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.
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Book Review- Finding Love in Big Sky, Montana

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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.

Book Review- Island Hope

IslandHope

Island Hope is completely outside of my normal reading. I virtually never read contemporary fiction, and I rarely read romance novels. A contemporary romance novel? This is a first for me.

Kimberly Rose Johnson paints a beautiful picture of Wildflower Island. It was easy to visualize this small town and the people who lived in it. I appreciated how when the newcomer to the island, Hope Michaels comes to the island, she isn’t treated as an outsider.

I have not read the previous three books in the series, but Island Hope was a pleasant book and I recognized that the parts I did not care for had more to do with my reading outside of my preferred genres than the story itself. It is a solid book, and I would recommend it to friends who enjoy contemporary romance.

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