Tag: 4.0 Reviews

To Find You Again by Maureen McKade

Posted October 12, 2007 by Casee in Reviews | 5 Comments

Book description:

It has been seven years since Emma Hartwell’s capture by a tribe of the Lakota Sioux. But her recent rescue by the US Cavalry feels like anything but salvation. She has been forced to leave behind her beloved child, and return to the family who can’t accept her, only to be shunned by the townspeople as an outcast. Emma is haunted by her life with the Elk tribe. She sets off on a dangerous journey, fueled by a fierce love of her son and fears for his safety, in an effort to find the tribe and reclaim him.

Only Ridge Madoc stands in her way. A former army scout with a keen tracking sense and a keener sense of justice, Ridge has been sent by Emma’s father to bring her back–a task that will give him the chance of reclaiming some of the land that was rightfully his. But, he never expected a woman as determined and courageous as Emma. Now, Emma must appeal to Ridge to help her with her desperate quest, and Ridge must struggle with his desire for a woman who no longer has a place in his world…

I really hate getting in reading ruts. It really effects me in unpleasant ways. When nothing sounds good, what do you do? I start going through my different piles of TBR books (they’re semi-organized). I look at different books and remember when and where I bought them, but for the life of me can’t remember why I bought them. Since I’m in a (sort of) rut, I decided to try to get back into historicals. I have so many good historicals, but I just haven’t been in the mood for them. I’m really glad I picked up this book by Maureen McKade b/c it was a very good read.

When Emma Hartwell was “rescued” from the Lakota tribe she had lived with for 7 years, she was gravely wounded and had a vague feeling that something was missing. It wasn’t until she was recovering from a life threatening saber wound that she realized what she was missing…her son, Chayton. Not daring to breathe a word of her son’s existence to anyone, Emma quietly went through her days trying to remain unobtrusive. That was hard b/c even though the town believed that Emma was in the Lakota camp against her will, they still referred to her as a “Squaw woman”. They looked at her as a fallen and soiled woman. They didn’t even know the full truth, that she had willingly married and had a child with one of the Lakota warriors.

Though her mother and father decide to send her to her Aunt Alice’s back east, Emma knows that they mean well. After vivid nightmares that make her believe that harm will come to her son, she also knows that she won’t leave without him. The day before she’s to leave, she sneaks out and begins the long process of following the tribe.

When John Hartwell comes to Ridge Madoc trying to hire him to find Emma, Ridge is dubious. This is the same man that basically stole land that had been in Ridge’s family for generations. It didn’t matter that he obtained it legally…buying it from his drunken stepfather was the same as taking it for free as far as Ridge was concerned. Hartwell also refused to hire him as a ranch hand when Ridge went looking for work. Nonetheless, Ridge can’t pass up the opportunity to make the kind of money that Hartwell is offering.

Ridge soon learns that there is more to Emma that anyone realizes. Finding first her trail, then Emma herself, Ridge is satisfied that he can have Emma back in 2-3 days. He didn’t plan on having his tea drugged and getting his horse stolen. Now it’s a matter of pride and Ridge doggedly follows Emma’s trail. When he once again finds her, they strike a deal. Ridge will accompany Emma to the Lakota camp in return for doubling the money her father is offering. Ridge accepts.

I really found this book fascinating. Emma was a woman caught in two separate worlds during a time that you had to be in one or the other. Though she lived with the Lakota’s for 7 years, she was no longer fully accepted in their midst. In the white world, she was looked upon as an Indian. The only person that didn’t look upon her with disdain was Ridge. Even then, she knew that they had no future. Not only did she think he couldn’t accept that she married a Lakota (incorrectly, I might add), but she also knew how hard it would be for him when she brought her son back.

As a mother, I could completely understand Emma’s dilemma. On one hand, she wanted her son. She wanted the baby she she carried all those months. But she also knew that he would be better being raised by people that accepted him. The scene where her and Ridge rode away from the Lakota camp, leaving Chayton behind was heart breaking.

