mountain brook ink

Book Review: Finding Love at the Oregon Coast

This, was a fun collection of stories. When I first heard this was a collection of novellas and not just  one story? To be perfectly honest I was kinda disappointed, I’m not a big fan novellas. But each story connects in such a way that it feels more like a new self contained chapter in the book.

Christina decides on her wedding day that she is making a mistake and standing there with makeup done and her wedding dress on cancels the wedding. She is supported by her three friends and bridesmaids and each following novella tells what happens next to each of the bridesmaids and concludes with Christina’s story.

First we meet Liz. Liz is a reporter who has lost her spark, and is feeling stuck at her magazine. Her life gets much interesting if she likes it or not when her old friend (and one of the groomsmen) comes to work with her. Next is Anabeth who takes this time to visit her mom and literally runs into a new friend…and meets his son. And last, Kadence, whose life is just crazy right now and looking for inspiration to write her next song. And finally coming back to Christina, who is starting over and seeing what her life will look like now.

I really enjoyed how each of these ladies had very different lives, in different parts of the country, and they were living their lives and careers and not just waiting for someone to come change their lives. They build each other up and are there for each other and we cannot have enough stories like that.

Note: I received this book as an advance pre-reader copy.

Book Review: The Genesis Tree

The final book in the The Tethered World series and I’m still torn over whether this is the best one. At the very least it’s a toss up between this book and the first book.
The Genesis Tree starts out with the threat of the Tethered World being exposed to the world up top. Very quickly things get complicated and our main heroes, Sadie and Brady get separated to go their own paths to help protect their friends and family.
The feel of this final book is very different from the first two. This story hones in all the growth and how far the characters have come so far and then throws a couple unimaginable variables at them. As I was reading the book I kept thinking to myself that I had no clue how the author was going to tie all this up. For the record, none of the versions in my head ended up being correct, but I did guess one of the plot twists. It’s been a while since I have be so much “along for the ride” and didn’t know where it would end up.
While this story clearly showed an ending to a specific chapter in the characters lives, the ending also felt like it could be the launching point to further stories. The Tethered World is too vast to be contained in just three books.
Note: I received this book as an advance pre-reader copy.

Book Review: Finding Love in Park City, Utah

park-city

CJ Lancaster is having a “Monday” of a day trying to get an interview she needs for her job at a tabloid. And it wasn’t even her job to start with. Running to catch a flight, it’s cold, and she misses her time slot for her interview. It just seems to be another chapter in a series of difficult times.

Sam Lake is acting as bodyguard for his actress sister in law when a reporter tries to flirt her way past him to get an interview. Her charm skills are not the greatest, but he promises to look up her work and get back to her.

This is my second favorite book in Angela Ruth Strong’s “Finding Love” series. There is nothing flat about CJ and Sam. Normally I would be like “umm really?” when characters fall for each other that fast, but it felt natural here. Both have their challenges, CJ is recovering from a recent divorce and Sam is a veteran working through PTSD. What I love about Strong’s writing is she tackles hard subjects, and while characters do get their “happily ever after” there is never a glossing over of the issues.

I dragged my feet finishing this book not wanting it to end, I look forward to future books by this author.

Note: I received this book as an advance pre-reader copy.

Book Review- The Paradise Protocol

61oqv08wbl

Aric Lindquist believes she’s alone on an alien planet. A beautiful paradise that keeps on her toes as she tries to survive. Originally arriving as a bio-scientist to study that world, her assistant has disappeared and it appears the organization that had sent her has also abandoned her. Until she is no longer alone.

Sean Reese was sent to Empusa III as Aric’s new assistant. Or so that is the story he is telling her. There is very little he is telling her that is the truth, and as he spends more time with her, the more he finds out that what he had been told about her isn’t the truth either.

The Paradise Protocol is a unique little book. It is a romance novel, no question there, but it is also a science fiction novel, and I just haven’t read that combination too often. Anna Zogg builds a unique world and it feels alien. I am always impressed when and author can carry a whole book with (for the most part) only two characters. Other characters are referenced, and we get small glimpses into their lives, but for the most part it is just Aric and Sean.

I would have liked to see more about Empusa III and the creatures that live there, but the story sets a good foundation to go back and learn more about this world.

