Monday, January 26, 2009

Aspen Falls Review

The Time of Aspen Falls by Marcia Lynn McClure

The Time of Aspen Falls is a plotless love story set in modern day Albuquerque, New Mexico. It revolves around Aspen Falls, a twenty something book store clerk and her ultimate dream guy, Rake Locker, who happens to be the very essence of what a real man should be. If the storyline redeemed the choice of names, I would have forgiven MLM, but there simply is no story.

Aspen and her best friend Gina are supposed to be twenty-something-year olds who seem to have their own apartments and jobs, but still spend time sitting in a tree that they have played in since they were little girls. They are ridiculously silly and their dialogue is reminiscent of speaking to my 91-year old grandmother. They enjoy watching Leave it to Beaver, who as a 23-year old, I have never watched a full episode and doubt very much that my peers would enjoy such a show. This horrible habit of Marcia Lynn McClure's, that is mentioning song titles and TV shows, is perhaps a personal preference, but I like my stories to be timeless. And when such specific mention of Actresses, current fads, etc. are mentioned, it bugs me. Not to mention that Aspen and Gina were drooling over an 80-year old man (who turns out to be Rake's grandfather) and Sean Connery. The current 20-something-year old, especially the younger versions, probably do not even know who Sean Connery is! Other mentions of iPods, Angelina Jolie, and Stephenie Meyer's Twilight books were not only unnecessary, but oftentimes ridiculous.

If I had been able to read the Author's Note before purchasing the book, it might have changed my mind as to whether or not I paid for it. Marcia admits that there is much of herself put into the story. I don't have a problem with that, except Marcia isn't 20-something, and it shows through her characters that she doesn't seem to know how a real 20-something-year old actually speaks and what their interests are. Her use of the word "cool" was just silly at times, and trust me, there was a lot worse. The obsession with the Balloon Fair was over done, the mention that Rake wears white underwear made me throw up a little in my mouth, and Gina's fetish with UPS guys was completely unfathomable and uncomfortable.

MLM's hero and heroine is patented. They are basically all the same in all of her books. There is a reason I have read all of her books - it works. However, in The Time of Aspen Falls, Rake was just too perfect. Except his name. Rake Locker. Rake Locker? I wanted to throw my book across the room in disgust when I read his name. And unfortunately, I came across that feeling more than once as I read. The costume party where he dresses up as "Rochester Darcy - the vampire" made me want to scream at somebody. The fact that he was a Victorian Cowboy (professional rodeo champion, by the way), that wore Nike (again with the modern-day mention of a brand) basketball shoes while running, was the perfect physique and still had perfect manners, morals, and standards, was too too much. Not to mention is was a Master Clockmaker, and a pretty successful one at that. Of course he was. His family was perfect. He was perfect. He disgusted me.

Their relationship was something incredibly perfect as well. Apparently they were mutually attracted to each other for weeks - from the moment they laid eyes on each other, they knew that they were going to fall in love. It took a crazy phobia attack to get them to finally meet, but then after that, it all moved so quickly. They were immediately in love, even though they didn't really know each other. Throughout the story there is mention of past heartbreak, a name attached to it even, but no real explanation for any of it. Gina's story is even more ridiculous - it leads to a make-out session on the day she MEETS her dream guy.

Over all, I wasted a few hours of my weekend reading this book. Worse, I wasted money I didn't have buying this book. I knew that The Time of Aspen Falls was going to be cheesy and typical. But I enjoy MLM's Westerns and Regency books (at least they leave Donny Osmond, UPS, and Edward out of it)and have liked a FEW of her modern ones; though, they tend to get increasingly worse. If she would leave out her personal convictions and work on developing the characters, while allowing for a little flaw in her hero and a little more confidence in her heroine, she would do a lot better.


  1. Wow! I mean, it must have been really bad for you to give it this bad of a review. If it is cheesier and has less of a story line than her other books... I just don't know if that is possible but I don't want to have anything to do with it.

  2. Wow, that was a seriously harsh review. I was really surprised to hear that you like her other books after what you said about this one and her in general. I'm not sure what to think about what you wrote--I read it and enjoyed it. I guess everyone has her opinion, but it seems like you went to a lot of work to slam this book. (I LOVED your to be unmarried post, though....hilarious!)

