Saturday, February 14, 2015

"The Rancher's City Girl" by Patricia Johns

About the Book 

Healing the Cowboy's Heart

When Cory Stone discovers the father he never met is gravely ill, he brings the ornery man to his Montana ranch, along with his round-the-clock nurse. Once again Cory finds himself falling for the wrong woman—a city slicker, like the ex-fiancĂ©e who broke his heart. But in Eloise LeBlanc, Cory also finds a kindred spirit. The caring beauty knows firsthand about love and loss. Neither of them is looking for a new romance, and Cory certainly isn't searching for love. But can the independent city girl heal the heart of a broken cowboy?

This book was released in January, 2015
This is a well loved library book that was used for review

My Review

“The Rancher's City Girl” by Patricia Johns is a wonderful story of healing. Healing from different areas of life, like being left behind, being lied to, and our own fears. These facets of the story were told in such a way that one could almost feel as if it had happened to them, if they didn't already live part of the story themselves.

Pain and heartache is part of life there is no denying that, and these characters are no different. I have to say that it was so nice to see the different characters experiencing what they were without things being overly exaggerated. Sometimes these kind of issues can be made too understated or overstated to help make a point in the story while pushing the limit on when it is too much or not enough, but here there was a nice balance of emotions.  With that balance it made it so easy to put for this reader to put herself in the characters shoes.

There are three main characters in this story, while we only see the point of view from our hero, Cory Stone and our heroine, Eloise LeBlanc which seems to cover the third character quite nicely. The third character I have to say is quite complicated, with more layers than an onion it seems like. At first I wanted to dislike the third character for there didn't seem a whole lot to be liked about them, but as the layers came off, this character began to change in my eyes. By the end of the book I was just sad for this character, plain and simple.

Cory is a man who knows what he wants out of life, and when life throws him a major loop he works with it, instead of fighting it. Here is a man who is hard working, has some issues to deal with, continues to work while finding time to deal with the issues that have come up without bitter feelings taking over. This is a man who is sure of himself while at the same time completely unsure of himself, which though might seem contradictory it happens with this young man.

Eloise is a woman who has decided to follow God into a job that most might seem as depressing, but she has this incredible heart and does her job wonderfully even if she does step over the bounds at times. Eloise has her own issues and looking for answers while she goes about things without bitterness that could so easily over take her. She seems to have this ability as to when to step in and then when to step back and let things happen on their own.  She is searching for answers when she has time and at times she isn't all that sure of the answers she is getting.

So many times in the story I thought bitterness might overwhelm one of the characters but thankfully it never does. I think if it had overtaken one of the characters it would have distracted something from the story, for this is a story of hope. Hope for understanding. Hope for a future that is better than the past. Hope for forgiveness. Things are not easy by any means for there are some pretty big issues that need to be ironed out, and it was through discovery that things finally fell into place.

Things don't go smoothly at all for anyone but in the end it all works out wonderfully. I hope all who read this book enjoys it as much as I did. I look forward to reading more by Ms. Johns for she is a wonderful author who knows how to keep a reader interested in a story with characters who are down to earth.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

"Huckleberry Spring" by Jennifer Beckstrand

About the Book 

Nothing gives Anna and Felty Helmuth greater satisfaction than seeing their grandchildren happily married--except for planning their next matchmaking venture. And as springtime comes to Huckleberry Hill, Wisconsin, the air is filled with promise. . .

Ever since the Helmuths' grandson, Ben, abruptly broke his engagement and moved to Florida, Emma Nelson has kept busy tending her vegetable garden and raising award-winning pumpkins. She can put her heartache aside to help Ben's Mammi with her own pumpkin patch. At least until Ben shows up to lend support to his ailing Dawdi. . .

Gardening side by side with pretty, nurturing Emma is a sweet kind of torture for Ben. She could have her pick of suitors who can offer what he can't, and he cares too much to burden her with his secret. Leaving once more is the only option. Yet Emma's courage is daring him to accept the grace that flourishes here, and the love that has been calling him back to Huckleberry Hill. . .

This book was released in January 2015
This is a well loved library book that was used for review

My Review

“Huckleberry Spring” by Jennifer Beckstrand is another wonderful book in her 'The Matchmakers of Huckleberry Hill' series with the lovable Anna and Felty. Besides the antics of Anna and Felty going on, this is a story that I have to say affected me on a very personal level. Though this book is part of a series, it is a perfect stand alone book that stands exceptionally well on its own. The only real connection to this book and the rest of the books in the series is Anna and Felty.

