Author: Jodi Thomas

Throwback Thursday Review: Rewriting Monday by Jodi Thomas

Posted May 17, 2018 by Holly in Reviews | 4 Comments

Throwback Thursday Review: Rewriting Monday by Jodi ThomasReviewer: Holly
Rewriting Monday by Jodi Thomas
Published by Penguin
Publication Date: April 7th 2009
Genres: Fiction
Pages: 352
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
Goodreads
four-stars

Reporter Pepper Malone moved to Bailey, Texas, after a news story nearly got her killed. Now she wants to be left alone to do her job in relative peace and quiet. But when the newspaper’s staff is targeted by a madman with a grudge against the media, Pepper is drawn back into the public eye—and into the arms of the paper’s handsome owner.

Every Thursday in 2018, we’ll be posting throwback reviews of our favorite and not-so-favorite books.

This review was originally published on September 23, 2009.

 
I generally don’t like books that feature journalists. Too often they’re willing to sellout the people in their lives for a story. Obviously that isn’t always the case, and Jodi Thomas is a great example to go by with Rewriting Monday.

Pepper Malone lost her job as one of Chicago Tribune’s best reporters when a story goes bad. She ends up broke and alone in Bailey, TX and decides to stick around after seeing the local newspaper is hiring.

Mike McCulloch gave up his dream of being a teacher to run the newspaper after his father and older brother passed away. He’s been kind of floating along ever since, not really connecting to anyone or anything. When Pepper blows into his office, it’s like she slapped him awake. Now he can’t get his mind off of her.

When bad things start happening at the paper, Mike and Pepper both believe each is the target. Pepper is surprised to learn the paper has been receiving threats for months, and Mike knows Pepper is hiding something about her past, but isn’t sure what.

Pepper was kind of a breath of fresh air. She’s had some hard knocks, but that doesn’t take away from her sunny personality. She was an upbeat person without being annoying and I liked that she drew Mike out of his shell. Her innate curiosity came across well. Mostly she just seemed genuinely interested in people.

Mike was the strong, silent type who tended to push people away. It wasn’t that he didn’t care about the people of Bailey, it’s just that he was struggling to raise his niece and to come to terms with his decision to stay at the paper.

Pepper and Mike worked well together. Not just personally, but professionally. They seemed to really feed off of each other. Their relationship was one that grew over time with lots of conversation. It wasn’t like some where they jump right into bed together then try to work the details out later.

The town kind of took on a life of its own and provided a wonderful backdrop for the story. I think Thomas really excels at writing small town life. Once again I was transported to a small Texas town and really wanted to move there. The secondary characters also enriched the story, and I really enjoyed the secondary romance between the bakery owner and her estranged ex-husband.

As for the mystery, I think it really took a backseat to the romance between Pepper and Mike and the everyday life of the town. It didn’t take me long to figure out who was behind the threats, so the end didn’t surprise me. It almost felt kind of anti-climatic, but that’s often how I feel when it comes to mysteries, so it could just be.

Overall I very impressed with the characters and the setting. Thomas really excels at writing smalltown romance that really sucks you in. Highly recommended.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

four-stars


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Guest Review: A Christmas Affair by Jodi Thomas

Posted October 2, 2017 by Tracy in Reviews | 1 Comment

Guest Review: A Christmas Affair by Jodi ThomasReviewer: Tracy
A Christmas Affair (Ransom Canyon #6.5) by Jodi Thomas
Series: Ransom Canyon #6.5
Also in this series: Sunrise Crossing
Published by HQN Books
Publication Date: October 1st 2017
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 90
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
Goodreads
four-stars

Maria Anne Davis was on her way to an exciting career as a chef in Dallas, until a terrible car accident left her blind. Ever resilient, Maria has reinvented her life on her own terms, starting a business out of her home kitchen, selling her jams and jellies to the local grocery.

