Tag: RaeAnne Thayne

Guest Review: Sweet Laurel Falls by RaeAnne Thayne

Posted September 20, 2012 by Book Binge Guest Blogger in Reviews | 4 Comments

Judith’s review of Sweet Laurel Falls (Hope’s Crossing #3) by RaeAnne Thayne.

Spring should bring renewal, but Maura McKnight-Parker cannot escape the past. Still reeling from the loss of one daughter, the former free spirit is thrown for a loop by the return of her older daughter, Sage, and the reappearance of her first love, Sage’s father. Jackson Lange never knew his daughter—never even knew that he’d left the love of his life pregnant when he fled their small town—but he has never forgotten Maura.Now they are all back, but Sage has her own secret, one that will test the fragile bonds of a reunited family. Thrown together by circumstances and dedicated to those they love, Maura and Jackson must learn to move forward and let go of the mistakes of their past for the bright future that awaits them and their friends in Hope’s Crossing.

This third book in the Hope’s Crossing Trilogy caps off the experiences of three women, all of whom have experienced some of life’s worst and who must find a way to keep on keeping on. Maura is a woman of experience, single mother at 17, divorced from a rock star, grieving the loss of their child due to a drunk driving accident, and now facing the father of her first daughter, a man who she loved deeply and completely and who chose to walk away from her, from a father he hated, from a community who represented everything he resented. Now a world-class, world-reknown architect, Jackson Lange discovers he has a daughter who is fully grown and whose smile and laughing spirit captivates him almost from the start, but does little to ameliorate the deep anger and disappointment at not been given the precious years with his daughter.

This novel is filled to the brim with pain, but before you write it off as a “downer,” it is also balanced with characters who are kind and generous because they have come through their own deep waters of grief and disappointment and become better for them, and with the dynamic between a mother and daughter who are working very hard to survive the loss of a daughter and sister. There is also a pervasive sense of community that brightens and enlivens the scenes in this book, and there are a couple of background characters who manage to find redemption and forgiveness along the way. So in spite of lots that is sad and deeply moving, there is a balance that keeps it possible for the reader to experience the story without being totally bummed out. A number of the characters who form Maura’s friendship circle are carryovers from the first two books so this is something of a continuing story for them as well. (I think that’s the real beauty of series anyway.) And this is also the story of a young woman, Maura’s daughter, whose life is going through some pivotal changes and whose personal crisis forms the linchpin for other relationships that are important to the story.

All in all, this is a wonderfully entertaining book and one I am delighted to have experienced. Laurel Falls, the site mentioned in the story’s title, was critical to Maura and Jackson’s early love story and continues to be important to them as they are re-united. It is also a focal point for the entire community at one point or another. This is the kind of love story that causes the reader to heave a deep sigh of satisfaction at the end. I wouldn’t have missed it for the world.

I give it a rating of 4.25 out of 5

The Series:
Book Cover 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.

What I Read Last Week

Posted December 20, 2011 by Tracy in Features | 5 Comments

Well it’s been crazy at our house this past week. First my little one got a bad cold and fever (I was home with her when I wrote the last edition of What I Read Last Week), then we had a really early birthday party for my oldest (her birthday isn’t until the 30th), then she got sick, then my youngest had another belt test for her red belt on Saturday (which she passed with max points – go baby go!), then she came home, threw up and continued to do so for the next 15 hours. She’s feeling much better now but has been at work with me for most of the past two days so it’s been a bit hectic. Life is fun. lol Needless to say I’m behind on EVERYTHING, including this post! But eventually it all gets taken care of. As long as my family gets healthy soon I’ll be one happy camper.
Here’s my youngest breaking a board at her red belt test. A couple of practice kicks and then she got it in 2.

