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review 2017-01-19 17:36
Barely Breathing (Colorado High Country, #1) by Pamela Clare Review
Barely Breathing: A Colorado High Country Novel - Pamela Clare

Lexi Jewell left Scarlet Springs twelve years ago, vowing never to return to the eccentric Colorado mountain town where she grew up. Now, here she is—over thirty, out of a job and with little choice but to move back in with her father. Lexi knows it’s just a matter of time before she runs into Austin Taylor, her first boyfriend and her first heartbreak. She’s determined to show him she’s over him—until he steps out of a pickup truck and back into her life, looking sexy as hell in his mountain ranger uniform.

As far as Austin is concerned, Lexi can turn her snazzy little convertible around and drive back to Chicago. After all, she ripped his teenage heart apart and turned her back on the town he loves. But from the moment he sees her again, he can’t get her out of his mind. Even her smile messes with his head.

When an evening of conversation turns into something else, Lexi and Austin agree to be friends again—with benefits. But as Lexi starts making plans to return to the big city, Austin realizes he’ll lose her a second time unless he can show her that what she’s searching for has been right here all along.

 

Review

 

I am so excited about this new series by Pamela Clare! She is a great writer who mostly writes romantic suspense which is one of my least favorite subgenres. I am thrill that she is starting this indie series of contemporaries with acton thrown in.

 

What I really liked about this book is what I am sure I will really like about the series. The book was a love letter to Colorado mountains, search and rescue, and outdoor nature sports--in this case rock climbing. It is a feast of details and images and works perfectly to create a world in this small town you will want to visit and admiration for all the lifestyles, pastimes, and skills of the characters.

 

The cast of characters is great in terms of those I just know will have their own books.

The romance is a lovely second chance with high school sweethearts who have an intense attraction and love for each other paired with a playful sexuality (and they did have sex with others while apart thank god) which is super fun. The love story comes from them falling in love with fuller selves they both are now and seeing who they were then much more clearly.

 

The heroine's journey is a worth the reading in terms of understanding herself and her relationship to her home town.

 

I wasn't thrilled with the resolutions in terms of personal relationships between her father, her stepmother, her best friend, and her sisters. I thought these plot points should have been contended with more powerfully for a richer closing to this book.

 

But overall, good stuff!

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review 2016-10-28 19:24
Slow Burn (Colorado High Country #2)
Slow Burn: A Colorado High Country Novel - Pamela Clare

FTC DISCLAIMER: I RECEIVED AN E-ARC FROM THE PUBLISHER THROUGH NET GALLEY IN EXCHANGE FOR AN HONEST REVIEW. RECEIPT OF THIS BOOK IN THIS MANNER DOES NOT AFFECT MY OPINION OF THE BOOK OR THE CONTENT OF MY REVIEW!

As a fan of the author's I-Team and Blakewell/Kenleigh series, I was excited to hear about this new series, but was a bit disappointed by the first installment of this series. That being said, this second installment wasn't quite where I wanted it to be, in fact, I found it to be even worse than the first book in the series, and I feel that I rounded up on that rating!

The prologue is nothing more than a rehashing of the first meeting of the main characters that appeared in the first book. It did allow readers to understand the jump to a year later easier, so I could understand why it was added to this book.

However, I really didn't see these two falling in love, because there wasn't much in the way of alone time between the two of them. Sure, there was a lot of attraction, but not a lot of meaningful conversation, especially in light of the fact that this is mainly an extension of the first book by showcasing that first couple's wedding.

While there were appearances by the citizenry of the town that I had so enjoyed in the first book, this book kept those appearances to a bare minimum and it didn't feel necessary to this story. The addition of Victoria's family did nothing but anger me for most of the book, until the very end of it, when her father essentially bought my forgiveness.

All things considered, it was a quick and easy read, but I was hoping for much more out of it.

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review 2016-09-28 04:30
Thoughts: Slow Burn
Slow Burn: A Colorado High Country Novel - Pamela Clare

Slow Burn

by Pamela Clare
Book 2 of Colorado High Country


Let's be frank here:  Pamela Clare is an auto-buy author for me.  She's an auto-buy author as well as an auto-read author.

At least the contemporary stuff she's written so far has been quickly added to my library and devoured--I haven't exactly gone back over her historical back list yet.  And while her books have the tendency to get a little overly cheesy and overly schmaltzy sometimes, Pamela Clare has sentimental value.