Maria loves romance novels, and despite her bold spirit, she fears she’ll never have a big love affair like ones her heroines experience. That is, until she realizes how much she cares about the quiet Wes Whitman, the owner of the grocery.

Wes can’t keep Maria’s wildly popular jam on his shelves – just like he can’t keep the fierce, beautiful Maria out of his thoughts. But how could a firecracker like Maria come to love a shy, nervous man like him? Maybe all they need is a grand affair. Wes needs to convince Maria that some affairs last forever, though – just in time for Christmas.

Wes and Maria don’t talk or really interact when she brings her stock in.  He pays her the money owed her and then she leaves.  Wes would like nothing more than to talk to her – and more – but he’s just too shy.  Maria ends up making the first move on Wes, which shocks and thrills him.  Maria proposes an affair – something she wants as her Christmas present.  Wes is happy to oblige but it seems like every time they turn around there are unintentional road blocks being thrown up.  The more Wes thinks about the affair with Maria the more he realizes that he doesn’t want just an affair – he wants it all.

In this novella not only do we get the sweet but whirlwind romance of Wes and Maria but we also get a bit of a story about a 15-year-old boy, Travis Fuller.  His parents are neglectful and social services has now put him into the care of his three great uncles in Crossroads, Texas.  Travis doesn’t plan on being with his uncles any longer than he planned on being with his parents. As soon as he hits age 16 he plans on running away and plots constantly as to how he can do that.

By staying with his uncles Travis gets to see that people may be screwed up in different ways but they can still love each other.   When Wes Whitman hires Travis as a stock boy in his grocery, Travis starts to see that life can be different from what he planned.  Not only is Travis then making money instead having to steal things, but he starts to have a sense of worth.  He starts to see life in a different way and I loved that.  Thomas has such a way of wrapping my heart around her characters that I couldn’t help but start pulling for Travis from the first sentence of the book.  I was so happy that by the end that he found a small sense of peace.  He was a good kid and I liked his character a lot.

Maria and Wes were definitely not your typical couple but they were good together.  I do wish they had talked more throughout the story but as it was a novella it still worked.  Sometimes two people just know they’re meant to be together and that’s all there is to it. 🙂

Overall a lovely novella and one I recommend, even if you haven’t read all of the Ransom Canyon books.

Rating: 4 out of 5

four-stars


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Guest Review: Sunrise Crossing by Jodi Thomas

Posted September 26, 2016 by Tracy in Reviews | 0 Comments

Guest Review: Sunrise Crossing by Jodi ThomasReviewer: Tracy
Sunrise Crossing by Jodi Thomas
Series: Ransom Canyon #4
Also in this series: A Christmas Affair (Ransom Canyon #6.5)
Published by HQN Books
Publication Date: August 30th 2016
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
Goodreads
four-stars

Yancy Grey is slowly putting his life back together after serving time for petty theft. As he rebuilds an old house, he finally has a sense of stability, but he can't stop thinking of himself as just an ex-con. Until one night, he finds a mysterious dark-haired beauty hiding in his loft. But who is she, and what secret is she protecting?

The art gallery Parker Lacey manages is her life—she has no time for friends, and certainly not lovers. But when her star artist begs Parker for help, she finds herself in a pickup truck, headed for the sleepy town of Crossroads. A truck driven by a strong, silent cowboy…

Gabe Snow has been a drifter since he left Crossroads at seventeen after a violent incident. When he accepts a job in his hometown, he'll have to decide whether he can put the worst night of his life behind him and build a future in the community that raised him.

Parker Lacey is an art gallery owner who loves what she does and doesn’t have any plans on stopping until she’s dead.  She’s 37 and since everyone in her family dies young – she’s not planning on being around that long.  When she’s in the LA airport on a trip she runs into one of her artists who is not having a good life.  After hearing Tori’s story Parker decides to help her out and helps her get away to a place called Crossroads, Texas where Parker owns a house.  She always thought she’d use it as a getaway but she’s never gotten away.  She helps Tori escape for a while and is happy to do it.

