Tag: Linda Lael Miller

Guest Review: Big Sky Wedding by Linda Lael Miller

Posted April 12, 2014 by Judith in Reviews | 0 Comments

Big Sky WeddingJudith’s review of Big Sky Wedding (Parable Montana, #5) by Linda Lael Miller

Wedding bells are ringing in Parable, Montana, but Brylee Parrish hasn’t enjoyed the sound since being jilted at the altar by Hutch Carmody. She’s over Hutch now, and running a multimillion-dollar business is challenging enough for this country gal. So she should avoid falling head-over-boot-heels for A-list actor Zane Sutton. He’s come home to his rodeo roots, but Hollywood lured him away once and just might again. Yet everything about him, from his easy charm to his concern for his young half brother, seems too genuine to resist…. 

Zane didn’t come to Parable for love-but count on a spirited woman to change a jaded cowboy’s mind. Problem is, Brylee’s not convinced he’s here to stay. Good thing he’s determined to prove to her, kiss by kiss, that she’s meant to be his bride.

This entire Parable, Montana Series has been filled with fun reading from the get-go.  I like Miller’s writing anyway, but I was especially enticed to keep reading as she filled these stories with people who weren’t the usual residents of most cowboy Western romances.  The heroine in this story first made her appearance in an earlier novel when she was left in emotional shambles at the altar by Hutch Carmody whose own personal history is unusual and whose relationships have been questionable until he finally seemed to get his head on straight.  Unfortunately, getting his life turned around meant that Brylee Parrish was “out of luck.”

Now she is an award winning, multi-millionaire kind of corporate CEO who also has an interest in her brother’s ranch and where she lives in her own apartment.  Yet she is very much a part of that family made up of her brother’s new and pregnant wife, a woman with which has has been in love for years and with whom he had two children long before they were married.  Brylee is one of those kind of women who felt she had no alternative but to pick herself up and move on.  She may truly long for the love of a good man and a family of her own, but she isn’t sure but what her emotional traumas may not allow her to be open to that kind of future.  Along comes a man who won’t take “no” for an answer and before she knows it, Brylee is being pursued in ways she never dreamed.

This is another wonderful Miller romance set in the modern West but filled with people who live in modern times but have cherished the old-fashioned values of home and hearth.  That doesn’t mean that there are some truly different people in Parable, Montana.  They are the ones that make these stories such fun and whose encounters with one another are the source of repeated chuckles for the reader.  Miller’s story telling abilities are legend and her continued popularity with romance readers testifies to the fact that she manages to keep coming up with characters and stories that entice us to keep on reading.  So it is here.  I was particularly anxious to see what she would do with a woman like Brylee Parrish, a person who needed to gain a sense of herself and her own worth aside from her business prowess.  She needed to get past the hurts and the worries of bygone days and Zane seemed determined to love her into becoming who she really could be.  She was a curious mix of assertiveness in her business dealings but terribly lost and insecure in her personal life.  Ms Miller really has done a character study with this woman and I think it is particularly poignant for women reading this story.  I have a feeling that many will see themselves within the character of Brylee Parrish.

I keep expecting that novels in series will wax and wane, that the tension and intensity will falter.  Not here.  These stories are crafted to keep the reader not only informed in the new chapter of the Parable, Montana people but brings them up to date on the doings of characters from past stories.  In addition, these friendships keep maturing and growing more fulfilling for the individuals as they not only find love but manage to embrace deeper truths within themselves and find ways of sharing their joy with others.  There are iconic characters here.  Take Opal for instance.  She’s the housekeeper/homemaker who shows up with her suitcase and stays just until the family in question doesn’t need her anymore.  She married the town preacher but everyone knows that when she’s needed, she’ll be there.  I think every small town or village has someone like Opal that everyone knows and loves.

This was another great read and for those who like stories set in the contemporary West this will be an enjoyable reading experience.  If you haven’t read the series it is worth starting with Book One.