It was a mother’s instinct that made her go back to the camp. It was there they saw the carnage brought upon the tribe by the Confederate Army. Though she feared she was too late, Emma found Chayton scared, but unharmed. It was then she vowed that she would not be separated with him again. Taking him back to her parents house laid the grown work for the next section and the ending of this book.

Though this is a time long past, I felt Emma’s heartbreak that people wouldn’t accept an innocent three year old boy without slurring him or his mother. When Emma’s mom and sister embraced Chayton as part of the family, I rejoiced with Emma. When Ridge offered to marry Emma and happiness was within her grasp, a bitter enemy from the tribe comes to take Chayton away from her forever.

This is not a book that will give you the warm fuzzies. This is a book that will engage your emotions and maybe even make you a little teary.

4 out of 5.

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Big Girls Don’t Cry by Cathie Linz

Posted October 12, 2007 by Casee in Reviews | 6 Comments

Book description:

Leena Riley has returned to her hometown of Rock Creek with her tail between her legs. Her fabulous plus-size modeling career in Chicago never took off, and now the only job she can land is as a receptionist in a veterinarian’s office. She has to be desperate to work for Cole Flannigan…

Being two years older than Cole never spared her from his taunts in school. Now all grown up, Cole is still the golden boy, a sexy charmer with commitment issues and a short attention span—until Leena and her curves strut into his life. And though she turns his office upside-down, he can’t resist the animal attraction that makes him look at Leena in a whole new light…

This is my first book by this author and I loved it!! I was in the mood for something exactly like this. While reading at work, I found myself laughing out loud more than once.

Leena Riley never intended to return Rock Creek. Having left years earlier, Leena enjoyed her success as a plus-size model and secretly stuck it to every kid that made fun of her weight while she was in school. One of those kids that made fun of her was Cole Flannigan, who is now the town vet. Though he only made fun of her once, Leena made it a time he wouldn’t forget when she socked him in the face. She never thought she would actually be working for Cole, much less be attracted to him.

Cole had no idea that letting Leena talk him into hiring her would be one of the smartest things he’d ever done. In no time at all, she brings order to his office and his life. Organizing his files and even his patients, Cole wonders what he ever did without her. He also can’t help but be attracted to her. Cole has always been a man that appreciates a curvy woman and Leena is nothing if not curvy.

What I liked about this book is that it was a straight romance. Sure, there was conflict. Leena had major self-esteem issues, even being a plus-size model. She also thought that every compliment Cole gave her was a joke on his part. She ate full bags of Cool Ranch Doritos. Honestly, when she did that, I got full with her. She had a major problem with stress eating. She really did have issues, but they didn’t take away from the romance.

The secondary characters were great. Sue Ellen at first seemed a little ditzy. We soon find out that while she is a little looney, it’s in a way that is totally loveable. She will do anything to protect her sister and make her happy. She also had her own little secondary romance going on on the side. Wanting to finally be respectable, she had high hopes for her relationship with the high school football coach, Coach Russ. She didn’t want it to matter that she had dancing Elvis’s on her walls, that she loved pink, or that she used her oven as storage for her scrapbook.

The sense of family and friendships in Rock Creek made the book what it was. I loved reading about Cole’s best friend, Nathan, giving him a hard time about falling for Leena. I loved reading about Cole’s aunt, who happens to be a nun, counseling Leena without her even realizing it. I loved reading about Leena finally being comfortable in her body and helping a teenager realize that she’s fine the way she is.

It was also scenes like this that made me really enjoy this book.

Leena was helping Sue Ellen, her sister, out for an ad for the Mobile Home Park she manages:
Leena yanked open the bathroom door. “What do you think?”
“Wow.” Sue Ellen was clearly impressed. “Did you get new boobs?”
“No, I just can’t get them to stay in this dress” Leena tugged the bodice up.
“You look great. Sex sells,” Sue Ellen said. “Come on. The photographer is legally blind in one eye so he won’t notice if one of your boobs slips out. Just pull the dress up again. I’ll let you know if too much is showing.”

Or this (while conversing with Cole):

Suddenly Leena couldn’t breathe. She felt as if she’d swallowed an Altoid!

Wait–she had just swallowed an Altoid!

