Review: Montana Rebel

cover-montana rebelTitle: Montana Rebel
Author: Debra Salonen
Series: Big Sky Mavericks #9
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Length: Short Novel
Available: Now

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Don’t look down and don’t give up.

Justin Oberman‘s credo for living his adventurous–some might say death-defying–life to the max served him well until the unfortunate outcome of a climb made him walk away from the sport he loved. A lucrative new job offer could pave the way to a more traditional life in Marietta, Montana, where his two best friends have fallen in love with the women of their dreams. But settling down always seemed more daunting than Everest and not worth considering until a mysterious lady in red walks into his life on New Year’s Eve. Suddenly, that happily-ever-after stuff Flynn and Tucker have been raving about looks within reach.

The first fall is always the hardest.

Nikki Magnesson Richards has loved Justin Oberman most of her life. First, from the safety of her brothers’ old tree house. Later, with unrequited teen-age angst. Her poorly thought out attempt to get him to notice her cost them both dearly. Now, a dozen years later, her fairy godfather boss has orchestrated the most romantic meeting possible–the Big Sky Mavericks Masked Ball for Charity. A kiss at midnight with her very own Prince Charming isn’t too much to ask, is it? But what are two star-crossed lovers supposed to do when one kiss isn’t enough?


Source: Review copy from Tule Publishing via NetGalley

It took me a while to get into this book. I’m a big fan of this series and have been eagerly awaiting Justin’s story, but I found it difficult to settle in to the masked ball storyline. The thing is, Nikki knows who Justin is, but he has no idea about the real identity of the woman behind the mask. This might have been a cute way into a romance, except the past between him and Nikki is serious and sad and I hated that he didn’t know who she was. Every step the pair of them grew closer over the night made me a little less in love with the story. I didn’t know how Justin was going to react when he found out, and I just wanted Nikki to talk to him before things went too far.

The thing is, both Justin and Nikki are really nice characters. Justin is a bit of a daredevil, but he’s not cocky or arrogant. He just goes where the wind takes him, thanks to the early deaths of both of his parents and his fear about being tied down. Nikki has faced some pretty tough things in her life, but somehow she’s come out of it a sweet, kind, generous person with a good brain and a knack for getting things done. I liked them both and I loved them together, but it took me a while to get to that point thanks to the hidden identity beginning.

This book also has a few big time jumps. The ball lasts for a good few chapters, then things move pretty fast between Nikki and Justin, then a pause, then a time jump and a few chapters of not a lot really going on, then some romantic angst, then another time jump to get to the end. For me, personally, it was never quite a comfortable read. The romance happens swiftly, then staggers about in odd fits and starts, and just when I thought I was settling into the tale, another time leap would happen.

Don’t get me wrong, overall it is enjoyable and I think I would like it a whole lot more on a reread, but for me it wasn’t as good as the rest of the series. The characters are great – if a little forgiving at times – but most of the plot drama either happened behind the scenes somewhere or centred around the health and wellbeing of “fairy godfather” J. Angus. So this one was just an okay read from a great series. The second-chance, dreams-come-true aspect was sweet, but I would have liked it to have been longer so that the time gaps didn’t feel so glaring.


Montana Rebel is Out Now!
Visit Debra Salonen for more details.

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