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Ten Thousand Hours Paperback – October 16, 2016
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About the Author
Ren Benton's talent for perceiving disaster in every situation is most productively applied to tormenting the characters she writes. She began devouring romance novels at an inappropriately young age because she was a voracious reader, the nearest library was far, and a quarter at any yard sale bought a brown paper bag stuffed with Harlequins and Silhouettes. She currently writes contemporary romance in which the protagonists are the greatest obstacle to their own happiness. Visit renbenton.com to get more information about Ren's books and sign up for new-release notification.
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Top customer reviews
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This book was a surprise. I was expecting romance, and found it to be a little closer to fiction (chick lit? women's fiction? whatever... I trust you know the difference). The banter between Griff and Ivy/Duchess was what got me in the door, but it drops off pretty quickly after their initial encounter. There are still a few flashes of it throughout the rest of the story, but they're farther between.
Ivy is a stressed out goody two shoes, trying to provide much-needed stability for her sister's children. Her relationship with Griff is the only one where she feels she can indulge somewhat tame recklessness. Griff is interested in Ivy, but struggling to both live up to and live down low expectations from everyone else in his life. The two of them struggle to balance each other's natural tendencies to make the relationship work. It's a strength of the book that the characters earn their HEA somewhat realistically, without a great deal of magic handwaving. (There *is* some magic handwaving, but not a lot.)
However, the downside of making them earn the HEA is that the book drags in the middle and has about three manufactured-conflict episodes too many. Griff comes to grips with his feelings for Ivy fairly early on; Ivy is the one who has to come around again and again. There are also a number of unnecessary characters--we didn't need both friend couples in Ivy's life. One would have sufficed as neither of them brought anything substantial to the tale. The ex-boyfriend was a non-starter who didn't need as much time as he was given.
Still, all told, I liked the book, and would keep an eye out for future works by this author.
(As for the soft core porn allegation... I can only assume the reviewer didn't read even to even the halfway point: the sex drops off quite a bit. That's actually a plot point in the back half.)
I almost didn't buy this book. Romance really isn't my preferred genre. I get impatient with the characters and contrived circumstances, then there's the ridiculous over-description of his wash-board abs.... Yeah. I can do without it most of the time.
I'm so glad I took a chance on Ren Benton's Ten Thousand Hours. The first quarter of the book, I lay in bed next to my sleeping husband, alternately grinning and smothering laughter. The characters and their difficulties feel realistic and I had no trouble buying into the story, even rooting for the characters. I finished Ten Thousand Hours and went right out and bought Ren Benton's previous story.
I would read more romances if they were like this one.
Ten Thousand Hours is a good read. 5 stars. Definitely worth sharing.
I had to demote it to four stars, however, for three reasons more related to writing skills than story content. For one thing, the author couldn't seem to stay away from the kind of repetitive, redundant internal angst too often pervading the work of today's newer authors. Paragraph after paragraph on page after page was spent on the main characters' mutual insecurity. There were times I found myself tempted to skim ahead until something substantive came back into the narrative. On the other hand, I quite often found myself reading and rereading, trying to stay on track with which character's voice was currently in play. Often the author changes voices without more than a normal paragraph beak, making it quite difficult to follow at times. Thirdly, this narrative is chock full of multiple mixed metaphors, to the point where they become more confusing than illustrative.
Ms. Benton has a very nice knack for crafting a mesmerizing story; she just needs to polish her writing skills. Or get a better editor.