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Buying Love: A Maple Run Novel (The Maple Run Series Book 1) Kindle Edition
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Top Customer Reviews
What I liked: A classic fictional topic set in a totally new setting. That alone–a fabulous start to a good book. But then Ms. Shiloh added a fun, quirky cast of characters. Somehow she danced so close to the “Mary Sue” line and then would waltz away again. I thought it was pretty impressive, and I also really liked the unusual dog choice. Okay, I know, but really? A St. Bernard in Virginia? Thank you for stepping out of the cliche box! I also really loved how she showed the characters looking to the Lord for direction–most of the time anyway! If it had been all the time, we’d definitely be talking about a “Mary Sue” convention. (for those who aren’t familiar with the term “Mary Sue” it’s just an overly perfect character with, at best, token flaws to try to make him/her seem “realistic” when he/she is anything but!)
What I didn’t like: This is always the worst part. I could talk about how I didn’t like that she was so blind to things that are obvious to me, but hey. Without that, we’d have had no plot. And really, isn’t that how it always is? We’re blind to what’s right in front of us?
I could say I didn’t like how it was so short (which explains why some parts felt a bit rushed. I didn’t realize it was a novella until I went looking for word count. It just slides over the 50K mark. Writer’s Digest puts that into the novella range). But those are kind of not so bad. Occasionally there was a bit of information dump, but Ms. Shiloh really didn’t let it go too far for the most part. It just made things drag a little bit in odd places.
Frankly, the worst part of the whole book was the lapse into passive writing. And while that’s currently anathema (or it feels like it), the truth is that many of my favorite authors wrote with it when that wasn’t an issue. So, if it bothers you, you'll find it in here. Fortunately, Ms. Shiloh managed to vary her sentence style enough to avoid it becoming tedious, so I suspect even picky readers might not take too much issue with it. I wasn't terribly bothered.
What made me laugh: Okay, Dwight’s mom. That woman cracked me up. I wanted to shake her, but she added a lot of tension and comic relief. Some of it was illogical, and I just assume I don’t understand what the author was doing with it. I’m from another side of the country, so it could be a cultural thing. But sometimes I just shook my head and thought, “Why would you get upset there and not here?” Then again, it’s probably my brain overthinking things. I do that. I’m not proud of it.
What made me cry: Okay, nothing made me cry. I’m not a crier. I didn’t laugh so hard that I cried. Nothing was so sad or heroic (the one thing that can get through to my cold, stone heart) that I wept. I did find it sad that Nina was blind to one obvious solution to her primary goal. Normally, I’d excuse her blindness with the “forest for the trees” thing, but I really found that the most implausible thing in the book.
Advertising for a husband? Not a problem. Isn’t that technically what eHarmony is? I have no difficulty following that logic. Wanting to plan out your life and becoming a bit fixated on that? Easy peasy to do. But someone in Nina’s situation–with her history? I just don’t get how she missed the obvious. Not choosing it for other reasons? I could give her a dozen reasons why it shouldn’t change her plans–but not thinking of it?
But if you said “wince” instead of cry, I’ll say that I was a bit uncomfortable with their chemistry/affection. That said, I’m uncomfortable with any I put in my books, so what do I know?
And do I recommend Buying Love?: Yeah. I think I do. I won’t pretend it would be the first book I’d pick up to read again, but I will read the next book when it comes out. Ms. Shiloh has made me care about her characters, and really. That’s what it’s all about for me.
This book was part of the CelebrateLit blog tour. I received an ARC. Opinions are mine and not worth the obligatory . 02, I assure you.
I gave this book 4 stars as per Amazon's "I like it" criterion. It was better than "okay" but not quite "Gotta tell everyone about it" either. That said, I repeat: I'll be looking for book two. Take that for what it's worth.
Well, gee. What an interesting fix Nina and Dwight get themselves into. There are good points of tension in the story--two people prayerfully heading into a risky venture even though they don't have all the answers, and a man wrestling with how he can ever be a provider for a woman who has more money than he does.
The last burst of conflict for the climax felt a little contrived to me, not quite a natural fit for this particular hero and heroine. But the romance is out-and-out sweet without being too syrupy (yes, even considering all the maple around.) The book also concludes with a good amount of key, wonderful things and has left me in anticipation of the coming continuation of the series.
Many other fans of ChristFic romance should enjoy this story of love, friends, family, and belonging.
I received a complimentary copy of this book from Celebrate Lit for an honest review.
Mind you, Nina’s approach to finding a husband isn’t really all that strange in this era of internet dating sites and reality ‘meet-at-the-altar’ wedding shows. I normally avoid those types of shows at all costs, but thankfully, this book was nothing like those shows! Nina and Dwight took a mature, responsible approach to their possible marriage, agreeing to date for two months before deciding whether they could make a marriage work. On that basis, the story developed into one with more depth than I was anticipating, particularly in relation to Nina’s background and the lingering insecurities she has as a result.
Dwight won me over very quickly (although it took a little longer to warm to his mother, and even his sister!) He’s genuine, gentlemanly, and I loved the way he became Nina’s champion, both within his family and in her personal life. And Nina’s story was a touching one as she battled her insecurities and her need to belong; to be loved for “who she was and who she wasn’t and still be cherished regardless.”
There were a couple of minor elements that felt a little clichéd to me (for example, both characters found the other extremely attractive from the outset), but Toni Shiloh has an engaging writing style and I’m looking forward to reading more in the series.
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