Parker is having pain in her knee and back and knows that it’s cancer as that’s what both of her parents died from.  She goes in for tests and after seeing the look on the doctor’s face she doesn’t let him tell her what’s wrong before she’s out of there.  She decides that she needs an adventure before she dies so she gets things in order at the gallery and heads to Crossroads herself.  She gets there with the help of her neighbor, Clint Montgomery, and their tenuous friendship ends up turning into the greatest adventure of her life.

Tori is the artist who is trying to escape her life. She’s been a renowned painter since she was 15 years old but she’s 24 now and feels like she’s in prison.  After her father died and her mother remarried her stepfather drove her to do more and more and more.  She’s tired and hates that he has guardianship over her and her money.  She doesn’t care about the money so much as her freedom to live how she wants.  While she’s hiding out in Crossroads she loves walking and ends up in Yancy’s workshed.  Once the two meet they become closer than either thought possible.  What started out as the two just working on wood for his house remodeling project became much, much more.  Unfortunately Tori’s stepfather wants his cash cow back and has the authorities, FBI and even bounty hunters out looking for her and he’ll take her, dead or alive.

Gabe left Crossroads when he was just a kid and was beaten and forced out by his own family.  He was trying to run away with his love but neither family wanted them together.  He never went back to Crossroads and now that he’s a bounty hunter and back to get Tori he’s seeing it with different eyes.  He finds that the family he thought was all dead isn’t and he’s got a relative he never knew about. That one person changes his whole outlook on live and makes him determined to live a better life.

I have to say that when I agreed to read Sunrise Crossing I wasn’t sure if it would work as a standalone.  I haven’t read the other books in the Ransom Canyon series but I’m happy to say that you can read SC and not have a clue about the previous books and still really enjoy the book.

I love the way that Jodi Thomas takes an unlikely collection of characters, puts them all together and makes an awesome story out of their lives and loves.  Tori, Yancy, Parker, Clint, Gabe – all of them were such different people but Thomas brought them in and made them into a cohesive group.  I also love the way that Thomas brings townspeople into the story.  Even though the books aren’t about them they play a large part and it gives the story a more homey feel, imho.

Tori and Yancy were awesome together.  They were quiet artistic people and got on well together from the start.  Yancy had had a tough life and though he’d had first dates – never got a second with anyone.  He loved so much about Tori and just let her be herself which was exactly what she needed to heal from her home life.

Parker and Clint – I could not think of a more unlikely pairing.  He’s a gruff, quiet, rough and tumble cowboy and she’s a city girl with a gallery, designer clothes and not a lot of friends.  Parker really needed Clint’s quiet patience in her life- someone steady to lean on who would be there for her no matter what.  I loved how Thomas slowly got these two together and made it work.  He was so sweet and was just perfect for her.

There was also a very small third romance in the book with one of the deputy sheriff’s that was quite cute as well and that added another lovely element to the story.

Besides the wonderful romances there was the suspense portion of the book having to do with Tori.  This is where Gabe came in and we got to know his story about his life in Crossroads. It was moving and horrifying and I loved that what he discovered in Crossroads changed him.  He had hardened himself from feeling and life and coming back broke the ice around his heart and made him want to be a better person.  It was such a good part of the story and I was so happy that Thomas added this part in.

Overall I really enjoyed this book.  Thomas is one of my favorite authors and I plan on going back and reading all of the Ransom Canyon books.  I’m sure I’ll end up loving the Ransom Canyon books as much as I love her other books.