I have linked this part of my review to another page so that I don't actually ruin anyone's enjoyment of the book. However this is part of the book that affected me the most for deeply personal reasons that I feel that I must talk about it and what I have to say could possibly ruin the enjoyment of the story, though I do get into details I try to not to go into too many details. So this is where you can make your choice to read more by clicking on the Spoiler Alert link or continue below.

So now that all of that is out of my system, I can go on with the rest of my review.

I have to say that from the very beginning this story pulled me into it. I must say that Anna and Felty are two of my utmost favorite characters out of all the different books I have read over the years. I so hope I am like Anna when I grow up for she is just priceless. I love her outlook on her life for nothing seems to get her down, and she doesn't stop to wonder why she isn't ask things. Her love for her family is shown in her own ways and her family knows that these ways are her ways of loving them, so they love her all the more and go along with her.

Emma is a woman who is sweet and so sensitive to those around her. She is willing to do whatever she must for the happiness of her family and those she cares about, regardless how she might feel about it. There are things that just so totally endeared me to this character that I can't even describe it all without really, and I mean more than the above spoiler alert, spoiling this character. This young woman also has this incredible sense of humor that I was able to relate to under some pretty interesting circumstances. She really has a lot of growth throughout this story and it is wondrous to see her growth but I have to say it isn't easy to watch either for it is so painful at times.

Ben is a man who is hard to describe other than loving. Beyond that anything more might give too many details away about him and his story. Truly here is a man who I can only say is someone I actually related too more than almost any other hero in any other book (see spoiler if one must really know why). At times he is also way too stubborn for his own good thinking he knew what was best for everyone else. One thing that I didn't really care about Ben was that he kept way too much to himself, for he didn't allow anyone to help him in any way, shape or form.

This book starts with pain and heartache from the very beginning, and it seems as if the pain and heartache get worse before things start getting better. I was drawn into the story regardless of all those different emotions, to where I had to put the book down when in order to wipe my eyes so that I could continue to read, while not once thinking about NOT picking it up again for I had to see more. I knew there was going to be a happy ending (after all that is why I read fiction romance books) but I began to wonder about that happy ending for it just didn't seem right in my eyes. When I turned the last page to finish the book I was in awe of how things ended for I sure didn't see that coming at all.

We don't quite understand the conflict of the story for the vast majority of the book for the person who is holding on to the secret is keeping it very close to their chest. This conflict was something I sure didn't seem coming, and when the truth is revealed, it makes a world of sense then. I may not agree with logic used but I could understand the logic, and it really gave an emotional twist to the story. This vague conflict really is confusing for things just don't make sense at all when the truth is not known, but once it is out there things clear up. Anger and frustration were just two of the emotions I experienced for life isn't fair but this really seemed to be a cruel twist to the story that is for sure.

I really love 'The Matchmakers of Huckleberry Hill' books for there is just something about them all. I wonder if the reason why I look forward to them is because of Anna and Felty who are so creative and inspiration to at least this reader, for they love so deeply they are willing to do whatever needs to be done. It is Anna's antics that really get me for she is so certain that she is right

I hope all who read this book enjoys it as much as I did.

Other 'The Matchmakers of Huckleberry Hill' Books

                                                          found in An Amish Christmas Quilt 
Huckleberry Spring

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

"Her Cowboy Hero" by Carolyne Aarsen

About the Book 

Second-Chance Cowboy 

Montana rodeo star Tanner Fortier is a good man. A man Keira Bannister never stopped loving. But when he shows up at Refuge Ranch looking to have his late brother's saddle repaired in time for the championships, he's the last person Keira wants to see. For years, she's kept hidden the real reason for breaking their engagement—and Tanner's heart. But now, with him at the ranch, she's tempted to reveal the truth—one that could destroy him. But she knows that to have a future with the man of her dreams, she has to settle the past… 

Refuge Ranch: Where a Montana family comes home to love.

This book was released in January 2015
This is a well loved library book that was used for review

My Review

“Her Cowboy Hero” by Carolyne Aarsen is the first book of her 'Refuge Ranch' and interesting start to the series. I am wondering if the rest of the books in the series is going to be about the rest of the Bannister siblings, for there is some interesting connections made with one sibling and another character. This book is one of those stories where you get the idea of what might have happened, but then there are times when things seem to take a different track.