So how are all of you? What have you been up to? What are you reading lately? I’m afraid with life in a whirlwind I’ve not been blog hopping lately so I hope you’re all well.
What I read last week:

I started off the week with The Cowboy’s Christmas Miracle by RaeAnne Thayne. This was the book that I read for my monthly TBR challenge and it was pretty good. Minor angst between the h/h but other than that a sweet Christmas tale. You can read my review here. 3.5 out of 5

All the Pleasures of the Season by Lecia Cornwall was my next read. A novella that was about a woman who tries to do what her family wants when it comes to marriage and her future but between the evil fiancé and the fact that she’s in love with someone else it just didn’t work. You can read my review here. 4 out of 5

Faery Wedding by Mina Carter was a short read about a woman who is being forced to marry a man she thinks is old and probably evil just to save her family. She goes out the night before and gets her groove on with a great guy who shows up later and surprises her in a big way. It was an ok story but definitely more of an erotic tale rather than love. 2 out of 5

A Knight in Cowboy Boots by Suzie Quint is a book that I read for The Book Binge. This was the story of a girl who basically kidnaps her nephew after the baby’s father kills her sister, the baby’s mother. She goes into hiding but ends up falling for a guy. He’s great but she knows she can’t stay in one place even if she’s in love. It was a pretty good story but there was a bit of hick-speak that made me a bit crazy as I was reading. Luckily they only spoke a bit in hick-speak and didn’t THINK that way. lol 3.75 out of 5

8 Seconds on the Mountain by PD Singer is a short related to Mountain series. This story had the boys, Kurt and Jake, invading the stocks at a rodeo. Kurt riles up the cowboys and makes a bet that he can stay on a bull for 8 seconds. It was cute, short read. 3 out of 5

Priority One by Stephani Hecht is book 4 in the EMS Heat series. I’ve not read the first 3 books but didn’t feel that it was necessary in order to read this one. The story was about newbie EMS Dylan who is mightily attracted to Kaleb the firefighter. The story covers the men getting together and Dylan, who is dealing with emotions left over from when he got kicked out of his parents’ house and his feelings of betrayal from a previous relationship. The romance in this is a bit non-existent as we’re told that the men are basically inseparable but we don’t get to witness any of that. It was a good story just a little short on romance for my liking. 3 out of 5

Beneath the Neon Moon by Theda Black was a free book given away by All Romance eBooks this past week. It was about Zach and Mal who wake up one day and they are chained together in a basement. They discover after a bit that Mal has been bitten by a werewolf and will soon turn one and Zach is to be his first meal. Close proximity, however, bring the two young men together and the last thing either wants is for one to die and the other to be ridden with guilt forever. The book is about Zach and Mal getting to know each other and becoming closer as well as trying to figure out how to change what seems like an inevitable outcome. Really good story, well done. 4 out of 5

I wanted to read When I Fall by Belinda McBride but it had been so long since I had read An Uncommon Whore that I decided to re-read it first. Griffin Hawke is looking for the king of his people and he ends up finding him in an unlikely place. Pasha aka King Helios has been a slave and a whore for years and he knows nothing different. When Griffin finally gets him off planet Helios has to deal the memory/control chip that’s in his head as well as his thoughts of being King and of course his growing feelings for Griffin. It’s a really good book and it was just as good the second time around. 4 out of 5

When I Fall by Belinda McBride starts a year after Helios and Griffin finally make it back to their planet. Helios has fallen into the roll of king easily enough and has made wonderful changes for his people. It seems though that Griffin (this book is from Griffin’s POV while book 1 was from Helios’s) is feeling a bit unneeded and left out. The story deals with many aspects of the men’s world and Griffin’s feelings of impending loss (of Helios). While that was great and I enjoyed the writing tremendously I felt the story lacked the strength of the first book when it came to the men’s relationship. Griffin doubted Helios’s love, Helios kept secrets from Griffin but nothing really got worked out as the conclusion of the book kind of glossed over the issues. Because of a near death experience it seemed that the problems weren’t to be dealt with in depth – Helios admits he did wrong and so did Griffin and then it was all ok. I still gave the book a good grade because as I said, I liked the writing but the lack of true resolution of the problems bothered me a bit, I must admit. 4 out of 5

My Book Binge Reviews that posted last week:
Happy Reading!!

