Thursday, June 28, 2012

Cowboy CrazyCowboy Crazy by Joanne Kennedy
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

An engaging story about finding out who you are by looking at where you came from.

Sarah Landon hated where she came from and always thought that the grass would be greener on the other side. She left Two Shot, Wyoming to go to an Ivy League school and bury her past. She ends up working for Carrigan Oil Company in Wyoming, not far from her home town and even though she is close to home, she does not let anyone know she where she came from.

Sarah’s life growing up had several hardships. She lived with her mother and sister in poverty and when her mother married, they found happiness for a short while. Then an accident took her stepfather’s life and changed everything. Sarah had to sell the horse and quit barrel racing, her mother had a hard time coping therefore started drinking and eventually died too young and her sister seems to be falling into the same poverty rut the family has never been able to shake.

Lane Carrigan is from a wealthy family and spent his early years at boarding schools and hated every minute of it. His most cherished memories were spent on the family ranch during the summers. Never really settling down, he becomes a bull rider with the rodeo and just wants to be a simple cowboy. He recently was given the responsibility of running the family ranch while his brother runs the oil company. Carrigan Oil still owns the land and the mineral rights but Lane owns the buildings and runs the ranch.

Lane and Sarah meet when he is visiting his brother and she is working. They seem to be on opposite sides as Lane’s brother wants to drill on the land. Lane does not want the drilling operation to ruin the small town of Two Shot and Sarah as the publicist needs to convince the town that this is good for everyone.

Sarah needs to deal with going home again and the nightmares she left behind, she does not realize the destruction she is doing to herself as well as her sister while being negative about their past and trying to find blame when there really is no blame, life sometimes just happens without it being anyone’s fault. Lane has to realize that if you work things out in the beginning you can let progress happen and it will not destroy the small town life – it might enhance it.

As they work through their own problems they realize that they might just be fighting for the same thing and falling in love along the way. A wonderful book about how the past can form the present, but that you can still change. I will be reading more Joanne Kennedy books in the future.

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Wednesday, June 20, 2012

At Last (Lucky Harbor, #5)At Last by Jill Shalvis
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

At Last is the fifth book in the Lucky Harbor series, a wonderful series that takes place in a small Pacific Northwest town, full of fun characters that laugh and love. Amy Michaels has lived in Lucky Harbor for a short time trying to find her own version of hope, peace and heart. Her grandmother came to these Pacific coastal mountains more than five decades ago finding her own version and Amy is going on the same journey. As a teenager, Amy was dropped off at her mother’s house after her grandmother died, a mother that was too young when she had Amy and did not want her anyway. Amy left soon after and bounced around the country, when her mother’s husband got too close and no one wanted to believe her. After many years Amy has found a place in Lucky Harbor with a job, friends and harmony.

Matt Bowers has lived in Lucky Harbor for several years moving here after problems in Chicago working as a SWAT team member caused him to not trust himself anymore. He was also in the military and is currently the supervising park ranger working in the mountains surrounding Lucky Harbor. Matt eats everyday at the Eat Me Café where Amy works and they have been watching each other ever since Amy came to town.

As Amy reads her grandmother’s journal and travels the same path as she did, Amy’s thoughts about her grandmother change as well as how she feels about herself. While searching and several phone calls, Amy reconnects with her mother, who now seems to want a relationship after all these years. Amy also finds a troubled sole that she feels she can help when she meets Riley Taylor an eighteen year old who is hiding out trying to survive much like Amy did years ago.

This is a funny and touching story with great new characters and those we welcome back from previous books as we gain more insight into their world. As Amy and Matt grow closer she starts to find herself and therefore helps Matt deal with past issues that made him feel less than adequate about himself and his work. A compelling story about what life can throw at you and how you deal with them to grow.

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Monday, June 11, 2012

 Somebody Like You (Sugar Shack, #3)Somebody Like You by Candis Terry
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is the third book in the wonderful Sugar Shack series by Candis Terry, an Idaho author who is finishing up this series and recently signed a new deal with Avon for another series that will also come out in paperback.