I give this novel a rating of 4 out of 5

The Series:
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You can read more from Judith at Dr J’s Book Place.

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

Guest Review: Big Sky Summer by Linda Lael Miller

Posted July 30, 2013 by Judith in Reviews | 0 Comments

16160183Judith’s review of Big Sky Summer (Swoon-Worthy Cowboys #4) by Linda Lael Miller

 With his father’s rodeo legacy to continue and a prosperous spread to run, Walker Parrish has no time to dwell on wrecked relationships. But country-western sweetheart Casey Elder is out of the spotlight and back in Parable, Montana. And Walker can’t ignore that his “act now, think later” passion for Casey has had consequences. Two teenage consequences! 

Keeping her children’s paternity under wraps has always been part of Casey’s plan to give them normal, uncomplicated lives. Now the best way to hold her family together seems to be to let Walker be a part of it-as her husband of convenience. Or will some secrets-like Casey’s desire to be the rancher’s wife in every way-unravel, with unforeseen results?

I think the gist of this story is . . . “O what tangled webs we weave when first we practice to deceive.”  So it was with Singer Casey Elder, at home now in the little town in Montana where she delights in raising her two fatherless children and simply having time to herself out of the spotlight.  Her kids are delightful and she is doing a fine job, yet her son keeps asking about their dad to no avail.  Her eldest, her daughter, just has stopped asking, yet there is no doubt that she has a hole in her heart that would be filled perfectly by a dad.  Yet Casey, for all her celebrity status and her performance success, is a woman who is driven by insecurity and whose past with Walker Parrish has seemed to be an embarrassment.  It’s not that he isn’t successful, it’s just that she wants her kids to herself.  Walker knows they are his and he wants Casey to tell them, but now they are teens and she has put off telling them for so long that she is truly fearful–as well she should be!  It’s a situation that has not gotten better with her silence.  What’s going to happen when the kids find out that their honorary “uncle” is really their dad?

This story, like many other Miller tales, is based in the family and community dynamic.  Reading stories filled with people that have become familiar is part of their charm and their on-going attraction to many of us.  Her stories are also filled with the messiness of life, the push/pull that seems to dog the steps of all human beings and the kinds of difficult situations that bite all of us in the butt when we aren’t forthright and honest up front.  That is perhaps the real lesson in this novel.  No matter how reluctant Casey may be, no matter how successful, no matter how laid back Walker may think and exist, lying by omission is never acceptable, any more than an intentional lie.  So Casey comes to find out, and the fall-out, the consequence of her choices are the substance of this story.  I never enjoy seeing kids hurt by the unwise decisions of parent who should know better.  Perhaps I feel so strongly about this story because of my own father’s experience of being adopted by his aunt and uncle as a baby but who always knew who his parents were, who had a close relationship with his biological dad and all his many siblings.  Being honest and upfront from the get-go really never hurts in the long haul.

This is a fine story in a very good series.  Many of the characters are familiar and it is like visiting old friends.  Yet there is a sense of freshness about each of these novels, a quality that really good writers seem capable of giving their stand alone series novels.  This book is no exception.  It is also not a disappointment, and while there are those who have criticized writers like Ms Miller for writing a lot of books within a specific genre, I applaud a good writer for staying with what she knows and loves.  Believe me:  I’ll keep on reading them.

I give this book a rating of 4 out of 5.

You can read more from Judith at Dr J’s Book Place.

 

This book is available from Harlequin HQN.  You can buy it here or here in e-format.

Guest Review: An Outlaw’s Christmas by Linda Lael Miller

Posted September 28, 2012 by Book Binge Guest Blogger in Reviews | 0 Comments

Judith’s review of An Outlaw’s Christmas by Linda Lael Miller

With his wild heart, Sawyer McKettrick isn’t ready to settle down on the Triple M family ranch in Arizona. So he heads to Blue River, Texas, to seek a job as marshal. But in a blinding snowstorm he’s injured—and collapses into the arms of a prim and proper lady in calico.The shirtless, bandaged stranger recuperating in teacher Piper St. James’s room behind the schoolhouse says he’s a McKettrick, but he looks like an outlaw. As they wait out the storm, the handsome loner has Piper remembering long-ago dreams of marriage and motherhood. But for how long is Sawyer willing to call Blue River home?

