Thursday, May 1, 2014

Once Enchanted: A Love Story (Rockland Ranch Series) - Jaclyn M. Hawkes

Summary:  What happened to her fairytale life? She's young, she's sharp, she's the hardest working attorney in the whole LA office. Still, when Alexis O'Brien finally gets brutally honest with herself, she has to admit she's nothing more than a glorified workhorse for her boss and his slippery partners. Her dissatisfaction only deepens when she gets sent on a wild goose chase to rural Wyoming to find some elusive gifted architect for a project she thinks is corrupt. Then she meets Sean Rockland. The antithesis of the effeminate manicured types she's used to at work, with his muscles fairly rippling under his button down, Sean ticks her off from the very first moment she lays eyes on him as he's rescuing her from car trouble-which only makes him laugh. Of course that doesn't help. Sean has this way of calmly logically encouraging her to face her issues that makes her even madder. Why does he always have to be right? Why is she drawn to him anyway? What's up with all these crazy fairies appearing? And why can't she find the darned missing architect? When her spitfire meets his steel sparks begin to fly!  (Summary from goodreads.com, image from http://jaclynmhawkes.com, and book given free for review.)

My Review:  I want to mention first that I have not read the previous two novels that start this series.  That said, I didn't realize that I was missing something and as such this can be a stand-alone novel.

I'm not typically a romance reader.  Not that I don't enjoy romance here and there, but it's not something I seek out.  Every once in a while it's fun to pick up a speed read of fun romance.  This hit the spot, as I'd just finished reading quite a few articles for work and needed something light and fun.

There are some aspects to the book that hit me a little funny, but as a romance novel you have to remember that you're not reading reality.  Not everyone is perfectly built, not everyone has their dream job and makes oodles of money all before the age of 40, and not everyone has the luxury of changing schedules to spend endless hours together.  Hawkes did a good job of trying to make some of this believable, but on the whole it's just not.  Go into it with this mindset (just let go) and you'll enjoy the ride.

There was one section that is blatant proselyting for the LDS faith--in some ways it felt like a 'here's what you might experience if you went to church with us!' plug.  If that kind of thing bothers you, don't pick this up.  A major component to this book is the LDS faith and how it changes the decisions of the people who are devout members.  As a member of this faith already, I blew through the section mostly skimming because I already knew what was going to be shared.  In some ways, I felt it detracted from the story.  But I'm guessing the purpose of the author sharing that is for missionary reasons.  One piece I really liked was how women's role in the church is explained--empowering and supportive of women and not belittling or demeaning.  It shows how women should be treated: with respect, kindness, and as equals.

If you want a fun, quick, romantic book where you see a strong man who can take care of a woman without it emasculating him, this is a great read.

For the sensitive reader:  Quite a bit of kissing passionately.  Otherwise, for a romance, this is pretty clean.

Rating: 3.5 stars

Sum it up:  An easy, fun, clean LDS romance.

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