November 17, 2014

REVIEW + GIVEAWAY: After the Rain by Renée Carlino

After the Rain by Renée Carlino
NA Contemporary Romance
Kindle format given by Atria Books for review
Amazon | BN | iTunes

Under the bright arena lights of a rodeo show, young Avelina Belo falls for a handsome cowboy with a larger-than-life personality. After a whirlwind courtship, she happily moves away from her family in northern California and settles into married life with her cowboy on a seven-thousand-acre cattle ranch in Montana. One freak accident later, Avelina’s hopes for the future come to an end.

Nate Myers graduated from UCLA medical school at the top of his class, ready to follow in the footsteps of his father, a superstar cardiothoracic surgeon. Six years later, Nate’s career is being ruined by a malpractice suit. Questioning himself for the first time, he retreats to a Montana cattle ranch to visit his uncle and gain perspective. There, he meets a beautiful young woman named Avelina who teaches him more than he ever knew about matters of the heart.
I'm sitting here trying to think of what I want to say in this review and the word sweet just keeps popping up. I honestly didn't know what to expect with this book. One thing I did know going in was that it would be a story full of heart. And it was. 

So...what did I think? I truly enjoyed it. I appreciated the message of the story. I enjoyed watching both of these characters grow. Honestly, I had trouble connecting with Avelina in the beginning. She was easily led by her husband and for some reason that bothered me. Likely because I'm a strong willed person. But, reflecting on her now, I see her in a different light. Avelina was a gentle, kind, warm spirited girl. She needed some guidance and she took it from anyone who offered. Unfortunately after her husband died, she was a bit lost again. Watching her grow and become a strong, determined woman, was refreshing and it made me like her much more. 

As for Nate...I would say he made the book for me. And it isn't just because he and I have the same birthday. *snickers* His voice was louder to me for some reason. The pressure he puts on himself to be the best made him relatable to me, I suppose. I tend to put high expectations on myself, so I understood Nate. As difficult as his situation was to work through, I thought he handled it well and truthfully, he needed some perspective. He needed to learn how to prioritize his life and...not let it pass him by. Avelina helped him with that. Her warm heart showed Nate that he needed more in his life than just his career. In the end, I was rooting for this couple to pull through and be together. 

Overall, it was a good story. I liked the messages. I saw two people who appear to be complete opposites find love. I saw two people a bit lost and needing direction. I saw a couple who wanted to be together, but also recognized that they each needed to grow independently before they could be with each other completely. While some these moments were challenging, I feel that it made them a stronger couple in the end. 

Carlino's books are always refreshing to me. No book is alike. She presents settings and situations that are vivid and really pull the reader in. I always recommend her books to readers and I'll be adding this one to that list too. Check it out. 

"I'm not this guy. You make me feel..." He searched for the words. "You make me feel. That's it. I haven't felt anything for anyone like this."-Loc 1354

"What will we do after the rain?"
"After the rain, you'll make a decision. I want you to come back with me, when you're ready of course, but I want you to live with me."-Loc 3419

The last sentence of the book was possibly my favorite, but I'll save that for you to discover. :) 

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Renee’s first friends were the imaginary kind and even though her characters haven’t gone away, thankfully the delusions have. She admits she’s a wildly hopeless romantic and she blames 80’s movies staring Molly Ringwald for that. She lives in Southern California with her husband, two sons, and their sweet dog June. When she’s not at the beach with her boys or working on the next book, she likes to spend her time reading, going to concerts, and eating dark chocolate.

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