Rating: 4 out of 5

four-stars


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Guest Review: One True Heart by Jodi Thomas

Posted April 20, 2015 by Tracy in Reviews | 1 Comment

Guest Review: One True Heart by Jodi ThomasReviewer: Tracy
One True Heart by Jodi Thomas
Series: Harmony series #8
Also in this series: A Place Called Harmony
Published by Penguin
Publication Date: April 7th 2015
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
Goodreads
three-half-stars

Millanie McAllen is always logical. But after returning to her childhood home, she learns that some things are beyond explanation—like her undeniable passion for Drew Cunningham…

After finding success as a singer on the road, Beau Yates returns to Harmony to make peace with his dying father—only to find the woman he’s been dreaming of for years. But the secrets they discover might be too much for him to bear…

When Johnny Wheeler is charged with his wife’s murder, he turns to the only person who believes he’s innocent. Fortune teller Kare Cunningham’s life has always danced around reality—but Johnny is able to ground her like no other…

As their paths cross in new, captivating directions, the townspeople of Harmony need to learn to love and let go in order to live together in their little slice of heaven.

Tracy’s review of One True Heart (Harmony #8) by Jodi Thomas

As their paths cross in new, captivating directions, the townspeople of Harmony need to learn to love and let go in order to live together in their little slice of heaven.

In this book we get three different but all interconnected stories. There’s Millanie and Drew, Beau and Trouble aka Lark as well as Johnny and Kare.

In Millanie’s story she believes herself discharged from the Army and with no family and no place to go she returns to Harmony, the town of her youth. There she meets Drew who is a professor but running from his own demons. Millanie is actually NOT discharged and is then put on a case of finding a criminal the military believes is hiding out in Harmony.

Then we have Beau Yates who is a born and raised Harmony boy who hit it big in country music and is now a star. He returns when he hears that his father, the minister that was never actually nice to him, had a heart attack. He always felt more at home in Harmony and while he believes that he will only stay for a day or so that turns in to a much longer time when he runs into the girl he used to take midnight rides with in his youth.

Then there’s Johnny Wheeler whose wife left him and he’s then accused of murdering her. Kare is Drew’s sister and she’s the only one who believes him to be innocent. It turns out that the odd pair are perfect for each other.

This was a well written book – as I believe that all of Thomas’s books are. The stories of the three couples was very sweet and well done.

My issues with the book were that none of the stories, with the exception of Beau and Lark’s seemed very romantic, and even that seemed a little unusual. They were kind of 6 misfits who managed to find people who fit them which is always wonderful, don’t get me wrong, but to me Millanie and Drew didn’t really fit together. I think this was because we didn’t get to delve too, too deeply into either of their backgrounds. Same goes for Johnny and Kare – but they were in their own little orbit. Lol I guess I just didn’t feel as invested in these couples as I have with the previous couples/characters from Harmony. That being said I still found the book entertaining and of course it was nice being back in Harmony again.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5

Reading Order:

This title is available from Berkley. You can buy it here or here in e-format. This book was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

three-half-stars


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Guest Review: A Place Called Harmony by Jodi Thomas (+ a Giveaway!)

Posted October 1, 2014 by Tracy in Giveaways, Reviews | 6 Comments

Guest Review: A Place Called Harmony by Jodi Thomas (+ a Giveaway!)Reviewer: Tracy
A Place Called Harmony by Jodi Thomas
Series: Harmony series #8
Also in this series: One True Heart
Published by Penguin
Publication Date: October 7th 2014
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
Goodreads
four-stars

New York Times bestselling author Jodi Thomas has captivated America with her novels set in the small town of Harmony, Texas. Now she tells the story of the three hard-luck men who first settled the town, a place where last chances and long-awaited dreams collide…

Desperate to escape his overbearing father, Patrick McAllen disappears with his bride, heading north to build a new town—discovering strength, honor and true love along the way.

After drinking away the grief from his family’s death, Clint Truman avoids jail by taking a job in North Texas and settling down with a woman he vows to protect but never love—until her quiet compassion slowly breaks his hardened heart wide open…

All Gillian Matheson has ever known is Army life, leaving his true love to be a part-time spouse. But when a wounded Gillian returns home to find her desperately fighting to save their marriage, he’s determined to become the husband she deserves.

