Thursday, November 8, 2018

The Second Time Around by Rowan McAllister

Though born into wealth and privilege, Jordan Thorndike can’t keep pretending. He’s never going to become the lawyer his parents hope for… or provide the daughter-in-law and two-point-four grandkids they expect. Faced with an ultimatum—carry on living the lie or get out—Jordan leaves with only what he can pack in his BMW.

Homeless, jobless, directionless, Jordan heads to one of his mother’s pet charities: Better the Second Time Around Rescue ranch. With his family name and charm, he has the staff eating out of his hand in no time—except for one man.

Russ has never been handed anything, and he resents the spoiled rich brat using the ranch to live out a fantasy. Though Jordan is determined to prove himself to Russ through hard work, family and old wounds complicate matters. Will Jordan realize that what he sees as an escape is real life for most people? And can Russ accept that Jordan can grow—and that he wants him?

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Dreamspinner Press

Reviews by the Wicked Reads Review Team

This is such a difficult book for me to review. On one hand, I really liked the story about a rich kid re-starting his life on a ranch. On the other hand, I found the writing choppy and difficult to engage with.

My favourite part of this book was Jordan’s growth. At the start of the book, Jordan is broken and desperate. He craves approval and affection and doesn’t know what to do when his charm fails him. Working on the ranch forces Jordan to grow up, grow into himself, and to start working towards the future he actually wants.

I didn’t get on terribly well with the romance in this book. I don’t think the romantic tension builds quite the way the author intended. Instead, we lurch from Russ’ scathing, judgmental view of Jordan to insta-love. I wasn’t entirely convinced by Russ’ irrational hatred of Jordan at the start of the book and I was completely surprised by his seemingly random change of heart at the midpoint. I really didn’t enjoy the relationship dramas later in the book. They don’t make sense for the characters and the ex-boyfriend jealousy/cheating stuff doesn’t make either Jordan or Russ look good. As a romance reader, it’s difficult to invest emotionally in such a fragile relationship.

I enjoyed Jordan’s story but the writing style annoyed me enough that I kept putting the book down. I love the idea of Russ – the strong silent cowboy – but his character isn’t consistent and I don’t feel like I ever knew him well enough to care about him.

Writer, art quilter, furniture refinisher, fiber snob, foodie, drinkie, pet mommy, romantically pragmatic Jill of all trades. Rowan McAllister is woman who doesn’t so much create as recreate, taking things ignored and overlooked and hopefully making them into something magical and mortal. She believes it’s all in how you look at it. In addition to a continuing love affair with words, she creates art out of fabric, metal, wood, stone, and any other interesting scraps of life she can get her hands on. Everything is simply one perspective change and a little bit of effort away from becoming a work of art that is both beautiful and functional. She lives in the woods, on the very edge of suburbia – where civilization drops off and nature takes over – sharing her home with her patient, loving, and grounded husband, her super sweet hairball of cat, and a mythological beast masquerading as a dog. Her chosen family is made up of a madcap collection of people from many different walks of life, all of whom act as her muses in so many ways, and she would be lost without them.

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Reviewers on the Wicked Reads Review Team were provided a free copy of The Second Time Around by Rowan McAllister to read and review.

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