Novella review: Lights, Cowboy, Action by Cindi Madsen

Lights, Cowboy, Action by Cindi Madsen
Rating: ★★★☆☆
Links: AmazonGoodreads
Publication Date: July 5, 2016
Source: Kindle freebie

Kaia Bardot is determined to move out from under her famous father’s shadow and prove she deserves her own director title. But when her lead actor needs cowboy lessons, she needs someone to get him up to speed, and fast. Who better than the real live cowboy who owns the ranch? If only he weren’t so infuriatingly stubborn.

Grady Langston’s trying to get the family ranch up and running again. Now his sister has decided the solution to their problems is to rent the place to a movie crew. He wants nothing to do with it. Until he lays eyes on the pretty director, who alternatively intrigues and drives him crazy.

Despite being opposites, there’s definitely a spark between Grady and Kaia. But how do a Hollywood director and small-town cowboy manage a real-life happy ending?

Of all the probably 200 books I have sitting unread on my Kindle, I wasn’t planning to read Lights, Cowboy, Action any time soon. I love Cindi Madsen, but cowboys aren’t really my thing, and neither are Hollywood books, but my Goodreads summer reading challenge said that I had to read a Western and it was close enough. I mean, is it really, technically a Western? I’m not sure. But it’s about a cowboy on a New Mexico ranch, so in my opinion, it’s close enough. (Also, I’ve owned it for nearly a year, so it qualified for my Killing the TBR challenge, and I’m all about two birds and one stone.)

I hadn’t realized that this was a novella. I also hadn’t realized that it would be a super cliched romance filled with enough insta-love to make me roll my eyes, but it is and it was. I think Cindi Madsen is a really talented writer, but I only kind of liked this novella. I mean, granted, things have to move pretty quickly in a book that’s only 74 pages, but I’m pretty sure Grady and Kaia were in love before they even met. They spend about a minute half-heartedly trying to deny their attraction before spending the rest of the book alternating between kissing and yelling out, “WHAT IN TARNATION.” (Side note: my manager likes to yell out “WHAT IN TARNATION” when something weird happens in the office, so that expression will never not make me smile.)

The whole story is fine if you’re into this kind of fast-paced, stereotypical romance, but I guess I was just hoping for a little bit more.

Goodreads summer reading challenge: high noon
#killingthetbr: 11 months on shelf

Previously: Operation Prom Date • Nailed It

Have you read Lights, Cowboy, Action? Do you like Cindi Madsen?
Let’s talk in the comments!

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Top Ten Tuesday: New-to-me authors of 2017

Happy Top Ten Tuesday!  Today’s theme, which is pretty fitting for the first Tuesday of a new year, is the top ten new-to-me authors I read in 2017. I read a lot of new authors last year, but here are the ten that came to mind first. (They are in no specific order)

1. R.S. Grey
❤︎ The Fortunate Ones: Goodreads || review
💜 Scoring Wilder: Goodreads || review
💚 The Allure of Julian Lefray: Goodreads || review
💙 The Allure of Dean Harper: Goodreads || review
💛 The Foxe & the Hound: Goodreads || review
🖤 Anything You Can Do:  Goodreads || review

2. Angie Thomas
❤︎ The Hate U Give: Goodreads || review

3. Cindi Madsen
💜 Operation Prom Date: Goodreads || review
💚 Nailed It: Goodreads || review

4. Author trio: Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton, and Jodi Meadows
💙 My Lady Jane: Goodreads || review

5. Christina Lauren
💛 Roomies: Goodreads || review

6. Maggie Ann Martin
🖤 The Big F: Goodreads || review

7. Andie J. Christopher
❤︎ Break of Day: Goodreads || review

8. Rachel Van Dyken
💜 Fraternize: Goodreads || review
💚 Infraction: Goodreads || review

9. Natalie D. Richards
💙 We All Fall Down: Goodreads || review

10. Tristina Wright
🖤 27 Hours: Goodreads || review

ARC review: Nailed It by Cindi Madsen

Goodreads ⭐ Amazon ⭐

After years of setting her own hours and living the dream bartending at an upscale bar, Ivy Clarke is looking for something more satisfying.  She watches HGTV and has an eye for design… surely she could flip a house, right?  No.  Wrong.  So very wrong.  Now, Ivy’s in way over her head and the only person who can save her is Jackson Gamble, her best friends brother and Ivy’s sworn enemy.  (Her gorgeous, infuriating enemy, who she happens to have a bit of history with.)  Can Ivy and Jackson make it through this reno together, or will they give in to their mutual attraction?