As the gray skies clear, Piper’s one holiday wish just might bring two lonely hearts together forever.

Yes it is a quintessential Linda Lael Miller book; yes, it’s set in the Old West and reeks of the culture and social norms of the 19th century;  yes, it’s got a ruggedly handsome and hard-riding cowboy as its hero, one who has experienced just about everything a man on the move can experience;  no, there are not dark and erotic scenes here, but wait!  It’s a Christmas story, for gosh sakes, and as such it is a wonderful, readable, and heart-strings-pulling tale that brings in all the good stuff we all prize about this wonderful season.

It’s not your usual love story because the prim and proper school teacher and the hard body cowboy don’t fall madly in lust.  In fact, theirs is a story filled with fear and resentment, concern for her reputation and worry over whether Sawyer will even survive his wound.  It is a story that has some mystery around its edges, but it is filled with characters that are real and some who you wish didn’t ever have to live to make others miserable.  There’s the brothel madam who is raising her daughter with love and caring and in spite of her “fallen” status in the community, insists that her daughter have the best of everything she can provide, including the never-failing love of a mother.  In fact, the scenes where that particular mother’s love is most demonstrated are some of the most emotional in the whole book.  There is the dentist who is the only health care professional in the town, who every once in  awhile re-affirms that he is a dentist and not a doctor, but who never fails to respond to a call for care.  How he handles his witch-on-wheels wife is cute, too.  There is Sawyer’s family who stand by Piper no matter what.  There are others in the town of  Blue River who are special in every way, and there is the joy of a beautiful holiday that is seen by readers through the eyes of the children who are worried that the blizzard will wipe out their Christmas performance.

This is a delightful holiday story filled with warm fuzzies and a love story that is as slow growing as winter grass.  Yet it is built on respect and the realization that inner beauty is quite possibly the most valuable commodity a person can possess and little Piper St. James has it in spades.  It’s a book that will warm your heart, entertain your mind, and be deeply satisfying.  We all love the intense and erotic.  We do, after all, love romance fiction.  But every once in a while a story comes along that keeps us looking at love from a different perspective and this is one of those stories.

I give it rating of 4 out of 5

You can read more from Judith at Dr J’s Book Place.

This book is available from HQN Books. You can buy it here or here in e-format.

Book Tour Excerpt & Scavenger Hunt: Big Sky Mountain by Linda Lael Miller

Posted August 29, 2012 by Tracy in Reviews | 0 Comments

This excerpt is being shared as part of Linda Lael Miller’s Big Sky Mountain Blog Tour. There is some great swag being given away. Click here for details.

The “First Lady of the West,” #1 New York Times bestselling author Linda Lael Miller, brings you back to Parable, Montana-where love awaits in the second book of her new Big Sky Series!

With his rugged good looks, vast wealth and family name, hell-raiser Hutch Carmody is still the golden boy of Parable, Montana. But he’s done some growing up, making peace with his illegitimate half brother and inheriting half of Whisper Creek Ranch, which should have been all his. These days, Hutch knows there are some things money can’t buy: like the heart of loving, ladylike divorcé Kendra Shepherd.

Kendra’s quiet mansion reminds her of what she wants most – a devoted husband and the pitter-patter of little feet. She can’t get Hutch Carmody out of her mind. But a rough-and-tumble cowboy like Hutch, coming home for family dinner? Seems crazy! Then again, crazier dreams have become reality under the vast Montana sky.

Excerpt:

Before Joslyn could offer a response to that, Madison, Shea, Callie and the dog trailed back in the kitchen, making further discussion of Hutch Carmody impossible.

