the void when it is lacking. The secondary characters and the chemistry between the main characters, Mac and Josh, are what kept this story interesting.
Every time Josh and Mac shared the page together it was great. They didn't do things that would be considered traditionally romantic, but they made the everyday things that girlfriends and boyfriends do seem adorable.
There were quite a few secondary characters that piqued my interest. Cody, Josh's fellow bull rider, best-friend was the comedic relief. Bree is mac's parentally neglected best friend, who despite her very unhealthy home life, still manages to keep a positive attitude. And possibly the most offensive, annoying, and yet still likable character in the book is Asia, Mac's mouthy black best friend. I mention the fact that she is black solely because she finds the need to mention EVERY time she speaks. Everything was about race with her. It was always, "white folks do this" and "Black people do that". Every other word out of her mouth could be considered offensive by any number of people, but for some reason, I still liked her. In fact, I liked her so much that I wished the author had written her story. I do that a lot when the secondary characters are better developed than the main characters. Authors tend to take more risk with story lines and personalities, when the characters involved are not the main focus, and that was definitely the case here as well. I am both black and have lived in the South for the majority of my life so I've known people like Asia. This character was more exaggerated than anyone I know, but I have definitely known people who make a much bigger deal out of race than is necessary. The thing I liked so much about this character is the fact that she is all talk. She says offensive things, but I didn't actually believe she meant them. It was a case of "will say anything to shock" more than anything else. Her boyfriend is white, all her best friends are white, and never did she say anything with the intention of being cruel. She was more bark than bite.
Now a little about the main characters:
Mac's biggest obstacle in life was an overprotective father. She is a good girl who has a firm set of morals and values that she adheres to and, she was also a decent hardworking student with aspirations of becoming a chef. Because she was such a "good girl", I thought it was strange that her father would have such a problem with his 17-year-old daughter dating a 19-year-old. That felt a little over the top while I was reading it, but southern fathers have been know to be extreme when it comes to their daughters so maybe it's not that far-fetched.
I enjoyed one aspect of this story more than any other, and that was Josh. He was such a southern gentleman and I loved him to pieces. He meets a girl that he likes, learns right away that she is going to be a lot of work, and commits to her anyway. I love, love, love that trait in a man! Mac has had a dream to receive a first kiss in the rain since she was a young girl, and Josh has every intention of helping her reach that goal. The fact that they live in one of the rainiest cities in the country leads them both to believe that they won't have much of a wait, but soon it becomes obvious that having this kiss won't be as easy as they thought. They never seemed to be able to be in the same place at the same time when it rains or something happens that makes it the wrong moment when they do manage to be together. However, none of this keeps Josh from sticking with her. He has moments when he pouts and tries to convince her to give him a kiss, but he also respects her desire to wait for the perfect moment and the perfect rain storm. All of the near misses when it came to the rain did become tedious after a while, but I always get frustrated with romance novels like this after a while. All in all it wasn't too bad of a wait. The book still managed to be romantic without a bunch of kissing scenes.
This book also focused a lot on the importance of family and friendship. Josh and Mac had a lot of people in their lives who cared for them deeply, and they felt just as strongly about them. This was a very sweet and innocent love story, and I would recommend it to anyone in the mood for a clean romance.
Because of language I would recommend this book for ages 13 and up.
(reviewed 69 days after purchase)