romance

Book Review: Dreaming on Daisies

The fourth book in Miralee Ferrell’s Love Blossoms in Oregon series and the story swings back to a character touched on in the first book. Leah Carlson basically runs her family ranch while her father’s drinking spirals out of control. She desperately needs help and goes to the bank to ask for a loan, which is declined.

Steven Harding finds himself in a situation where he needs a place to stay. And he also would like to help Leah with her situation, so he presents an idea. Let him live in the ranch bunkhouse and he will help around the ranch. Everyone wins. While Leah is certain he won’t be cut out for the work, she is convicted to come let him try, and he is her friend’s brother after all.

I enjoyed that this book fleshed out a few of the sides characters from the previous stories and again presented a character who you would think would be the irredeemable one. But the greatest strength to this series is no one is irredeemable. This wasn’t my favorite book in the series, but I still enjoyed it. Both Leah and Steven learn how crucial forgiveness is, and how you can’t really move forward in your life until you no longer hold tight to that hurt.

Note: I received this book as a reviewer. 

Book Review: Wishing on Buttercups

Beth Roberts has secrets. Secrets that have defined her life and the parameters she is living by. She couldn’t dream that someone could see past her forgotten past.

Jeffrey Tucker is an aspiring writer who is just getting his feet under him when he realizes the inspiration living alongside him in the boardinghouse he calls home. And when he tries to get to know her better, wonders what he is doing wrong to get her to keep putting her walls up.

In this second book in Miralee Ferrell’s Love Blossoms in Oregon series, I figured out what I liked so much about this series. Each of our heroines aren’t just biding their time to be swept off their feet. They’re busy. They have businesses to run, careers to grow. And when they meet someone special? That person encourages them in their goals and builds them up. They don’t cast aside their personal goals and dreams just because they now have a significant other.

There is a secondary character in this book who completely out of the blue gets her happily ever after and I haven’t been that pleasantly surprised in a story in a while. I loved that little plot twist. I enjoyed this book and as of writing this have already started the last book.

Note: I received this book as a reviewer. 

Book Review: Blowing on Dandelions

Katherine Galloway is a widow in the 1880s who had her hands full running a boarding house and raising two girls before her mother moved in. Her mother, Frances Cooper, is a controlling, domineering woman who has zero respect for how her youngest daughter runs her business, or her family. Enter Micah Jacobs, a widower himself, and his son who move into the boarding house after their home and business burn down and tensions are near a boiling point.

Reading this book was dipping back into adventures into genres I don’t normally read. Blowing on Dandelions  is a historical romance novel, and a fine one at that. But it wasn’t the romance between Katherine and Micah that grabbed me, it was how Miralee Ferrell doesn’t take the easy way out. It would have been so easy to have Frances as only a source of tension and not seen as a person. But instead we get to see things from her perspective. Each of us are the hero in our own story, and this bitter old gradmother is no different. She honestly, truly, believes she is doing no wrong to those around her and watching her reason how she responds to the world made me want to read just one more page.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book and will be reading more in this series.

Note: I received this book as a reviewer. 

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 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.