Her I-Team series was the very first set of Romantic Suspense series I truly fell in love with.  And with that, it got me catapulted into the entire genre, finding myself a sweet little comfort zone for my reading life.

But that's not all.  Pamela Clare books are auto-buy for me because I've always found I love the characters she creates and the suspenseful situations she creates.

Slow Burn doesn't prove too differently.  Although Slow Burn also proves the power of a beloved author versus average presentation of a potentially fun and sexy contemporary romance.


The Blurb:

Victoria Woodley is done with men.  Fresh off a dating nightmare, she flies from her home in Chicago to Scarlet Springs to take part in her best friend’s wedding.  Who picks her up at the airport?  Eric Hawke.  Of course.  She made a fool of herself over him last time she was here.  He’s cocky, charming, and sexy as sin.  But the fact that she’s attracted to him is all the proof she needs that he’s bad news.  She would ignore him if she could.  But he’s the best man, and she’s the maid of honor.  She can’t just tell him to jump in a lake—especially not when her lips are locked with his.

Eric isn’t looking for a relationship.  Between running the firehouse and volunteering for the county’s search and rescue team, he has enough on his plate.  He doesn’t need to get tangled up with a woman from the big city, especially one whose idea of roughing it is going without designer coffee.  Yet from the moment he looks into Victoria’s big brown eyes, the attraction he feels is too strong to deny.  Faster than he can imagine, the spark of desire that has smoldered between them since the first day they met will flare into full-blown passion.

But can Eric convince Victoria to set aside her doubts and trust him with her heart before their time together runs out?



My Thoughts:
Slow Burn is written well, easy to read, and fast-paced, as Pamela Clare is wont to present.  The premise is a cute one with a lot of potential between Victoria who has a really bad incident occur in her life recently, and Eric who just naturally wants to take care of everyone in his life even if he won't admit it.  It's a typical hero and damsel story, but with a modern twist and lots of sexy times involved.

And also, Victoria's a pretty cool Mary Sue of epic proportions... y'know, for a Mary Sue.  Except for that little miscommunication and jumping to conclusions deal in the short first chapter back story of one year ago, Victoria's alright.  She and Eric end up having an excellent, chemistry-laden relationship wherein they are extremely in lust with each other, but are both trying to hang on to that "we're just friends" lie.

I'm sure everyone--readers and our main couple--were both relieved when the two finally gave into their carnal desires and jumped each others' bones.

Anyway, as far as romances go, this wasn't the most unique story in the world, nor did I expect it to be.  Victoria and Eric are both good people, and the little community of Scarlet Springs is a wonderful place for any small town love story to take place.  So I liked it.  It's a typical tried-and-true formula from a beloved author.

And sometimes that's enough for me.

To top it off, while a little outrageous, Lexi and Austin's "One Week of Pre-Wedding Festivities" sounded like a whole lot of fun.  I don't know anyone in my life, personally, who'd be able to afford all of that fun, but I guess it would be akin to just having a vacation in one's own home considering there's so much to do around the area: white water rafting, mountain hiking, a night out on the town, a climbing gym in a bar, etc....

One of the little quibbles I had were the forced "extreme situations" that kind of happened near the end.  I'm hesitant to say that Pamela manages better with her romantic suspenses, because I DO still enjoy these contemporary romances set in little Scarlet Springs, as there seems to be plenty of action going on a mountain town without needing to factor in a serial killer or terrorist attack.  I don't know if we need to include these extreme situations, though I suppose stuff like getting shoved in front of a moving vehicle CAN happen in real life without the premise being specific to romantic suspense.

Peaceful is kind of nice, sometimes.

The schmaltz that is standard Pamela Clare, however, seems to have resurfaced after being kind of absent in the last three books publish of hers that I read.  It's not in full force, but it's tell-tale signs are there.

Anyway...

"Firemen are my favorite color."


Yes, Victoria. They most certainly are. =-)


***

2016 Reading Challenges:
Goodreads Reading Challenge
BookLikes Reading Challenge

Source: anicheungbookabyss.blogspot.com/2016/09/thoughts-slow-burn.html
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review 2016-05-30 14:52
Barely Breathing (Colorado High Country #1)
Barely Breathing: A Colorado High Country Novel - Pamela Clare

FTC DISCLAIMER: I RECEIVED AN E-ARC COPY OF THIS BOOK FROM THE PUBLISHER IN EXCHANGE FOR MY HONEST REVIEW!

