Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Guest Review - - Any Man of Mine

Any Man of Mine
By Rachel Gibson
Publisher: Avon
Release Date: April 26, 2011




What happens in Vegas can have consequences that last for years. What happened to Autumn Haven and Sam LeClaire was a quick marriage and a quicker divorce. The consequence is named Conner, and he’s six years old.

Once a paternity test proved Conner was his, Sam has provided financially for his son, but in all other ways his failure as a father has been as colossal as his failure as a husband. Since meetings between Sam and Autumn tend to be acrimonious, they have become experts at avoiding one another. But when recently retired hockey star Ty Savage marries Chinooks owner Faith Duffy (True Love and Other Disasters), Autumn, the wedding planner, and Sam, a Chinooks star, have to be in the same place at the same time. A glitch in Autumn’s childcare arrangements gives Sam the unexpected opportunity to prove that he can be the father to Conner that Sam’s father never was to him.

Autumn knows Conner needs his dad, but she has good reason to distrust Sam’s promises. Even when Sam shows that he’s determined to be permanently involved in Conner’s life, Autumn fights not to allow him reentry to her heart. But reason and resolution are poor defenses against the chemistry between these two characters, and the fire that reignites once they are seeing one another again burns even hotter than it did in Vegas.

I don’t like hockey, but I’m a big fan of Rachel Gibson’s hockey books. See Jane Score, Chinooks Book #2, remains my favorite of Gibson’s popular, but Any Man of Mine is a terrific addition to the tales of the Chinooks. Reunion and redemption are my favorite themes in romance novels, and Sam and Autumn’s story is a splendid example of both. It is not a story of misunderstandings that can be addressed with clearer communication. There’s no way around the fact that Sam has been a real jerk. His behavior is reminiscent of news stories about real life superstar athletes. For the story to work, the reader has to believe that Sam has changed and matured. Gibson makes it easy to believe because the changes are not instantaneous and they are revealed within the contexts of who Sam is and what his life has been.

Autumn’s change is less dramatic than Sam’s, but no less crucial. The Vegas experience transformed her from a na├»ve young woman to a disillusioned single mother who struggles with residual anger and bitterness. She must learn not only to trust Sam again but also to trust herself and her judgment. Conner adds to the power of the story because he seems to be a real little boy who loves his mother but needs his daddy in his life.

Fans of the earlier Chinook books will recognize Sam and will be pleased to catch glimpses of Ty and Faith’s wedding, but Any Man of Mine can easily be read as a stand-alone novel. The focus of the story remains on Sam and Autumn, their past, and their attempt to build a future. It is a story that tugs at the heart, offers flashes of humor, and sizzles with Gibson’s usual flair for love scenes. If you’ve never read Gibson, AMOM is a good place to begin. I’m betting you’ll then want to glom her backlist.

It is rumored that this is the last of the Chinooks series, but I hope there will be at least one more connected book. I really want to know what happens to Autumn’s protective brother.

~Janga

15 comments:

  1. Say it isn't so! The last of the Chinooks! I am devestated! Nothing says romance like a sweaty hockey player! I would say thanks for the review, but I am going to go and cry...then go out and buy all of Rachel's books in e-version so that I can always have my hockey dream man with me...

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  2. I would be very happy to 'glom' Rachel Gibson's backlist. Not a fan of hockey, no problem.

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  3. NO! The LAST hockey book?? I'm gonna have to have a chat with Ms. Rachel! I adore these books!! Thanks for the great review. Looks like I've gotta get this one added to my TBR pretty soon!

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  4. Point of clarification: I'm not sure that AMOM is the last Chinooks book. I couldn't find official confirmation, but I read in a couple of places that it was the final book in the series. The lack of any official word was my reason for saying "It is rumored."

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  5. Great review!

    I've heard so many good things about Rachel's books but I don't know which book I should start with. I'd like to read this one, but since it's mid-series, that might not be the best idea. Do you have any suggestions?

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  6. I've heard really good things about these books...will be adding them to my tbb list....

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  7. Antonia, I think you could start the Chinooks book at any point. As I said See Jane Score is my favorite, and I think one of the best contemporaries. Some people have a strong preference for reading series books in order. If you do, the order is

    Simply Irresistible
    See Jane Score
    The Trouble with Valentines Day
    True Love and Other Disasters
    Nothing But Trouble
    Any Man of Mine

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  8. Great review, Janga! I have a couple of RG's books in my massive TBR pile, and one of these days I *will* get to them.

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  9. Great review, Janga! I haven't read any RG books YET ... hoping to get that remedied some time this year.

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  10. Janga turned me on to See Jane Score a few years ago and that was all it took to hook me. I love this series!

    Thanks for another terrific review, Janga. I have AMOM with me at the beach this week and am looking forward to reading it!

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  11. Thanks for the great review, Janga! I really love the cover.

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  12. I don't read much contemporary romance. I tend to read more historicals and suspense. Like you, I like the reunion and redemption story line. I enjoyed watching hockey when I was growing up on the Canadian/US border. It isn't as available where we live now and I had forgotten how fast it moves and how much fun it is to watch. I think they tend to be the brawlers in the sports world. I have heard many good things about Rachel Gibson's books and this sounds like one I would enjoy.

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  13. Great review, Janga. I've read all the Chinooks books and can't wait for Sam's story.

    I think Rachel Gibson did for hockey what Susan Elizabeth Phillips did for football. Never in a million years would you have convinced me I would love romance books centered around sports figures, but they are all among my all time favorites!

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  14. I have heard good things about these books but have not read any of them, will have to check them out.

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  15. Thanks for the recommendations, Janga! :)

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