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Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Like Watching The Bachelor? How 'Bout Reading It?

(Image from Barnes & Noble)

After being left at the altar by the man of her dreams, 26-year-old Kelly Grace Pickens doesn't know how to feel.  She's humiliated, of course, not to mention lonely, angry, worried, and—most of all—confused.  She hasn't heard a word from her fiancee.  Is he lying dead in a gutter somewhere or, worse, has he just changed his mind about marrying her?  With no answers, no money, and no husband, Kelly Grace can't just sit around tormenting herself with what ifs.  She has to do something.  But what?

Becoming a contestant on a reality t.v. show—especially one where a bunch of desperate women vie for the "love" of some narcissistic pretty boy—is a possibility that's never, ever entered Kelly Grace's mind.  But when her cousin, the co-producer of America's most popular dating show, begs Kelly Grace to fill a last-minute spot on this season's cast list, she reluctantly agrees to participate.  Kelly Grace is only in it for the money, of course, and has no intention of throwing herself at the show's star.  No matter how good-looking or sweet or wealthy Dillon Black might be.  Of course, things get mighty complicated when the suave bachelor puts the moves on Kelly Grace, who suddenly finds herself having to trying very, very hard to resist.  The question now is:  What (or who) does Kelly Grace really want and how far will she go to get it (him)?  

I should probably mention right off the bat that I'm not a fan of The Bachelor or anything of its kind.  Maybe that's what made Count Down to Love by Julie N. Ford so difficult for me to enjoy.  Or maybe it's because the novel got so far-fetched, melodramatic and contrived I could hardly stand it.  I think I would have actually found a behind-the-scenes look at reality t.v. interesting, but Ford skimps mightily on the "insider" details, focusing instead on the developing relationship between Kelly Grace and Dillon.  Which might have been okay, except that the romance was totally predictable.  Now, I realize it's a romance, so the guy and girl are going to get together, but to keep my attention, an author has to make me wonder if the couple can really overcome all the odds that stand in the way of their Happily Ever After.  Ford didn't do that.  I think the real problem with the book, though, is that Kelly Grace has no real goal, nothing admirable she's trying to do, nothing to make the reader root for her.  Plus, she gets the guy way too easily, which throws the plotting all out of whack because the climax of the story comes in the middle of the book instead of at the end.  So, yeah.  While I kind of liked the premise of Count Down to Love, it just really didn't deliver for me.    

(Readalikes:  Reminded me a little of Not My Type by Melanie Jacobson)

Grade:  C-

If this were a movie, it would be rated:  PG for sexual innuendo

To the FTC, with love:  I received a PDF copy of Count Down to Love from the generous folks at Bonneville Books (an imprint of Cedar Fort) via the Whitney Award Committee.  Thank you!   

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