Title: Running On Empty
Author: Meg Benjamin
Series: Salt Box #3
Genre: Contemporary Romance
She’s running her heart out to stay in the same place.
Ronnie Ventura has every reason to distrust Fairstein Productions: she’s had run-ins with their shows before. But Fairstein’s newest reality show offers Ronnie a chance to redeem herself from looking like a blonde bimbo. All she has to do is win a modified triathlon. Simple, right? Except this is Fairstein, and nothing is ever simple with them.
Ronnie’s boss at the Blarney Stone bar and café, owner Ted Saltzman, is a lot less convinced that another Fairstein show is just what Ronnie needs, particularly when he’s head over heels about Ronnie himself. But she’s determined, and he’s a man in love.
Ted becomes her running coach, which fans their budding romance to a fever. But can Ronnie’s newfound confidence stand up to the usual Fairstein plots? And can Ted find a way to keep his true love in Salt Box if Hollywood tries to steal her away again?
Source: ARC via NetGalley
I’ve been waiting for Ronnie’s story all through this series and it definitely lived up to my expectations. Ronnie is still sweet and smiley, but she’s come a long way since those naive (and slightly annoying) days of Finding Mr. Right Now. She’s grown up, wised up and found a back bone across the series and I loved seeing her finally come into her own. I would have liked to have seen some of her volunteer work – or just any part of her life that wasn’t either the Blarney Stone or the show – but it was still nice to know there was more to her, even if we didn’t see it.
It was also fun to see Fairstein return to the town and wreak havoc once more. I love reality tv romance books and this series has made excellent use of the less-than-fair ways these sorts of shows can be produced, and all the characters they prefer to cast. It was also great to see characters from earlier books return and play their part. However, if you’re new to this series, I think it stands alone well enough for you to be able to enjoy it without reading the other books first.
I’m a little more torn when it comes to Ted. While I enjoyed his early relationship with Ronnie and how things develop between them, I rapidly lost patience with his pouting and stubborn refusal to be the least bit supportive because of something Ronnie didn’t even know about. He’s actually a real jerk about certain stuff and I was pretty disappointed in him at times.
But thankfully, although Ted is the romantic hero of this book, this book really belongs to Ronnie. I loved how she grew stronger throughout, learning how to stand her ground and stick up for herself, out to prove herself a winner against some mean odds.
All in all, this was a cute, thoroughly enjoyable end to this series. There’s a bit of romance, plenty of behind-the-scenes TV machinations, some sports training, plenty of friendship and a fair dose of girl-power Ronnie-style. The whole thing was great fun and, although I’m a little sad to be saying goodbye to Salt Box, I know I’ll be looking out for more from this author in future.
Running on Empty is Out Now.
Visit Meg Benjamin for more details.