She didn’t dare cough, for fear he’d pound her on the back and her breasts would launch themselves at hom, fleeing the confines of her Jane Austen Does Dallas dress.

I really could go on and on. I just really enoyed the book and am looking forward to picking up more of Cathie Linz’s work.

4 out of 5.

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Never Love a Cowboy by Lorraine Heath

Posted October 10, 2007 by Book Binge Guest Blogger in Reviews | 2 Comments

“I would not make a good husband. I do, however, make an excellent lover…”Harrison Bainbridge, the second son of an English earl, left his home seeking a scandal-free life away from society’s stuffy restraints. Then he arrives in Texas, never expecting that a sassy saloon-keeper’s daughter would capture his eye. With her outspoken ways and flashing eyes, Jessye Kane is more than tempting. But although she is willing to be his partner in a daring business venture, she is unwilling to take the passion he offers.

Jessye knows that noble-born Harrison isn’t for the likes of her, but beneath his devil-may-care exterior, she senses a deeper vulnerability. Then he’s suddenly injured, risking his life to save her from mortal danger. And Jessye vows to do anything to make him whole again—-forcing this rugged scoundrel who claims he has no heart to take the greatest risk of all…on love.

Kit and Harrison decide to try and make money by hearding cattle. To do that, they need someone with money. Enter Jessye. She agrees to finance them but one condition: Harrison is not a partner. So whatever money they make, Harrison does not get his share. Kit refuses but Harrison convinces Kit to agree to the terms.

Jessye does not like Harrison. She think he’s a cheat, lazy and a scoundrel. She does not trust him at all. True he is a cheat. True he is a scoundrel. Lazy, no. Jessye would always see Harrison sitting in the shade while everyone picked cotton. Turns out he had a deal with Gray (from a Rogue in Texas). Harrison would match Gray bag for bag. Because Harrison finished his bag so fast, he’d sit in the shade waiting for Gray to catch up.

Jessye still doesn’t trust him and still has her mind made up about him. Which, I don’t blame her at first. During the cattle ride, she learns he’s a hard working man. He’s loyal and he protects those he cares about. Even after he saves one of the men riding with them from drowning, tears up their agreement and makes Harry a partner, she still doesn’t trust him.

The last part of this book is Harry dealing with an injury. There were jayhawkers harassing cattle hearders. Harry goes on ahead to make sure things are safe. Jessye insist on coming along. That’s another thing, Jessye is a strong woman and there is nothing wrong with that but sometimes you need to know when to pick your battles. This quote says it best:

Harry: Why you persist in proving you’re courageous? No one doubts that, least of all me. But a woman is susceptible to far greater dangers then men.
Jessye: I’m not weak!
Harry: I never said you were. But neither are you completely safe.

Jessye was forever trying to prove herself. After a while it got on my nerves. Anyway, right after this quote, they are ambushed. Harry’s legs are crushed and the rest of the books deals with Harry learning to walk and feeling like a man again.

Harry plays cards with Jessye’s dad and he wins the saloon Jessye and her father live/work at. Jessye is furious and believes Harry cheated. Harry says he didn’t. We later learn that her father cheated and let Harry win. So Harry would have a purpose in life and so he would have a reason to get up out of bed.

I have to say that I did enjoy this book. I did not like Jessye though. She loved Harry but didn’t trust him with her heart. There is a scene where they cut the deck and high card means they get married. Not the greatest proposal, I know. Instead of telling Harry she wants to marry for love not because of a card deal, she tries to leave during the night.

This is after Harry tells her a story about his last mistress. The mistress found out she was pregnant. Harry offered marriage but later found the mistress dead. She had tried to abort the child herself.And now Jessye is trying to run from their marriage. Yeah, Harry deserved a better leading lady.

Again, I enjoyed the story. Jessye… meh.

Grade: 4/5

Ps. I do apologize for the review being all over the place. It was the best way I could orgainze my thoughts.