Here is a story about carrying guilt and shame that one feels even if it is undeserved. This is about how those who carry that guilt and shame deal with those things and slowly move beyond where they started. I have to say I don't agree with the guilt that the character is carrying around, and yet guilt works in funny ways so I understood for the most part even though I don't agree. The shame though again I don't agree with the shame that was being carried around, yet that would have seemed odd if this character didn't have it with what their past.

I would love to explain what I enjoyed about both Keira and Tanner but I don't think I can describe them correctly without giving away so much of the story. Seriously these two characters are each facing something that has been so big in their lives for some time, and it is how they face those big things that really show their true deep character that we see peek out every so often, but it doesn't stay out for very long.

This story does touch on a tough subject but it is handled with care and understanding not to mention a busload of class.

Truly this is a story of second chances and making choices as to what is the most important things in our lives. I found everything in the story to touch on the edge of my heart as if Ms. Aarsen was teasing my heart with a hook, and then bam she pulled hard and hooked my heart completely to where when I began to feel her reeling in my heart I just couldn't help but cry.

I hope all who read this book enjoys it as much as I did.

Other 'Refuge Ranch' Books

Her Cowboy Hero

Sunday, February 8, 2015

“Lakeside Redemption” by Lisa Jordan

About the Book

Fresh Start Family

Zoe James is starting over. She's worked hard to get past the foolish mistakes that landed her in trouble four years ago. Now the young mom is back in Shelby Lake and ready to reconnect with her son. When she bumps into old friend Caleb Sullivan and his two adorable girls, she sees the possibility of a happy future. Caleb has always secretly loved Zoe, but her turbulent past brings up tough memories of his own. As they spend time together training his girls' new puppy, Zoe and Caleb will learn that if they can forgive themselves, they might have a chance at a new life—and new love—together. 


This book was released in January 2015
This is a well loved library book that was used for the review. 

My Review
“Lakeside Redemption” by Lisa Jordan has some ties to “Lakeside Sweethearts” and those connections are mentioned in this book so that the reader is not left lost. This reader, who has read “Lakeside Sweethearts” still took a moment to remember the whole story but I didn't feel lost up until the pieces were all put in place for me to remember the full story from "Lakeside Sweethearts".

Here is a story that I had to laugh at one point, not because the scene itself was partially funny, but it was a statement about who was helping in planning a party. It seems like the last few books, I have picked up it seems as if one of the characters is in the middle of this major, full blown pity party, and while there are times of a pity party starting, in this story, it is nipped in the bud fairly quickly, thankfully. I know we are prone to pity parties at one point in time or another, and sometimes they are warranted as they were in this book, but sometimes we can carry them way too far (as it seems in a few books I tried to read).

As always I look for messages and the pity party is something that struck with me for some reason through this book and the ones I tried but couldn't get into, so I am taking a break for a moment to state something personal. If anyone is struggling and not sure where to go because things are so overwhelming, please know that God is there for you, with you, and struggling with you because He has something wonderful for you in the future. Please talk to someone such as a friend, parents, siblings, spouse, pastor (even if you talk to one who is not your own) and sometimes the best release is talking to a stranger who is willing to listen. There is nothing so far beyond God's grace that you are alone, for you are LOVED. Ok off the soap box.

This is a story that is full of second chances. There is just something about a story-line with a character who has a past like Zoe, that touches me, especially when love conquers all. Her past might seem as if she is beyond any kind of second chance but with God and her courage she faces her future with determination. There are times when she seems to tuck tail and run, but I thought it was more of her compassion for others who were hurting too. Zoe is a woman who has something's to learn too for it seems as if I saw something in her that she didn't see in herself, and that was a heart so tender she was willing to suffer than cause more pain for others.

Caleb is a man with a past too though not on the level of Zoe's but still he has had some rough times. Here is a man who is trying to move on after some hard blows in his life, and with that struggle he is trying to prove he is the best. Seems strange but it is that flaw, trying to prove that he is the best, made him attractive to this reader. We get to see him try, try and try some more with some success sometimes and other times just frustrated. Oh there are some lessons that Caleb learns and I so enjoyed watching this man change through the story.

It is Zoe's past that is the biggest conflict within the story. As the story unfolds it is understandable why there are doubts, uncertainties and the perfect excuse for the wonderful conclusion of the story. Really I think that if things didn't blow up like they did at the end, there would always be a grain of doubt and worry that someone was going to slip up and go back into their former habits. Truly a touching ending that I really enjoyed.

I look forward to more books by Ms. Jordan in the future, and I hope all who read this book enjoys it as much as I did.