Author: Jodi Thomas

Featured Review: Mornings on Main by Jodi Thomas

Posted December 13, 2018 by Casee in Reviews | 0 Comments

Featured Review: Mornings on Main by Jodi ThomasReviewer: Casee, Holly, Rowena
Mornings on Main by Jodi Thomas
Publisher: HQN
Publication Date: April 10, 2018
Format: eBook
Source: NetGalley
Point-of-View: Alternating Third
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 336
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three-stars

From the beloved and bestselling author of the Ransom Canyon and Harmony, Texas series comes a powerful, heartwarming story about generations of family and the ironclad bonds they forge.

When Jillian James lands in the small town Texas community of Laurel Springs, she's definitely not planning to stay--except to find a few clues about the father who abandoned her and destroyed her faith in family.

Connor Larady is a single dad, and the only one caring for his grandmother, Eugenia, who has Alzheimer's. And now he has to close Eugenia's quilt shop. When Connor meets down-on-her-luck Jillian, he's out of options. Can he trust the newcomer to do right by his grandmother's legacy?

Jillian is done with relationships. But as she grows closer to Connor and Eugenia, she must consider giving up her nomadic life for a future with those who need her.

An inspiring family saga that asks us to consider what love and chosen family really mean.

Jillian James is a wanderer. Her father lived a nomadic, off-the-grid lifestyle and taught her to do the same. For years she’s been drifting aimlessly, never staying anywhere long or forming attachments. Recently she started following the path her father took, searching for some clue as to where he may have been in the past, and, more importantly, where he is now.

She lands in Laurel Springs, Texas, and takes a job from the mayor, Connor Larady, cataloging his Gram’s quilt collection from her quilting shop. She’s suffering from the early stages of dementia, and the historical society wants an accounting of each quilt before they’re moved to a local museum for display.

Connor and Jillian have an instant attraction, but he’s deeply rooted in his hometown..and she’s determined not to leave any roots at all.

Holly: It’s been years since I read a novel by Jodi Thomas, but I have fond memories of her older books. Sadly this one didn’t live up to my expectations. There was absolutely nothing wrong with the story, it was all very sweet and lovely. It was also very boring. I really had to push myself to finish it. The slow moving romance and the lack of true angst made for a snoozefest.

Rowena: This is the second book that I’ve read by Jodi Thomas and I couldn’t remember why I stopped reading her. Reading this story kind of reminded me. The small town, the super sweet but slow-moving romance, all of that served to remind me that these kinds of romances aren’t my jam. While reading this, I felt like I was reading a romance that was written by my Grandma. A sweet story told by an older person who wrote dialogue on how they thought young kids talked these days and not really how they actually talk. Does that make sense?

Still, it was sweet.

Holly: I don’t know that I agree about the dialogue, though I do agree about the rest. I really liked Sunnie and Reese, the teenage couple with a thread running throughout the book. I thought they were sweet and pretty cute. I loved how much Sunnie loved her Gram, and how great of a kid she was despite going through some bad teenage years. I thought Reese was cute for her, too.

I even liked Jillian and Connor. I thought they were good together and had a sweet, comfortable relationship. It just didn’t do a lot for me.

Rowena: Yes, Sunnie and Reese were probably my favorite part of the book. I loved how smart and strong Sunnie was and how quickly she ended things with Derrick when he proves to be an ass. Too often, I see teenage girls stay in a relationship with the popular boy and I’m glad that Sunnie was above that.

I enjoyed everything in this book fine but that’s really all I have to say about this one. It was good. I liked Jack, Gram, and all of Gram’s friends, I liked Connor and Jillian. I adored Sunnie and Reese and though the beginning was slow, the story does pick up and it does get interesting but after all is said and done, I liked it fine and that’s it.

Casee: Unfortunately, as sweet as this book was, I was bored from start to finish. I did enjoy Connor and Jillian getting to know each other, but it didn’t do anything for me. I didn’t understand Jillian’s absolute need to be a nomad. It just made no sense to me. I didn’t understand why she wanted to find the father that abandoned her. I liked Sunnie and Reese. They were probably my favorite part of the book. Quilting doesn’t really do it for me, no matter how interesting the stories about them might be.

Holly: I did love Joe’s Toe Tent business. I cracked up when it blew up.

Casee: Rowena is correct. This review is as boring as the book was. Lets just call it what it was. Excruciatingly slow. Connor was sweet, but boring. I did enjoy seeing him get his HEA, but I didn’t particularly care by that point. I was just glad I finished the book.

