Review of The Christmas Challenge


The Christmas Challenge by Sinclair Jayne

Tule Publishing

November 15, 2016

Blurb from Amazon: “Prodigal daughter, infamous flirt and fiery-haired champion barrel racer Tucker McTavish blazes back home to Marietta with both a secret, and a personal challenge. She will keep a low profile at her twin sister’s Christmas wedding. Which means no whiskey. No kissing. No scandals. No fun. What she needs is a miracle, so it’s too bad when she visits the legendary Miracle Lake to plead for inner strength: a tall, dark, and handsome bad boy is waiting with a challenge of his own.

Extreme sports guide Laird Hunter doesn’t do boring. And he thought he didn’t have secrets. He thrives in carving his own trail through tight and dangerous spots, but when he finds out his entire life has been built on a lie, he heads to Marietta for answers. But when he meets the redhead with the killer smile, laughing eyes and body with more curves than a mountain road, he finds himself asking a whole new set of questions.

Will these two daredevils – with more than a few secrets between them – find the one person from whom they don’t need to hide ?”

I am going to do something that I may not have done before: I am offering a huge qualification on this review because I feel conflicted.

Let me get this tidbit out of the way: I didn’t like Tucker McTavish. I don’t care that she’s over-sexed. I don’t care that she’s mouthy. I don’t care that she wants to do the right things for the wrong reasons. What I did care about was the fact that she took herself so seriously, that she was superficial, and that she wanted to lick sweat off of a yoga mat when the guy whose sweat it was, was in the shower. I may never get that particular image out of my poor decaying mind, especially since I was eating lunch at the time.

In the romance genre, the reader really needs to like both characters. Lately I’ve read at least four books in which the “heroine” is unlikable. Is this becoming a trend?

In the past couple of days I have given Tucker a lot of thought to see if she would grow on me. She didn’t. She needed a sense of humor, especially about herself, because she just took everything, most things of her own making, way too seriously.

Laird, on the other hand, is practically ideal. He is introspective, active, good-looking, bearded (haha!), and has a quiet charm.

So, back to my qualification: why? Why am I qualifying this review? Because I wonder if my perception would have been altered if I had read the other books in the series. Maybe that’s a copout because if a book says it’s a standalone, it should. Maybe I shouldn’t believe that seeing Tucker through the prism of the other novels would alter my perception of her. And, maybe it helps just to write this down in this rambling fashion and realize that it probably wouldn’t have helped.

Tucker bad. Laird good (actually perfect).

The Christmas Challenge was well-written and I could easily read the other novels in the series since Tucker would not be the “heroine.”

I received an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

rating: butterflybutterflybutterfly (3 out of 5 butterflies)


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