Ooh, this is a little bit exciting. I've been invited to take part in the Restore My Heart blog tour, which is intended to promote the first in a new series of romance novels by Chelsea Camaron, an indie author from the United States. According to her bio and goodreads page, Chelsea is quite the fan of old muscle cars and Harley Davidson motor cycles and her awesome knowledge of both shines in her work (in fact reading about the cars was my favourite part of the book). Anyway, Restore My Heart tells the story of Dina and Ryder. Dina is a sweet young woman whose trust was shattered by an abusive boyfriend. Ryder is the stereotypical bad boy ... but falling for Dina changes all of that. Can Dina learn to trust again and can Ryder break free of his old selfish ways?
Restore My Heart is a fun, lightweight read. The setting, which revolves mostly around old cars and a garage is quite interesting and the characters, though not perfect, are quite likeable which is always a plus for a romantic novel. There are a few things that could be improved. I felt that there were some issues with the pacing--the story had the potential to be quite suspenseful, but the author resolved some plot twists just that bit too easily--one example is where Dina discovers that Ryder has left town with Valerie. I would have liked to have seen some serious begging or at least a detailed explanation and some sucking up on the part of Ryder here. Sure, his shitty behaviour contributed to Valerie's problems and his attempts to help are commendable, but didn't he ever stop to consider the impact this may have on his current girlfriend who has serious trust issues?
There are several scenes that the author could have got a lot more milage out of--for example when Ryder stays over at Dina's house for the first time. We could have had quite an amusing little set-up here, for example if Dina had of woken in the morning and discovered Ryder there, or if we had seen a scene from his perspective were he snuck around, trying not to be discovered. It seemed to me that the author knew the elements that make a good romance, but could not always fit the pieces together to create a suspenseful plot or resolve issues realistically. On the whole, the manuscript could do with a bit of an edit and polish--this isn't to say that it is a bad book, just that it could have been better. The story itself doesn't really end, but leads into the next volume in the series, Salvaged which will focus on two minor characters from this novel, Brandon and Maggie.
As I said, this is a fun, lightweight read. It some ways, it felt like a grown up version of Sweet Valley High--and I mean that in a good way, with the budding romances and cliffhanger ending.