3 July 2014

Review and Giveaway: Rival Hearts by Tara Randel

Don’t miss this month’s Quilts of Love book, Rival Hearts, by Tara Randel. Who doesn't like a friendly competition, every now and then? You'll be sure to love this fun tale of unexpected competition between two people forced out of their comfort zone.

Celebrate June's release by entering to win a summer camping kit (grill, tent, and camp chairs) from Quilts of Love.


One winner will receive:
  • A Coleman grill, tent, and camp chairs
  • A Promise in Pieces by Emily Wierenga
  • A Stitch and a Prayer by Eva Gibson
  • Rival Hearts by Tara Randel
Enter today by clicking one of the icons below. But hurry, the giveaway ends on July 13. Winner will be announced on the Quilts of Love blog.

Spread the word—tell your friends about the giveaway via FACEBOOK or TWITTER and increase your chances of winning.

My Review: Not my style

Molly Henderson and Ben Weaver are both magazine editors for the same company, both up for the same promotion to launch a new magazine. Their boss plans to make the decision based on a friendly competition between the two, in which Molly has to learn to kayak, and Ben has to learn to quilt (Rival Hearts is from Abingdon’s Quilts of Love series. There has to be a quilt).

I had trouble getting in to Rival Hearts. I found Molly annoying from the beginning, with her view that she should get the promotion based on seniority (what about based on performance? Or who is actually a better fit for the new magazine?). Yes, I get that part of her personal character arc was the transition from the sedate can’t-do-much introvert with best friends are twice her age, to the “I can do anything” woman who is prepared to take some risks in life and love. And I get that her mother has been a huge influence in shaping her personality and beliefs—a largely negative influence. But I just didn’t like Molly, and it’s hard to enjoy a romance novel when I don’t like the heroine.

The beginning felt like we were being told a lot about Molly (such as her volunteering, her health issues, her relationship with her brother, how she got into quilting …) and not shown or told much about Ben. What little we did see showed him as overconfident to the point of arrogance. While he improved as a character as the novel progressed, I still would have liked to have seen him develop a bit more depth. I would also have liked to have seen more of his spiritual journey than a couple of offhand references.

The plot held few surprises (I guessed the ending at about the halfway point), the characters didn’t inspire me, and the writing didn’t shine. It read more like a Harlequin than Quilts of Love, and it certainly didn’t have any mystery (as claimed in her author tagline, ‘Where Mystery and Romance are Everywhere’). On the plus side, I thought the Christian aspects were handled well, and I very much liked Nora and her quilting circle, Molly’s second family.

I'm sure many readers will love this, but I didn’t, which is a disappointment as I look forward to reading the Quilts of Love stories and discovering exciting new authors.

Thanks to Litfuse and NetGalley for providing a free ebook for review. You can find out more about Tara Randle at her website.

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