TBR Challenge Review: The Cowboy’s Christmas Miracle by RaeAnne Thayne

Posted December 14, 2011 by Tracy in Reviews | 4 Comments

Christmas was tough for widow Jenna Wheeler and her four children. But even though she’d sold part of her family’s land to make ends meet, she was determined to spin the holiday into the stuff of magic–no matter what it took. Now if she could only find a job….

Maybe her new landlord could oblige–gorgeous, child-averse Carson McRaven. He needed a chef, and he knew the lovely Jenna could do a bang-up job–if only she could keep her brood out of his hair. But as he found himself catapulted into the cheerful chaos of her family…not to mention Jenna’s arms…he learned more about the spirit of Christmas than he’d ever dreamed.

After her husband died Jenna Wheeler had to sell the 5000 acres of land that had been in her husband’s family for generations. She managed to negotiate 20 acres for herself and her 4 children when making the real estate deal but her kids still can’t seem to keep themselves off the land where they once ran free.

Carson McRaven is a billionaire entrepreneur and he’s the one who purchased the Wheeler property. He’s not thrilled about the kids that keep invading his land but he’s trying to be as patient as possible especially since he honestly believes that Jenna Wheeler has her hands full. When Carson discovers that she’s got a catering business on top of being a mom he’s shocked. He’s also quite pleased that her food is so good. When the chef he’s hired to cook for his guests at Christmas comes down with an unexpected case of appendicitis he manages to talk Jenna into covering for the ill chef. This puts the couple in close proximity and has them both feeling things that they don’t want to feel.

When Jenna is hurt on Carson’s property he feels responsible and heads to her house to help her with her kids and to help make the Christmas holiday wonderful for everyone.

This was a free book that I received from Tell Harlequin last year but never got around to reading. It was a perfect book to pick up for this month’s TBR Challenge where we were supposed to read a holiday romance.

Carson is purported as a hard hearted businessman but while we see a bit of the businessman I didn’t see all that much hard heartedness. Sure he wasn’t unsure of himself when it came to kids but he didn’t hate them. When they show up on his doorstep to bring thank you gifts from their mom does he shoo them away and tell them to leave him alone? No. While we’re told of his coldness what we SEE is a man who just isn’t used to being around children. He’s great with his guests and actually quite friendly. But when he ends up at the Wheeler house with Jenna and the kids at Christmas and realizes exactly what’s happening with his feelings how will that effect the friendship that he and Jenna have developed?

Jenna is one determined mom. She’s pretty amazing in that she works from home most of the time so while the kids are at school she’s cooking and sewing and doing the little extra’s that we all wish we had time for. She’s not happy with Carson pretty much bribing her into cooking for his guests but when she finally capitulates she’s thrilled with the food and the kitchen in Carson’s house. When Carson helps her after her accident at his place she finds that the man who is supposedly cold and unfeeling is more than she thought. He’s kind, helpful, thoughtful and just a good guy. She doesn’t want to feel the things she feels for him but she can’t seem to help herself.

I really liked the two of them together and I saw such a wonderful friendship blossoming. While Jenna and Carson were thoroughly attracted to each other and I loved the developing friendship I just didn’t see the love connection. I’m happy that they worked everything out and that Carson became the man he thought he could be when it came to family but I just didn’t see the romance. IDK maybe I’m trying to read more into it than there was but while it was sweet it didn’t scream romance to me. I guess that’s the way it has to be when there are 4 kids involved. I’m not sure.

So while I liked the book I did feel a little unsure of the romance in the book. If you want a sweet, kid filled, pretty angst free romance than this would be a good one to read.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5

RaeAnne Thayne
Harlequin