Kelly Silverthorne has come home to heal. The murder trial she had put her heart and soul in came back with a not guilty verdict and it has hit her hard. This was the first trial she has ever lost and the fact that she knows the man is guilty is even worse. So she is sitting in her family's bake shop questioning her future. She has a few weeks before another trial begins and since her brother is getting married to Emma, it is a good excuse to visit, stay awhile and make some decisions.

Kate, her little sister is running the Sugar Shack with their father. Kate's new husband, Matt is the sheriff of Deer Lick, Montana and his best friend James Harley is the deputy, James also happens to be the one night stand Kelly had during her sister's wedding reception at Christmas time. Kelly rarely drinks, always being Sister Serious, however, she let loose for the wedding and they shared an exciting night together, and then she left. She knows she would see James again, she just did not know it would be on the first day she is back in town.

Kelly is driving her mother's old car while in town; little does she know that both her sister and brother experienced the same strange occurrence with their recently deceased mother whenever Tom Jones starts singing on the radio. Kelly never had a great relationship with her mom; she was the one that did everything right and therefore felt invisible. Her mother did not realize she treated the children differently and so, as with her brother and sister, seems to want to make amends with Kelly and tell her she was loved. Her mother just communicates is an unconventional way.

James has his own problems to handle, several years ago his mother suffered a stroke and therefore he inherited two Yorkshire terriers (Poppy and Princess) and has been raising his brother (Alex) who is a teenager that seems to be finding trouble. James was a troubled kid and knows what his brother is heading for, if not for a life changing event that almost killed him and a sheriff who took him under his wing, James would not have survived his younger years.

Kelly and James bump into each other several times, and although neither seems to be looking for a relationship, they appear to be having one. At one time, James tells her she needs to find her hidden talent, something that makes her and others smile. She meets Twinkie (a clown) at the hospital and as they talk about what clowns can do for others Kelly begins to think that she might have just found it. Sprinkles is born as her alter ego.

As the story unfolds, the road to a happy ending has some rough patches; Kelly and James have several obstacles to overcome. Kelly faces a decision about her future and how she feels about herself and her mother and James needs to deal with his brother Alex. It is a wonderful story about family, love and finding your hidden talents to make you and others smile. I love seeing characters from the first two books; the interaction is fun and entertaining. You do not have to read the first two books to jump in to this book; however they are great stories to read.

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Friday, June 8, 2012

Possession (A Little Harmless Military Romance #2)Possession by Melissa Schroeder
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Deacon Berg is in Hawaii for his friend Kade's wedding. Enjoying a little rest before he makes a big decision about the next step in his career, he has had an offer to teach at Coronado and is thinking of taking the job. Deke knows something is missing from his life and he is not sure how to go about getting it.

Samantha Walters is the something that is missing from Deke's life, they were once married however ten years ago he walked away, but never stopped loving Sam. They have run into each other over the years and every time it is like they have never been apart. They drive each other crazy, but with Sam's commitment issues and the fact that when they were younger they could never get past the arguing, they just did not fight hard enough for the marriage.

Deke runs into Sam while she and her two friends are walking on the beach near the reception and it is almost like they had never been apart, they have always felt that strong attraction as they pick up from the last time they saw each other and enjoy a wonderful night together. Deke is only in Hawaii for a short time and as he is leaving he makes a decision that will change the rest of their lives - Deke has finally decided that he will never be without Sam by his side. He just needs to set it all in motion and hope Sam feels the same.

When Deke arrives on Sam's doorstep after six weeks, things are not as easy as Deke hopes they will be to gain the future he wants. There are several obstacles standing in the way of their happily ever after and we watch the roller coaster ride as they work through them to the end.

Melissa Schroeder never disappoints. Her books are always full of fun, laughter and love. I enjoyed this addition to the Harmless series about the military men and women and their lives. I loved seeing old friends and meeting new ones, looking forward to more stories that include these wonderful characters.

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