Rowena: I did like that Joe’s toe tent business took off because I liked Joe and thought he was pretty great to Gram. I thought it was cute, how excited he was about the business too.

There isn’t much else I have to say about this book so I’m going to give it a 3 out of 5. What about you guys?

Casee: I’m going to give it a 2 out of 5.

Holly: I thought it was a sweet story. I liked the town and the secondary characters, it was just slow. I’m giving it 3 out of 5.

Final grades

Casee: 2 out of 5
Holly: 3 out of 5
Rowena: 3 out of 5

three-stars


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Guest Review: Mistletoe Miracles by Jodi Thomas

Posted October 11, 2018 by Tracy in Reviews | 0 Comments

Guest Review: Mistletoe Miracles by Jodi ThomasReviewer: Tracy
Mistletoe Miracles (Ransom Canyon #7) by Jodi Thomas
Series: Ransom Canyon #7
Also in this series: Sunrise Crossing, A Christmas Affair (Ransom Canyon #6.5)
Publisher: HQN
Publication Date: September 25, 2018
Format: eARC
Source: NetGalley
Point-of-View: Third
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 304
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three-half-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

A small-town Texas Christmas story, where hearts are lost, love is found and family always brings you back home

Griffin Holloway is desperate: the Maverick Ranch has been in his family for generations, but lately, it's a money pit. He'd sooner marry one of his horses than sell the ranch. Marriage, though, could be a solution. If he can woo a wealthy bride, he might save the ranch--just in time for Christmas.

Jaxon O'Grady likes his solitude just fine, thank you very much. But when a car accident brings the unexpected to his door, he realizes just how much one person can need another.

Crossroads is the perfect place for Jamie Johnson: avoiding nosy questions about why she's single, she's happy to keep to her lakeside home. So she's baffled when she gets the strangest Christmas present of all, in the form of a Mr. Johnson, asleep on her sofa. Who is he, and why does everyone think he's her husband?

In this uplifting novel, three unlikely couples discover just what Crossroads, Texas, can offer: romance, belonging and plenty of Christmas spirit.

Griffin Holloway is desperate to find a wife.  Not that he thinks he’s ready to get married but because he needs a rich wife to pay the mortgage on the ranch that has been in his family for 10 years. He goes to the two old ladies who run the local B & B for advice and they match him up with Sunlan Krown.  She’s the daughter of a rancher in Texas and very rich.  She agrees to marry Griff but with many stipulations.

Army Captain Wyatt Johnson is taking some time off between assignments.  His girlfriend (who he wasn’t really attached to) got engaged while he was away and his parents were living their own lives.  He just wants some place to call home to rest his weary body for a while.  When he collapses from lack of sleep the local ranger takes him to Mrs. Johnson’s house.  The ranger said that Mrs. Johnson had said that her husband wasn’t around much so him being in the Army would explain a lot.  They put Wyatt into Jamie’s house and leave him there.  Imagine Jamie’s surprise when she comes home after a weekend away with her drama students and finds a strange man in her place.

Jaxon is a man who is hurting on the inside.  He was also physically hurt two years earlier but now he’s just emotionally scarred.  He lives alone on a piece of land his family owns and likes the peace and solitude it provides.  He is out walking one day when he witnesses a car accident.  He runs to help but he’s pretty far away.  By the time he’s gotten there the woman who was driving is being loaded into an ambulance.  He starts to leave and hears a whimper.  It’s a dog and he takes it and nurses it back to health.  When he discovers that the dog belongs to the driver, and that she’s hiding from an abusive boyfriend, Jaxson volunteers to nurse her back to health as well, while hiding her from further danger.

Once again Jodi Thomas has given us a book with three stories that are all so good.  Each one would have made a great novella but adding them together, and alternating chapters made it that much better.  Two of the stories ended up being intertwined and that was a bonus as well.

I liked all three of these stories equally.  I like Thomas’s books because for the most part there isn’t a ton of angst and I appreciate that.  This book was like that and I really enjoyed reading it.

Rating: 3.75 out of 5

Ransom Canyon

three-half-stars


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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
Publisher: Penguin
Publication Date: April 7th 2009
Genres: Fiction
Pages: 352
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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, Mistletoe Miracles (Ransom Canyon #7)

Publication Date: October 1st 2017
Format: eARC
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 90
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four-stars
Series Rating: 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), Mistletoe Miracles (Ransom Canyon #7)

Publication Date: August 30th 2016
Format: Print ARC
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Add It: Goodreads
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four-stars
Series Rating: 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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