Having read the author's I-Team and Blakewell/Kenleigh series, I was excited to hear about this new series. That being said, this first installment wasn't quite where I wanted it to be, even for a first book in a new-to-the-author genre.

It is clear that the author's writing interests lie in writing romantic suspense, because while this was supposed to be a contemporary romance, it had mild romantic suspense elements in it as well. It also featured an appearance by one of the characters from the I-Team world. Both of these felt forced to me, and almost tacked into the plot, as if the author felt she had to do this to appease her fans.

Austin and Lexi both were interesting characters, but their history kept being shoved at us throughout the entire book. Family members who didn't approve of their getting back together, jokes and jabs about how they each played a part in their separation at the end of high school, and mentions of Lexi's return to Chicago got rather stale by the end of the book. It was also this past history that led to them jumping into bed rather quickly for this reader's tastes, as if they were trying to just turn back the clock and erase 12 years of separation. Their romance went rather fast, and there really wasn't much to their "fall back into love".

What really shown through all this was the town. The descriptions were very well detailed, as if they were very well researched or known. The townsfolk were what I enjoyed the most about the book, each one offering just that slight twist to make them stand out within the small-town romance genre.

While this wasn't quite where I wanted it for a contemporary romance, it was still a very well written and enjoyable read. I would personally recommend this book as a first read to someone new to the Author's work, as it is a good showcase of her skill and attention to detail, before pointing them on to the author's I-Team series.

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review 2016-05-25 21:28
Barely Breathing by Pamela Clare
Barely Breathing: A Colorado High Country Novel - Pamela Clare

I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Lexi couldn't wait to leave her hometown in the dust after graduation but that also meant leaving her high school sweetheart Austin behind. Their breakup crushed them both and twelve years later, the feelings are still there. When Lexi's work life goes up in flames and her dad having a breakdown after his wife leaves him has her returning to Scarlet Springs, she's unprepared to see Austin again. Austin knew Lexi was returning but he still wasn’t prepared to see her again. As circumstances throw them together, they realize that feelings of love never truly go away.
 
The first in a new series, Barely Breathing, introduces us to a Search and Rescue group in Scarlet Springs, Colorado. The first thirty percent of the story was a barrage of introductions to one hot heroic character after the next; it was slightly overwhelming with trying to keep track of everyone. I also understand that romance books are a fantasy but, I don't know, could someone be near sighted, have some split ends, or something? Having a group of around twelve characters whose hotness and goodness only gets topped by the next one, gets to be somewhat eye roll inducing when they keep coming one after the other. The setting up of all the characters also gave the beginning a crammed feeling as it fell to first book in a series syndrome.
 
Our main couple seemed to have had a solid relationship when they were in highschool, we don't get any flashbacks, only a recounting of how their breakup conversation went, and therefore their emotions and falling in love was missed. The relationship we do get to see was seeing each other for the first time in twelve years and thinking "Hey, they're even hotter than before!", "I wish we hadn't broken up", and "Sex with you is better than with anyone else." There just didn't seem to be a lot of emotion between the two, we're just told that they had it in highschool and the residual effects are still being felt today.
 
Lexi was a good character, she just felt kind of dry to me (I felt that way about the story as a whole). She had emotional trauma from losing her mother at a young age, an emotionally absent father, and distant stepmother but other than a few conflicting moments with her drunk father and snappy conversations with her stepmother, the depth of these issues was never delved into. Lexi also has a sister but their relationship was very much to the sidelines. Austin had the bullet points for being a great hero but he came off being a bit stiff. It was alluded to that he was angry at Lexi for the way things ended and even though it has been twelve years and his anger would have lessened, it felt like he just even keeled his way into being in love with Lexi again. There was no gradual build up either, they think each other is hot, remember how good the sex was in highschool, have sex, and then "Hey, I still love you."
 
Clare's writing is always good and she does make you want to keep reading but this story had a lot of rinse and repeat. There was both a rescue mission or training exercise, the group would head out to have a few beers at the local bar, and then Lexi and Austin would go back to his place to have sex; this pattern was repeated numerous times and made the story extremely monotonous. As I mentioned, with the introduction of several characters with heroine/hero potential, this series looks to be shaping up to be a longer one. I'll definitely be giving the next one try, a guest appearance from a Chief Deputy U.S. Marshall Zach McBride and the remembered amazing way Clare wrote his book assures that, but I'll also be hoping for more depth, emotion, and showing not telling.

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