I loved Cindi Madsen’s Operation Prom Date.  Like, seriously, it was one of my favorite books of the year.  I was so excited for the opportunity to review her newest book and Nailed It did not disappoint.  The best way I can summarize this book is a second chance best friend’s brother enemies-to-lovers-to-enemies-to-lovers romance.  Phew.  That’s a pretty long description, but if you’d told me that’s what this book was about, I would have snapped it up even faster.  Just throw a bunch of my favorite tropes in a blender with a swoon-worthy hero and a sassy heroine and you’ve got this book, so that’s great.

Is Jackson pretty much perfect?  Yes.  (Can somebody please come spider-bomb my attic? Please?)

Is the best friend in question, Jackson’s sister Savannah, also pretty much perfect?  Yes.  (Can we have more books where the sister’s only concern about her best friend and her brother dating is that someone might get hurt?  That would be great.)

Is Ivy pretty much perfect?  Ehh… here’s the thing.  I totally understand why Ivy is the way she is.  Madsen does a great job of providing the necessary backstory for Ivy’s actions to make sense.  But even though I know why Ivy is so terrified of commitment and why she felt the need to act like a petulant teenager all the time, it still drove me crazy. Ivy is exhausting.  Imagine dealing with her on a daily basis.  Jackson must be a saint.

But, honestly?  Ivy’s issues are my only criticism.  Aside from that, I loved this book.  I loved the renovations and the decorating and Savannah’s twelve steps and the cats.  I had hoped that Savannah already had her own book, and she does!  Excuse me while I add 12 Steps to Mr. Right to my ever-expanding TBR.

I’ll leave you with this:

I hope the house doesn’t end up going to some pretentious couple like a few of the ones on House Hunters, where the husband’s a freelance hamster trainer and the wife sells dreams and rainbows and they somehow make $1.3 million.“

I received a free ARC of Nailed It from the publisher (via Netgalley) in exchange for my honest review.

Final rating: ★★★★☆

ARC review: Operation Prom Date by Cindi Madsen

Goodreads   Amazon

Kate has had a crush on her school’s star football player, Mick, for years. Her big goal for her senior year is to go to prom with him. The problem? Kate has never so much as had a conversation with Mick because she turns into a pile of goo whenever he comes too close. After she decides that she’s really going to make this happen, she enlists the help of her former friend, Cooper, thinking that a male perspective could never hurt. All Cooper asks for in return is her help as a temporary rowing partner while his normal partner recovers from a broken wrist. But the more time that Kate and Cooper spend together, the more confusing things get. What if Kate’s been after the wrong guy this whole time?

I absolutely loved this book. It was so cute and fluffy and I loved both Kate and Cooper. Kate and her fandoms and ships reminded me a lot of myself in high school (only I was a lot less athletic). I loved that even though Cooper was so focused on his goals, he still had time to help Kate with whatever she needed. To be honest, I started shipping them at their first conversation. (Mick who?)

Mick was, like many boys that impressionable teenage girls crush on, a total jerk. Now, in my mid-twenties, I have no idea what Kate saw in him. I can’t really blame Kate for her infatuation, though, because I certainly crushed on more than one of his type during my high school years. Of course, the right guy for Kate was blindingly obvious to me. It just takes Kate a little longer to catch on.

I can’t remember the last time I read a young adult novel with quite this much chemistry. These two are friends, mind you, but their connection and the sexual tension between them was practically jumping off the page, smacking me in the face, and screaming “NOTICE ME!” while flashing a neon sign. It’s rare that even a new adult or adult romance will have characters that are this well-suited to each other, so just give all the awards to Cindi Madsen right now, because she deserves them.

Honestly, the only issue I had with the book is that there were too many miscommunications and misinterpretations and unnecessary arguments between Kate and Cooper. I’m not really an angst-lover, so I have that complaint with a lot of books I read. The thing is, though, that it’s super realistic for a book set in high school, so I still have to give this book 4.5 stars.

Excuse me while I go read everything that this author has ever written.

Final rating: ★★★★★

Thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for the ARC!