  3. Shelli...this is Marcia. I just posted a response to your blog/review as a comment and it never showed up. It may be floating in space. However, being that I do not have the emotional stamina left today to further volley the feelings your hurtful comments have thrown at me...nor the e-mails I'm receiving regarding it (incredibly supportive though they may be), please contact me via a personal Facebook message or e-mail at I would appreciate the opportunity to defend the heart and life-experience of an author (and her friends) concerning your strange vendetta against this particular book. In this hurtful blog...I think I may have an even greater understanding of Stephenie Meyer's pain in betrayal through a friend. With Utmost Sincerity, Marcia Lynn McClure

  4. p.s. just to clarify, when I said "I read it and enjoyed it", I was referring to the book, not this post. I just realized that it sounded like I said I enjoyed your review.

  5. I think you missed the point of the book. I believe what makes Marcia Lynn McClure unique and popular is that we can count on her personal convictions. Heaven forbid she toss them out the window! We count on her humorous take on life. We know she's going to whisk us away from reality. And who doesn't need that? Just take a look at the nightly news.

    Maybe you should focus on reading more serious books like bibliotherapy that delves into emotional traumas and challenges of modern life. But that isn't why Marcia Lynn McClure fans read her books.

    No author can please everyone. It's impossible. And we shouldn't expect them to. It's too much to ask. Trying to please everyone will be the death of you (and one's career). Aspen Falls stays true to Marcia Lynn McClure and it stays true to what the majority of her fans expect and want from her -- escape, fun, distraction all wrapped up in romance and an appreciation for timeless values (even in a modern age with modern gadgets and brands).

    I think that's the message of Aspen Falls -- that even in a world that's spinning out of control -- there are places you can go to stay grounded. That might be in a tree with a friend, or watching old episodes of Leave it to Beaver, or people-watching on a park bench. Kudos to Marcia for staying true to herself and time-tested values.

  6. Wow. you have a life? Apparently not. You have to go around saying these obnoxious statements about a very great book when I'd like to see you try to write a book. Than once you try and fail, which you obviously will seeing as how you know nothing about what works with kids and young adults these days, than I'll take your blog and review of this book seriously.
    I've read the book and so have many of my friends and never have I heard anyone say anything as for off as you. Wow. Do you even know what's popular right now? Um...yah, I'm 22 and I do believe that all the girls my age that I know know who Sean Connery is. Also... I think you are crazily out of the loop...teens and young adults like things that correspond to their current situation. Who in their right mind wants to read a book based in this day and age that has absolutely nothing to do with this time and what's popular and going on now. How would we even relate?? Seriously. Unless maybe it is some weird book with made up things. Maybe you should stick with that. I don't even know of any. Obviously in the modern day fiction genre that is not what's popular.
    As for the, there definitely is a story line. It's a romance novel, *dear*, what did you expect to read about? It is so pathetic when people read a book that is obviously a ROMANCE novel and than complain about it's storyline. What else do you expect? It's I need to define romance for you? Would that perhaps help you to realize that you do not quite understand what a good, upbeat, happy ending ROMANCE novel is about?
    As for her, they are real. I know guys like Rake and almost every girl I know is like Aspen.
    Perhaps this is why you are as yet, unmarried. Why are you even reading romance novels? You seem very cynical. It seems that you prefer wasting your time by crushing people and all the hard work they put into something. Seriously, don't waste your time reading romance novels anymore. It obviously will get you no where. You need something boring and dramatic and depressing it sounds like. Seems to fit your *lovely* personality.

  7. Way to completely trash someone's work. Reviewing is one thing, but to completely obliterate a person's book is another. Everyone is entitled to their opinion, but if I personally don't like a book, I say so and move on. The old adage of "If you can't say anything nice, don't say anything at all" fits this situation perfectly. but as I said, everyone is entitled to their opinion. I am a die-hard fan of Marcia's and will always be, not just for her work, but because she is one of the neatest and most down to earth people I have ever had the pleasure of knowing.

  8. Wow...that is amazing that one could not understand entertainment...whether or not you liked gave you something to do, using your mind as opposed to wasting it staring at a tv...maybe you should check out to the right on your blog...your entry about bliss...and then simply get over it!

  9. Good heavens! I really NEVER thought that someone could be SO rude!!! I'm 16 and I LOVE Marcia's books! I also know who Sean Connery is and I have seen A LOT of Leave it to Beaver episodes! I think they're great and absolutely hilarious! You need to get with the times!

  10. I would have to agree with 'Jewel's' comment. "If you can't say anything nice then don't say anything at all." You went too far in your critisism!! Why did you even review the book in the first place. If you didn't like it so much then you should have just put it down and moved on and read something else. As for Sean Connery, well he was pretty dishy in his day. What's wrong with THAT!?! Ya little punk!

  11. I love all the people getting on here and saying, "If you can't say anything nice, don't say anything at all", and then they go off on you and tell you that you have no life and you're a jerk. Hypocrites! I will admit that I think Sean Connery is hot in an old man way, though.


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