Author: Maisey Yates

Last Chance Rebel by Maisey Yates

Last Chance Rebel by Maisey YatesLast Chance Rebel by Maisey Yates
Series: Copper Ridge #6
Published by HQN Books on August 30th 2016
Pages: 384
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two-stars

The prodigal son of Copper Ridge, Oregon, has finally come home 
The man who ruined Rebecca Bear's life just strolled back into it with one heck of an offer. Years ago, Gage West's recklessness left Rebecca scarred inside and out. Now he wants to make amends by gifting her the building that houses her souvenir store. Rebecca won't take Gage's charity, but she's willing to make a deal with the sexy, reclusive cowboy. Yet keeping her enemy close is growing dangerously appealing… 
He's the wild West brother, the bad seed of Copper Ridge. That's why Gage needs the absolution Rebecca offers. He just didn't expect to need her. After years of regretting his past, he knows where his future lies—with this strong, irresistible woman who could make a black sheep come home to stay…

Maisey Yates does write well in fact and her illuminating way of teasing out complicated issues that can only come from family entanglements and unexpected connections forged in tragedy did strike a chord in me. Even so, I’m on the fence with this book not because of the very simple story – essentially a prodigal son returns after years in the wilderness of drifting and anonymous, casual sex to pick up a burden he’d spent years running away from carrying – but because of the characters who form the backbone of the entire story.

In short, this is a case where I liked the female lead, but found her counterpart sorely lacking in comparison.

Generally I thought Gage was a huge idiot and a coward, using every excuse to run under the guise of punishment, never really owning up to anything, not even when confronted with emotions that he can’t handle. Essentially, I found myself faced with an incredibly selfish ‘hero’ who tried to make amends while still doing everything to push people away, then chalked it all up to his daddy and mummy issues, all for a whopping 17 years. If that isn’t a blindingly obvious sign of idiocy and a general lack of self-awareness, I don’t know what is.

Rebecca’s growth is in contrast, tremendous, as she moved from anger to acceptance to forgiveness that it awed me in some parts. I loved her kickarse ways and all that she owns up to, even when it comes to facing the difficult decisions head on especially when it came to learning to lean on her friends and her brother more than she’d been already doing. But I did think she postured a little too much about her own re-evaluation of life and love because it was ultimately where the acid test of her relationship with Gage lay. It was obvious throughout (and somewhat heartbreaking to read as well) that Gage had always hidden behind layers she couldn’t breach and her attempts made me pity and admire her both, if that’s even possible. That Gage only hit that realisation about love and sacrifice so late somehow didn’t make him sufficiently worthy of all the precious things Rebecca had to offer.

As a result, it was hard to get into a relationship that felt so unbalanced for most of the story where one side held back everything up until the grand gesture (which also happened to be the abrupt, concluding bit before we slide into a far distant epilogue). But it was also because of the confusing, changing issues that started out with what looked like guilt, which then shifted to be more about yearning for love that his parents never gave. In the end, I couldn’t quite make head or tail of just what Gage was so screwed up about. So if this is a book about reparation, forgiveness and equality, I thought everything really came too little, too late.

two-stars

Finally His Bride by Maisey Yates

Finally His Bride by Maisey YatesFinally His Bride by Maisey Yates
Series: Montana Born Brides #4
Published by Tule Publishing on May 25th 2015
Pages: 105
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four-stars

Wedding fever has hit the little town of Marietta…
As the whole town goes crazy over the celebrity wedding event of the century, Melanie Richards decides she's tired of blending in. It's time go after what she wants. Her to do list: Get a sexy dress A little liquid courage Lose that pesky virginity
Luke Shuller can’t believe his eyes when he walks into Grey’s and sees his best friend trying to pick up some drunk cowboy. Melanie wants to start hooking up? She can practice on him. At least he’ll keep her safe. And as a bonus, their pretend relationship will help him deal with a family crisis.
But when pretend gets real, Melanie can’t tell where the charade ends and reality begins. When the dust settles, will she get thrown back into the friend zone, or will she finally get the man of her dreams?

It took me a while to realise this is the continuation (sort of) of Nicole Helm’s ‘Bride by Mistake’, and that Luke Shuller’s story runs concurrently with his sister Kaitin’s one. ‘Finally His Bride’ focuses on Luke’s own storm in a teacup as he deals with the fallout from the double whammy of his best friend’s supposed betrayal and Kait’s pregnancy by the same bad boy. But he further muddies the cesspool he’s found himself in by sleeping with his best friend Melanie under the rather delusional rationale of needing to keep her from meaningless hook-ups as she seeks to gain control of her own life and lose her V-card.

Given the brevity of the book, I’m pleasantly surprised at how much depth Maisey Yates manages to squeeze into the pages as she draws you closer into her characters’ backstories and carefully uncovering their thoughts and feelings in a way that’s vivid and revealing. So much so that I thought that Melanie was the star of the show (much more than Luke) when she emerges as a born survivor, and I found her extremely likeable for the sheer grit and awareness she shows in admitting her own flawed thoughts regarding sex and relationships and later, for putting herself out there when all Luke wants to do is remain in denial.

As far as novellas go, ‘Finally a Bride’ takes the easy way out to its HEA; it isn’t particularly revelatory or terribly atypical when it comes to its characters. Yet, I could appreciate the slight subtleties and nuances that Ms Yates has injected into its pages (or maybe psychoanalysis somehow turns me on) and for that alone, I’d call it an hour (that was all it took to finish it) well spent.

four-stars