Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Sierra

About the Author:
Taylor Dean lives in Texas and is the mother of four grown children. Upon finding herself with an empty nest, she began to write the stories that were always wandering around in her head, quickly finding that she had a passion for writing, specifically romance. Whether it’s paranormal, contemporary, or suspense—you’ll find all sub-genres of romance in her line-up. 

The Review:
Alyssa Fontaine’s life, loved ones—everything familiar and dear—are brutally taken from her.  
Taken captive by two men, she endures a horrific nightmare. A new life is forced upon her and even a new name.  
Just when it appears that no hope is in sight, she is saved by an unlikely twist of fate. Trapped in the beautiful Sierra Nevada Mountains, life will open its arms to her again and she will embrace it. She will find love such as she never knew existed.  
Sierra is a heart-wrenching story of the power of the human spirit to survive amidst impossible circumstances and severe losses. It is a story of survival . . . and hope. 

The description of this book made me nervous from the beginning about growing too attached to any of the characters but, of course, I quickly became attached to a few. We set off with a chilling start as "Pa" and "Adam" scope out families until they settle on one they deem perfect. Quickly, we're in amongst that family and witnessing the going ons while at a rest stop. This would be about the point where I became attached to characters I told myself not to get attached to. Shortly after, everything goes wrong.

While the fright of a kidnapping is obvious and the end result is heart breaking I felt that more of an emotional pull could have been created for the reader if there had been an opportunity for more character development. Alyssa, Sam (her husband), and Clay (her son) obviously love one another very much but you have experienced so little of their normal lives that I was finding myself often wondering how (specifically, Alyssa) previously behaved before the kidnapping.

Once Alyssa is separated from her family and forced to travel with her kidnappers, I was glad to see her natural reactions to things. Crying, fighting, trying to escape and thinking of her family. It was great to have her stumble upon Alex's cabin (her soon-to-be savior) and I was cheering on the idea that Alyssa could be saved. One thing leads to another and Alyssa "finds love in the most unexpected of places."

***Warning: potential spoilers ahead***

I can understand the pair falling in love, they work well together and play off one another well and I didn't think they developed feelings too quickly. What became somewhat unbelievable was that almost suddenly they didn't just have feelings for one another - they were in love and after a week of mourning the loss of her husband and child Alyssa pretty much forgets them. Not even a mention of memories while she dives into a relationship with Alex nor a moment of nostalgia while she prepares for Christmas of her son and how a little boy may have handled the holiday. This continues to the very end of the book where another character has to scold her to remember Sam and, you know, maybe pay her respects to him. This man whom she apparently loved so much and she seemed more over him than someone who went through a bad break up. It was all handled as if her original family was completely forgotten and nearly never existed.

When Alyssa returns to the real world it seems her priorities are a little more in order and her reaction to events are more believable. The above gripe still persists but otherwise she seems to have a natural change in her personality while Alex seems to change in a more aggressive manner. His past is revealed in more detail and most of his actions are understandable and make sense however the way he behaves during a confrontation on the mountain seemed mean and aggressive to a fault.

***End of spoilers***

In some ways, I feel a lot of things were plot devices used to get from point a to point b and where more detail and character could have been added it was lacking. There is a good, interesting story here but I feel it could have been presented in a better way. That's why on goodreads I gave it only 3 stars. It isn't a horrible book! It isn't anything like that and I am sure many people will adore it. For me, however, I am not so into the romance and kidnap plot. I didn't hate this book and I wouldn't tell people not to read it, hence the three star.

There were few things that took me by surprise in Sierra but what did surprise me really surprised me. More details of that when you read the book itself. The ending was happy and gave closure to the reader, there were nearly no editorial or grammatical mistakes (of which I rejoice!) and the descriptions of the area were lovely. Really, I think my favorite thing about this book was that Alex basically was living out my fantasy life in my fantasy home. How wonderful would it be to have a cabin in the woods with no one to bother you? I have sparkling bright dreams of being able to go and stay in a cabin one day, as a way for a vacation, and I think it would be awesome.

I am not head over heels for romance books although some worm their way into my heart. If you are into adventure and a lot of love, Sierra is for you. Check out the book on Amazon, Swashwords, and Barnes and Noble to get your copy today.


*Disclosure of Material Connection: I am a member of Reading Addiction Blog Tours and a copy of
this book was provided to me by the author. Although payment may have been received by Reading
Addiction Blog Tours, no payment was received by me in exchange for this review. There was
no obligation to write a positive review. All opinions expressed are entirely my own and may not
necessarily agree with those of the author, publisher, publicist, or readers of this review. This disclosure
is in accordance with the Federal Trade Commision’s 16 CFR, Part 255, Guides Concerning Use of
Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising*

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