Note: I received this book as an advance pre-reader copy.

Book Review- The Flaming Sword

img_3632

I will be completely upfront, I did not care for this book as much as the first. It felt like for the first 3/4ths of the book there had been zero growth from the characters, with the exception of Brady. I really enjoyed seeing him step up and the tension between him just about being his own man and still growing up was really well done.

YA and children’s literature are my current favorite genres, but The Flaming Sword was the first time I really had trouble getting through a YA book because I felt like I was too old for it. Maybe this is a sign that it really has been a long time since I’ve been 16…

I will say Heather L.L. FitzGerald’s gargoyles should be the standard for gargoyles in fiction, because those things were the most most vivid portrayal I have ever seen/read of the mythical beasts.

I appreciated the ending, it was a very good set up for the third book while still being fulfilling.

Note: I received this book as an advance pre-reader copy.

Book Review- The Broken Trail

broken-trail

The Broken Trail Review

I thoroughly enjoyed this book. Christa MacDonald pulls you into her story in the first couple pages and I found myself putting off other responsibilities to read a few more pages.

Katherine Grant is very good at her job, but she needs a break. She takes an assignment at a small town school hoping for a change of pace. Instead she finds constant tension with the school director who may or may not be sabotaging her.

Mac is a stubborn control freak who is drawn to Katherine from the first time he sees her. Even though he frequently gets burned by her temper.

I really appreciated that Katherine and Mac were no longer in their 20s. This is no coming of age/first romance/young adult romance novel. These are two single adults in their 30s/40s who have lived life and now are drawn to each other. I found this incredibly refreshing. The author also does an excellent job of portraying a small town. So often in fiction small towns are either idyllic or the scene of a horror story. There seems to be no middle ground. Christa MacDonald paints Sweet River as a beautiful remote small town, with kind people, but she doesn’t paint over the problems that seem to come especially with those smaller towns. She also does an excellent job of showing the strengths and weaknesses that can come with a private school.

The book starts incredibly strong, and Christa MacDonald’s strength as a storyteller and author is clearly visible from the very beginning, but I felt it didn’t end as strong. It has a fulfilling ending, and I’m thinking it comes back to what I often say, this isn’t my normal genre so I’m chalking it up to I’m just not as used to romance novels.

Note: I received this book as an advance pre-reader copy.

Book Review- Finding Love in Big Sky, Montana

FindingLove

Paisley Sheridan inherited her grandfather’s ranch and she plans on making it a camp for kids. Having just come from a broken engagement, she is preparing for a life ahead as a single woman and putting 100% into making Bright Star Ranch a success. Joshua Lake is driving from Chicago with hardly a penny to his name after being accused of selling company secrets. He stops for coffee in the little Montana town of Big Sky and runs into Paisley…who he knew from highschool.

I feel like I start every single one of these romance novel reviews with “this is not what I’d normally read”. But it’s true. I don’t casually pick up inspirational romance fiction, and I really don’t care for horses or western themed novels. I like the water, I have zero interest in the cowboy life. I loved this book.

Paisley starts with putting up with Josh because he has no money to stay at a hotel and she needs the help with marketing. They strike up a deal, in exchange for help with branding and marketing he can stay at the ranch free of charge. She starts of with praying that he gets his job back quick so he can leave, and starts to enjoy his company more and more. But her entire perspective is, “this is nice, this won’t last.” And what is so artfully done is she honestly believes that their relationship is impossible. This is not self-pity, this is conviction.

Angela Ruth Strong does a stunning job with portraying how you are enough. A persons value is intrinsic, it isn’t dependent on how much money you have or how good your health is. Each time I felt like the book was drawing to a close, she unpacked more truths of love and value. I also really appreciated how she made clear that if Paisley chooses to stay single, she could still do well and achieve her goals.

My only real complaint is one of the catalysts for Josh’s actions, which I won’t share because it would be a spoiler, I found hard to swallow. Maybe it’s because I’m not a guy, but I cannot picture any guy going through that much effort with so little to go on. It took me out of the story because I was going “really, yeah right”.

I would recommend this book to anyone, even those like me, who normally don’t read this genre.

Note: I received this book as an advance pre-reader copy.