Kendra was still flustered, though. Her heart pounded and her throat and sinuses felt strangely thick—was she coming down with something? Every instinct urged her to get the heck out of there, now, but the idea seemed cowardly and, besides, Madison was just starting to let herself be part of the group.

If they rushed off to town, the little girl would be understandably confused.

So Kendra decided to stay, at least until after supper. She was a grown woman, a mother. Joslyn had been right—it was time she started trusting herself. Hutch had always held an infuriating attraction for her, but she was older now, and wiser, and she had more self-control.

Again, find out more about the blog tour and scavenger hunt HERE.

Linda Lael Miller is a #1 New York Times and USA TODAY bestselling author of more than one hundred historical and contemporary novels, most of which reflect her love of the West. Raised in Northport, Washington, the self-confessed barn goddess now lives in Spokane, Washington. Linda hit a career high in 2011 when all three of her Creed Cowboys books—A Creed in Stone Creek, Creed’s Honor and The Creed Legacy—debuted at #1 on the New York Times bestseller list.  To learn more about Linda, visit www.LindaLaelMiller.com.

Guest Review: Big Sky Mountain by Linda Lael Miller

Posted August 29, 2012 by Book Binge Guest Blogger in Reviews | 0 Comments

Judith’s review of Big Sky Mountain (Swoon-Worthy Cowboys #2) by Linda Lael Miller

With his rugged good looks, vast wealth and family name, hell-raiser Hutch Carmody is still the golden boy of Parable, Montana. But he’s done some growing up-making peace with his illegitimate half brother and inheriting half of Whisper Creek Ranch, which should have been all his. These days, Hutch knows there are some things money can’t buy: like the heart of loving, ladylike divorcé e Kendra Shepherd.

Kendra’s quiet mansion reminds her of what she wants most-a devoted husband and the pitter-patter of little feet. She can’t get Hutch Carmody out of her mind. But a rough-and-tumble cowboy like Hutch, coming home for family dinner? Seems crazy! Then again, crazier dreams have become reality under the vast Montana sky.

Having read the first book in this series, I was delighted to find this second novel and continue the story of the citizens of Parable, Montana, especially the “other brother” whose anger over his father’s will, his anger over much in and out of his life was the talk of the town from time to time.  Yet by the time this new story has emerged, Hutch and his brother have made their piece, his brother has sold him the other half of the Whisper Creek Ranch, and now once again Hutch’s birthright is once again safe, at least in his mind.  What isn’t sure is his future as he has wanted to have the home and happiness his brother found, but even as he is hoping he has found that future, he realizes that there is only one woman who can ever bring that kind of settled happiness into his life–Kendra.

This is another fine example of Ms Miller’s writing that blossoms best when writing about family, friends, community, and the tensions that mark most human relationships.    Here she continues the stories that began in book one, stories that were left hanging on purpose and which here are fleshed out and expanded to make this novel as compelling as the first one.  Once again Ms Miller also brings characters into the scenes that are sure to pop up in future books in this series, either as continuing background characters or future featured players.  This story is also full of the deep emotion that make Miller’s stories resonate with reality.  Not alot of overt sexy scenes, but the sexual tension is there.  There is humor and characters who bring a sense of history to the family interaction.  When all is said and done, this is a wonderful, warm, and engaging novel and I was delighted to be able to read and review it.

Those of us who love Western and cowboy romance have long been fans of Ms Miller’s family sagas and this newest series continues that writing tradition.  This series lifts up the joy that comes from re-discovering the connections that real love and warm caring bring to life, those like Hutch experienced once with Kendra and could possible realize once more.  There are sexy stories and then there are truly romantic ones that are filled with the human connection and the emotions that grow into life-long commitment.  Such is this story.  It will “warm the cockles of your heart.”  You owe it to yourself to experience this book.

I give it a rating of 4.25 out of 5

The Series:
Book Cover Book Cover

You can read more from Judith at Dr J’s Book Place.

This book is available from HQN Books. You can buy it here or here in e-format.