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Review: Whispering Rock by Robyn Carr

Posted October 8, 2007 by Rowena in Reviews | 3 Comments

Review: Whispering Rock by Robyn CarrReviewer: Rowena
Whispering Rock by Robyn Carr
Series: Virgin River #3
Also in this series: Virgin River, Temptation Ridge (Virgin River, #6), , , , , , , , , Sheltering Mountain
Published by Mira Books
Publication Date: June 1st 2007
Genres: Contemporary, Romance
Pages: 363
Buy on Amazon | Barnes & Noble

A decorated U.S. Marine reservist, LAPD officer Mike Valenzuela was badly wounded in the line of duty, but has found hope and healing in Virgin River. When he agrees to become the town's first cop, he does so knowing it's time he settled down. Twice divorced and the lover of too many women, he secretly longs for the kind of commitment and happiness his marine buddies have found—a woman who can tie up his heart forever.

He finds that woman in Brie Sheridan, a Sacramento prosecutor who understands his drive to protect and serve. Virgin River becomes a safe haven for Brie after nearly losing her life at the hands of a crazed criminal. Though tough and courageous, she's got some fears she can't escape—but now she has someone who will show her just what it means to trust again. Mike will do anything to help Brie free herself from painful memories. Passionate, strong and gentle, he vows to give back to her what she's so selflessly given him—her heart, and with it, a new beginning.

I had to sit on this review for a few hours to think back on my reading experience with Whispering Rock. I enjoyed the book quite a bit, loving every page that was filled with Mike and Brie. This book started with a definite bang with the whole Brie’s in trouble and Mike turning around and going back to be with her in her time of need…even if she didn’t want him around, Mike was there anyway because he knew that he had some deep feelings for his best friend’s little sister.

The story starts out with Brie in the hospital having been brutally beaten and raped by the man that she tried to put behind bars for raping other women….the trial she fought and lost. In Shelter Mountain, we see that Brie has lost that trial and we see the devastation she went through because of it…she felt like such a failure because not only did she lose the case against the serial raper guy, but she also lost her husband to her best friend. So you can just imagine the kind of pain that Brie was going through. She was down on herself and her life and it was with the help of Mike Valenzuela that she slowly came back to the world of living.

It was through constant phone calls and lunches in Santa Rosa that Brie finally started to feel alive again. It was in Virgin River that she started to fall in love with Mike and Mike with her. The small town that brought together great couples such as Jack and Mel Sheridan then Preacher and Paige has done so again with Mike and Brie.

For me, I loved that we got to see the gradual pull of Mike to Brie. I loved that we got to literally see these two fall in love over the course of this book and I seriously loved how understanding and compassionate Mike was. He reminded me so much of Jack in Virgin River and I totally fell for him in this book. He was a great hero, one that captured a piece of my heart and will stay with me long after I have finished this book. The way he knew how to help Brie without pushing and prodding softened my heart toward him like nothing ever could.

There was still that small town feel to this book, with everything else going on in this book. The new characters that were introduced in this book added greatness to this story and I enjoyed getting to know Tom and Brenda, Vanessa and Paul and even the General.

I think what I liked most about this story was that in order for great things to happen, there also has to be some sadness as well…losing characters that were near and dear to my heart and then going through the loss that Vanessa, Paul, Tom and the others suffered through felt so …real. Their grief was felt by me throughout this story and I couldn’t keep the tears at bay while I read page after page of this story. That’s the one thing that I love most about reading Robyn Carr’s writing, is the passion that shows through her writing. Everything felt so real and apart of my life that I felt apart of their world in the backwoods and loved every minute of everything that surrounded this book.

I loved how everyone found a place for themselves in Virgin River…it was great to see Mike in action, trying to figure out and save the girls of his town, I loved when Mike was telling Brenda that she was apart of his town and he would do anything in his power to keep her and the other girls safe from whoever is doing this to them…I loved the conviction in which he went after the bad guys and I just loved him. I admired Brie for her courage in standing up to her demons and I enjoyed watching her progress coming back to life and I totally loved her Dad, for showing Brad up when he came groveling…goodness, I loved that part so much.

What I liked most about this series was how much the men love their women. So passionately and so fully, it made me totally jealous. It made me long for that kind of commitment from well, you know. Anyway, this series made me fall in love with being in love and I just love this series to pieces.

