Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Joyce Zeller - Maddie's Choice - Review and Giveaway

About the Book

Romance writer Maddie Taylor is fed up with New York City. She is getting nowhere with her latest manuscript and does not believe true love exists outside of her imagination. When a friend, Jonah Spartman, dies and wills her half of his Arkansas cattle ranch, she sees the chance for a new beginning. Jonah has also left behind two orphaned great-grandsons desperate for affection and an accounting book in the red.

The other half of the failing ranch belongs to Gideon Spartman, Jonah’s grandson, who believes all capacity for love was torn from him during his tour of duty in Afghanistan. Rugged and sexy, Gideon is the enthralling physical manifestation of the hero in Maddie’s current manuscript. He is far from happy to be sharing an inheritance that is rightfully his. As she senses the need behind Gideon’s rough and unwelcoming exterior, Maddie acknowledges her own yearning for love and family.

Jonah’s will requires Maddie to stay on the ranch for three months. When that time is up, will she return to her comfortable but emotionally barren existence or embrace the challenges of her new life, which include cattle rustlers and drug dealers? Maddie’s choice proves to be far from simple.

My Review

Maddie Taylor is one of those complicated heroines. She's dealing with a lot of serious issues - crippling depression, writer's block, lackluster sex. Even though she's a successful romance novelist, her Manhattan lifestyle doesn't equate to the passion and excitement found in her books. Her lonely reality pales in comparison. In fact, she's on the verge of believing she has no life. All of her hopes and dreams are confined to the page.

Maddie knows she's lost her way, so she uproots herself to rural Arkansas. Due to an unexpected inheritance, she becomes co-owners of a farm with an Army sniper turned cowboy. But Gideon's better than any leading man residing in her imagination. Too bad, he frustrates the heck out of her. He's a male chauvinist to the nth degree, and he doesn't want to share his financially strapped cattle ranch with anyone, let alone her. He wastes no time in insulting and demeaning her, making it clear that the only thing he's interested in is a roll in the hay and nothing more.

Maddie knows she needs to let more people into her solitary existence, but she picks a hell of a guy to take a chance on. Gideon's dealing with a severe case of post traumatic stress disorder from his time in combat, and he's stuck trying to make ends meet for his two orphaned nephews. He's not exactly ready and available for a tortured soul like Maddie, but she makes the best of what he has to offer.

It seems her attraction to Gideon is too strong to ignore. She even turns the tables and takes sexual advantage of him during a moment of weakness, making him take her on the floor of the barn 'like a bitch in heat.' She continually battles Gideon for dominance in their relationship resorting to calling him childish names from 'ungrateful worm' to 'arrogant cockroach.' At times, she acts immature when squaring off against a guy with such a massive superiority complex.

Deep down, Maddie's character is determined by her confidence level. When she's feeling sure of herself and on top of her game, she acts nobly, unafraid to follow her heart when she aims her horse at a fence and soars right over, leaving Gideon with his mouth hanging open. When she second guesses herself or is made to feel uncomfortable in her new surroundings, her decisions aren't as admirable like when she starts flirting with another man on the dance floor in front of Gideon.

Overall, Maddie's at her best when she tries to help Gideon, instead of taunting him. Her ultimate choice is whether or not she can put someone else's needs ahead of her own, while refusing to offer herself up as a doormat. It's a tricky balance, finding equality in romance, but by the end she comes pretty darn close.


Maddie's Choice can be purchased at:
Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Smashwords

Prices/Formats: $4.95 ebook, $14.95 paperback
Pages: 274
Publisher: Camel Press
Release: September 1, 2013
Click to add to your Goodreads list.

About the Author

Joyce Zeller has written articles for a magazine and a cooking column for a chain of suburban newspapers north of Chicago. She has written five books and published two, The Hidden History of Eureka Springs, and Accidental Alien, a work of science fiction, both available on Amazon. Her short story, “Love is a Seed,” is featured in Embrace: A Romance Collection, (2012 Goldmine Press). Joyce has served in the United States Army. As a professional perfumer (School of Perfumery, London, England) and an aroma-therapist, she made custom fragrances in her store. Her creation, Mountain Air, was declared the Arkansas Sesquicentennial Fragrance in 1965. Her latest achievement was getting elected as Alderman to the Eureka Springs City Council. Maddie’s Choice is a romance with her favorite theme, that being human is a lonely business, but for everyone there is somebody to love. It’s a matter of finding them. There will always be kids and animals in her books, and always, humor, “because life without humor is unthinkable.”

Links to connect with Joyce:
Web Site
Blog Tour Site

About the Giveaway

a Rafflecopter giveaway


  1. Thank you for your very thoughtful review. Many women will recognize Maddie's situation and some will be familiar with the anxiety attacks that happen when you feel life has you in a box and there'a no way out. Gideon feels the same but like a man, he chooses to fight his way out and gets bruised and battered along the way. Maddie's there to pick him up and put him together. Men--that's why we love them.