Wednesday, April 17, 2013

REVIEW: Any Man of Mine by Rachel Gibson

Published April 2011 by Avon.

The theme for this month's TBR Challenge hosted by Wendy the Super Librarian is 'New to You Author.' At first, I had planned to read a different book for the challenge, but ended up picking up Any Man of Mine by Rachel Gibson off my TBR pile instead, completely on a whim. I'm glad I did--it was a quick and entertaining read. I bought Any Man of Mine at the 2011 NJ RWA book sale and literacy signing where Ms. Gibson signed my copy. I don't know why, but I always feel extra-accomplished when I read a book that I own that was signed by the author.

Any Man of Mine is the sixth and most recent book in Rachel Gibson's Chinooks Hockey Team series. I haven't read any of books 1-5 in this series, but I can assure you that Any Man of Mine can be read as a stand alone novel. On a series side note, a prominent secondary character in Any Many of Mine goes on to be the leading guy in Rescue Me by Rachel Gibson, the third book in her Lovett, Texas series.

WHAT HAPPENS IN VEGAS . . .
DOESN'T ALWAYS STAY THERE.

Several years ago, Autumn Haven treated herself to a much deserved vacation in Las Vegas to catch some shows and play the slots. What she didn't expect was to meet the sexy and charming Sam LeClaire. He relentlessly pursued her and over several days they have a great time together experiencing the thrills of Vegas and heating up the sheets. On a slightly drunken impulse, they get hitched at a chapel, only for Sam to be long gone by morning. Dazed, confused, and heartbroken, Autumn heads home and is shortly delivered divorce papers through a lawyer. Soon after, she finds out she's pregnant. Despite their tense and pretty much non-existent relationship, Sam owned up to his responsibility, pays a generous child support and visits with Conner as much as his busy hockey schedule allows, which isn't really all that much.

Conner is now five year old when Sam and Autumn bump into each other at a wedding where Sam is a guest and Autumn is the wedding planner. They try to avoid each other as a rule, but it's not so easy. By the end of the evening, Sam actually helps Autumn out by taking Conner that night when Conner's sitter has to bail. Sam starts to realize that he hasn't been the most attentive father to his son, just like his own father behaved towards him, so he becomes determined not to do the same to his own son. This change in attitude brings Sam more into Autumn and Conner's lives, which at first is a little awkward, but soon turns out to be so good for all of them. They start to function as a family and there's no denying that Sam and Autumn really do belong together. It's a rocky road getting there, but what a sweet ride it is!

This is a reunited lovers story that worked well for me because it came across so realistically. The struggles Autumn faces as a single mom rang true - both as a mom and simply as a 30 year old single woman. I have to admit Sam came across as an arrogant jerk most of the time. Charming and sexy, but definitely selfish and cocky. He comes around, though, and does get more grounded as the story progresses. As he starts to prioritize his relationship with his son, he also discovers that there's still something about Autumn that makes him want to be with her. He's still attracted to her - not just physically, but emotionally, too. It takes him a little while to figure out the emotional part, but the same goes for Autumn. Thank goodness Conner gave these two reason to come together again happily ever after once and for all.

4 out of 5 stars

GRADE: B

Have you read any of Rachel Gibson's books? 

If yes, what's your favorite? 


11 comments:

  1. I remember this one. I read several of Gibson's hockey series and I think this was my favorite. Great review, Christine.

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  2. Thanks, Phyl. So glad I read this one! I think I have a few of the earlier hockey series books in a box somewhere.. hand me downs from Mariana! :)

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  3. I really enjoyed The Truth About Valentine's Day and True Confession

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  4. Good to know, willaful. I might even have those two around here somewhere.. ;)

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  5. While the getting-preggers-in-Vegas thing probably would drive me a little crazy, I'm intrigued by the fact that the child isn't a Secret Baby and the single mother heroine isn't playing martyr and is ACTUALLY ACCEPTING THE CHILD SUPPORT PAYMENTS! Wahoooey! Well played Ms. Gibson!

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  6. Hi Christine!
    I've read the first two in this series..not sure why I stopped..the first one had a secret baby turning into secret young child but I kind of enjoyed the little bit of angst there...The second book was good.
    I suppose a common theme in the author's work is how women who aren't the most confidant ever somehow find a way to have the will to carry on and be great...
    ****

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  7. Christine, I read this book a long time ago. I remember enjoying the book all the way to the end too... while the rocky road to bliss frustrated me. I have a review on draft that was never posted. I'm glad you enjoyed this!


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  8. I'm glad you liked it. I think this was the first Gibson book I enjoyed in a good long while - her latest offerings just weren't doing it for me - but I thought this one was pretty solid. I liked everyone, even Sam (eventually) and I love reunited lovers stories.

    Lovely review.

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  9. I was going to say exactly what Wendy said--no secret baby, no ├╝ber-martyr to whom pride is more important than the child. I haven't read anything by Ms Gibson, but this one is tempting on that alone.

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  10. Hmmm, at this moment, I can't think of o my favorite Rachel Gibson books. But I know it's not any of her hockey books. Although I know a lot love See Jane Scores.

    I wasn't crazy about this one. Like you said, Sam wasn't a great father and it seemed to me them getting back together, I just didn't really get why.

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  11. I've been reading a lot more romance this year so I'm going to add this author to my TBR list! And I always feel accomplished when I read books signed by authors or any time I read a review copy that I wasn't expecting to receive :) LOL! Great review!

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