It’s a great series, this was a great story and I gave it a B, only because I wanted more of Mike and Brie’s story…the bits and pieces of everything else was great but for me, I just wanted more Mike and Brie and I finished the book wanting more. Aside from that, I enjoyed this book and am looking forward to more from Mrs. Carr, but seriously, I cannot wait….for Rick’s story.

Crossing fingers that the wait won’t be long…another job well done, Mrs. Carr.


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Suspect by Jasmine Cresswell

Posted October 4, 2007 by Casee in Reviews | 4 Comments

Book description:

Cynical attorney Liam Raven hid his father’s bigamy… until it was too late. Ironically, Liam specializes in divorce cases. But when Chloe Hamilton is charged with murdering her husband, a popular Denver mayor, he makes an exception.

Liam’s relationship to Chloe quickly surpasses client and attorney. Her former husband had many secrets—including a connection to Ron Raven’s other family. And aquitting Chloe means uncovering a string of lies and treachery that leads back to Liam’s father.

Suspect is the second book in the Raven Trilogy. You can find my review of the first book, Missing, here.

Liam Raven went into family law as a divorce attorney as a way of thumbing his nose at his bigamist father. Having discovered years prior to his father’s death that he was married to another woman, Liam kept quiet. I thought it was strange that he wouldn’t tell his mother. What kind of son wouldn’t tell their mom that her husband is married to another woman? I’m sure it makes for awkward dinner conversation, but come on. Well, it seems that Daddy Dearest was blackmailing Liam. Daddy told Liam that if he ratted him out, he would choose wife #2 over Liam’s mom. Obviously Liam cared a great deal about his mother and couldn’t risk his mom having the heartache not only of finding out her husband is a bigamist, but being thrown over for the “other woman”.

Before his days as Denver’s most prominent divorce lawyer, Liam was a criminal lawyer. When the Mayor of Denver is murdered, Liam is more than surprised when his widow shows up at his office begging him to defend her. Having started divorce proceedings for her months earlier, he hadn’t talked to her since she told him she was stopping the divorce. Chloe Hamilton drops a bombshell on him (and me) right from the get-go. Liam fathered Chloe’s daughter, Sophie. Liam argues with her until she reminds him the exact when and where of their encounter. After that, his arguments went out the window.

Even though Liam agrees to help her, he’s leery. Having successfully defended a woman charged with murdering her husband, Liam didn’t find out she was guilty until the verdict came back as Not Guilty. Oh and that was after he fell in love with the murdering bee-yotch. So while he wants to believe that the mother of his daughter isn’t capable of murder, experience has taught him to be not so trusting.

As in Missing, the plot in Suspect circles back around to the mysterious disappearance of Ron Raven. It seems that Ron’s business partner and the brother of his 2nd (and not legal) wife was doing business with the Mayor before his death. Rational that he is, Paul Fairfax wants to make Liam’s life as painful as possible when sees that Liam is involved with the late Mayor’s wife. He does this by leaking DNA of Liam and Chloe’s daughter given to him by the Mayor’s Chief of Staff. Though not willing to take the risk, he’s blackmailed into it. He either does it or the project that will refill his financial coffers will be axed permanently.

Though Chloe obviously played a substantial role in the book, I was more fascinated by Liam’s character. Chloe had been in a sham marriage from Day 1. Not knowing that she was marrying a gay man (yes, the Mayor was gay), Chloe had high hopes for the life and family she would make with her husband. That was a mistake. When she tried to get a divorce, Jason blackmailed her into staying married by threatening to out her father’s gambling habit. As a public figure, her father would have lost his job and his livelihood. On the night of his murder, her and Jason got into a spectacular fight where she vowed that she would be leaving no matter what his political aspirations were. Having encouraged him for years to come out of the closet, Chloe was sorely disappointed in his decision not to.

So together Liam and Chloe try to figure out who Jason’s lover was. What they don’t realize is that finding out the identity of his lover will also lead them to the identity of his murderer.

4 out of 5.

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