My rating: 5 of 5 stars
**ARC provided by author in exchange for an honest review**
This book was amazing. I had been craving a book like this for the last couple of weeks. Something that would stand out, would make me laugh, possibly make me cry, and would have me staying up all night just to finish reading it. Shine Not Burn did exactly that. I flew through the story, eager to see what happened next, and then felt a big huge wave of disappointment when I realized the story was finally over. This is definitely one of my favorite books of 2013!
Andie is a big city lawyer who has her life planned down to every last detail. That is why it is highly out of character for her to drop everything for a weekend and fly to Las Vegas with her two best friends for a bachelorette party. It is even more out of character when she gets drunk, runs into a drop dead gorgeous cowboy at the blackjack table, and then proceeds to have wild "monkey" sex with him all night long. The next day she wakes up, he's gone, her memory of their night together is mostly a blackout, so she writes it off as a one night stand and heads back to her uptight restrictive life. Fast forward two years down the road, and Andie is getting ready to marry the office douchebag who has somehow brain warped her into thinking he's the man for her. She's lost contact with her two best friends and has become a person she doesn't recognize - but Bradley fits all of the checkboxes on her life plan for the perfect husband, so come hell or high water she's going to marry him! Until she hits a little snag with the court house marriage license office. Turns out, she's popping up in the system as being married to a certain Gavin "Mack" MacKenzie with a wedding ceremony that was performed around two years ago in a Las Vegas wedding chapel. Andie then hops the first plane to Oregon to confront her inconvenient cowboy husband and get him to sign divorce papers before Bradley finds out what's going on. Oh, if it were only that easy. Little does Andie know that Mack fell in love with her in Vegas, and he thinks she purposely did not call or contact him for the last two years. His memories of their night together are a little bit clearer, and he thinks she humped and dumped him. Things are a little bit more complicated than that on both ends, but I'll let you read about that on your own!
This book was heartwarming, sexy, sad, and hilarious! There were several parts that had me laughing out loud. Elle Casey definitely has a very irreverent sense of humor that I love. One of my favorite scenes in the whole book is when Andie is learning to play blackjack. I won't spoil it all, but I want to at least give you a little taste of the comedic greatness.
The dealer was back to staring at me.And just because I can't resist, here is another laugh out loud moment from the first time that Andie and Mack have sex in her hotel room.
I stared back, now getting a little irritated at him. "What?"
"Do you want me to hit you?" he asked.
I looked at him aghast, wondering what rule I had broken so badly I needed to be physically abused over it.
"No, I don't want you to hit me. Do you want me to hit you?" I stood up, ready to defend myself. This was the worst customer service I'd ever experienced in my entire life. He was probably pissed off that I had half the aces.
My heart soared with his compliments and a sudden surge of energy burst through me. "Woo hoo!" I yelled, pushing him down on the bed and jumping on top of him. My leap was a little too enthusiastic though, because I misjudged my landing and fell to the side. I tried to catch myself on the edge of the bed but the stupid satin cover gave me nothing to grab onto. I tipped off the bed and fell onto the floor with a loud thud. I stayed there for a few seconds, waiting for the room to stop spinning.Even though this book had a lot of funny moments and sarcastic and witty dialogue, it also had its serious and heartwarming moments. Andie has an abusive past that pops up several times in the book. I didn't really think that it was necessary for her to have a past like that to make the book work - the first time she had a flashback to it, I was completely thrown out of the book going, "Wow, where did that come from?" The book seemed like it was going to be a fun, lighthearted read, and then all of a sudden it got real dark, real fast. However, I can see where Casey was going with it, and it did help explain Andie's attitude towards men and why she keeps picking the wrong guys. But, I felt like there also could have been a different explanation that was more fitting with the overall tone of the book. Anyway, I still loved the entire story - that part just didn't mesh as well for me.
I also loved how big tough cowboy Mack was not shy about telling and showing Andie exactly how he felt about her. He knew what he wanted, and he was not going to let her go. And their sex scenes are freaking uh-maz-ing. There's definitely a reason why Andie calls him King Dong! *snort*
Mack's family was a real treasure to read about too. Each of the characters were so real and developed and just jumped to life off of the page. Mama Maeve had me laughing several times, especially during one conversation she had with Ian (Mack's younger brother), after Ian had given Andie a less than friendly welcome to the ranch. I don't think I've ever laughed so hard while reading a book!
"Don't you dare, Ian MacKenzie. You might think you're a grown man, but I have absolutely no problem getting my spatula out and serving you up a heaping helping of bare butt flap jacks, you hear me?"I could go on and on about this book and how much I loved it, but I think I'll just leave it at that, and once again tell you that if you do not go right now and download this book, you are missing out! (And, I sincerely hope that there is going to be a second book about the MacKenzies and that it's about Ian and Hannah. *fingers crossed*)
A loud sigh preceded a subdued, "Yes, ma'am."
"Now do what I told you to do, and be nice to her. She's going to think all the MacKenzies are a bunch of savage retards."
"Ma!" said the man, trying to talk but laughing instead. "That's not nice at all, is it? Calling your children savage retards...Jesus."
"I call it like I see it. I'll be waiting for you inside. Now get to it."
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