Amidst storms, outlaws, and unwelcome relatives, the three couples band together to build a town—and form a bond that breathes life into the place that will forever be called Harmony.

 

Tracy’s review of A Place Called Harmony (Harmony #8) by Jodi Thomas

Harmon Ely is a man who runs a trading post in northern Texas. There’s not a whole lot of anything around but people stop at his trading post on a regular basis. Harmon gets it into his head that he wants to start a town. He puts out ads looking for married couples. Three very different couples converge on the trading post to try and start the town.

The first to arrive is Daisy Matheson. She is married to an Army man named Gillian and they’ve spent most of their married life apart. Daisy sees Harmon’s ad and starts to write to him regarding the job but she does so under Gillian’s name. Gillian has no clue what Daisy’s doing but gets quite anxious when he gets a letter telling him to meet her at the trading post. Gillian’s mind goes crazy and all he can think is that she’s dying and that’s why he needs to get there by a certain date. He loves Daisy with his whole heart and can think of nothing worse than losing her. He heads off to the trading post but ends up with a traveling companion, Jessie, who’s about 15 years old. She has nowhere to go and when his attempt to drop her at a mission doesn’t work he decides to take her with him to meet Daisy. Once there Gillian has to decide whether he’ll stay with his wife and boys to start the town or go back to the Army.

The next couple is Patrick McAllen and his wife Annie. Patrick is the son of a preacher and has been abused his whole life. His father is a bit nuts and after seeing 2 of his brothers die in the war and 2 others escape his father he knows that his father expects him to follow in his footsteps. Patrick just wants out. He tried to escape once and his father caught him and whipped him almost to the point of death. He knows if he’s caught his father will kill him this time. When he escapes he takes a local girl with him. Annie has been little more than a slave to her stepmother and stepsisters and is anxious to leave. The pair get married and head off to meet Harmon. While there was is only friendship between them when they got married love soon grows and flourishes. Patrick is only 20 years old but he’s an accomplished carpenter and knows that he can bring his skill to help build a town.

Clint Truman is a man who joined the men fighting in the war when he was just a teenager. He saw and did things that still horrified him. He then met his wife and she seemed to calm him but his wife and two daughters died from a fever and he turned to alcohol to numb the pain. Two years later the local sheriff tells him of the opportunity to start a new life and town with Harmon Ely. Clint thinks it might be something to look into but he’s not real sure about it all when the sheriff tells him he must be married. His capacity to love died when his family died and while he agrees to get married he knows he’ll never love the woman. They find Clint’s new wife when she gets released from prison with her newborn baby. Karissa agrees to marry Clint as she has no other options. She’s terribly afraid of Clint but manages to start to trust him after a time. The more time they spend together the more they grow to care for each other.

The three couples each have their trials and tribulations. They’re fighting their own inner battles as well as other issues from their past. Together, however, they know they can make the new town a wonderful place.

If you’ve read the Harmony novels you know that it’s a contemporary series that’s set in the town of Harmony. When I opened this book and realized that it’s a historical that takes us back to the founding of Harmony I wasn’t quite sure what to think. I’m not a fan of western historicals in general but I should have known that Thomas would come through for me. Not only was it a really great story but I loved seeing how Harmony came to be.

I have to say I loved reading about these three very diverse couples. Their lives were so different, as were their personalities, but they all were so determined to make the town work together that they all managed to get along and actually become friends.

The building of the town, along with the romances, interspersed with the more suspenseful parts of the book, were all woven together so well. Thomas truly knows how to build a story and characters that have a depth that I just love. The secondary characters in the book, Patrick’s brother Shelly along with Patrick’s sisters, and the Roma family rounded out the cast so well and added that much more to the story.

Whether you like western historical romance or not if you love the Harmony series I think you’ll love this one as well.

Rating: 4 out of 5

This title is available from Berkley. You can buy it here or here in e-format. This book was provided by the author in exchange for an honest review.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

four-stars


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