Abandoned at the altar, Kelly Grace Pickens finds herself left holding not only the bouquet but also the exorbitant bill for an A-list wedding. Homeless, a once promising singing career floundering, and her life bearing an uncanny resemblance to one of her country music ballads, she reluctantly accepts a last minute offer to appear on a reality TV show akin to the bachelor. Pitted against silicon-enhanced supermodels in four-inch heals, Kelly feels confident that she will be among the first would-be fiancés to be excused. Only, when the mysterious bachelor from New York City, Dillon Black, invites her to stay, Kelly finds herself thrust into the vortex of a game she doesn’t have the first idea how to play. Nursing her hopelessly broken heart while avoiding the foils of her fellow contestants, Kelly is oblivious to Dillon’s affections as she wades through hurt and betrayal to discover, in the end, that she has landed firmly on both feet.
Leaving behind Nashville’s Music Row for the majestic Grand Teton mountains, Count Down To Love takes readers on a journey from duplicity to sincerity as Kelly discovers that being true to oneself is the first step in finding happiness and everlasting love.
Count Down to Love by Julie N. Ford
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
In order to understand my response to this book, you would have to understand my relationship with country music and reality shows. And romance novels.
I hated country music as I was growing up, but in recent years, country music has easily become my favorite genre--or almost favorite. Once I read the synopsis of this book, I knew I would love it because it was about a country music singer. The author's knowledge and integration of country music into the story really intrigued me. All I could think about as the story enfolded was how CMT or GAC should make this into a made-for-TV film!
Reality shows are not a really big deal with me. I used to enjoy American Idol. I like America's Got Talent, and So You Think You Can Dance is great. Other than that, you can really count me out. I never had any desire to watch the Bachelorette or the Bachelor or any of that other "rubbish." Who in their right mind would go on a television show looking for real love? Well, Dillon and Kelly Grace felt the same way. One thing I will say is that I had never realized all the scripting and "acting" that went into reality shows like this. I just never thought about it.
Romance novels are actually a relatively new interest of mine. I honestly have not read that many. As I was reading this, I considered given it a rating of a four. As romance novels go, the characters were fantastic. Dillon was an absolute dream, and I mean it. And Kelly was so sweet and innocent. I understand about discovering who you are and not just acting how you think people want you to act. What I appreciated about this romance novel was the Christian influence (imagine the heroine was a virgin!) and the absence of prolific sex! In fact, the love scenes were some of the most fantastic and genuine I had ever read.
Why did I give it a 5-star rating? It wasn't until the book took a very dramatic turn more than halfway through. This is the first book in years that I stayed up way past my bedtime to finish. And this author knew just how to keep me guessing about what would happen next--even to the end of the novel. My only complaint is that it didn't really end. I so hope that she will be writing a sequel some time soon. I can assure you I would read it in a heartbeat.
So don't walk to the nearest bookstore--run! Or better still, download it to your e-reader. If you like romances even just a little bit, you will love this story!
I received a free copy from Net Galley in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are 100 percent mine, and I received no financial compensation whatsoever.
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I have been so excited about doing this blog tour, so I am going to do what I normally do not do when reviewing a book or participating in a blog tour. I just have to add some additional thoughts. As I have said many times before, I am still kind of new to this whole romantic novel genre. And when it comes to contemporary romances, I generally don't like them all that well. And when you add in the fact that this is a debut novel, there would appear to be a lot of reasons why I would not like this book. But as you read in my review, I loved this book with a passion in spite of many things that could have been against it.
In the days following my completion of this read, I could not stop thinking about this book. I would be driving down the road, and I found myself casting country stars to play the characters in this book. I found myself reliving many of the romantic scenes between Kelly and Dillon--I honestly don't usually do that, but the romantic scenes were so sweet and sometimes funny. All I can say is: Please, Julie Ford, don't make us wait too long for another installment!