Saturday, February 28, 2009

Montana Creeds: Logan by Linda Lael Miller

Logan returns to his hometown, Stillwater Springs, Montana, to restore his ranch. He finds single mother, Briana, living in Dylans cabin with her two young sons, Josh and Alec. He soon becomes friends with the boys, and realizes he is falling in love with their mother. Their dad, Vance, abandoned them one night in the Walmart parking lot, and they've been living in Dylan's house ever since. Logan is also hoping to get back in touch with his brothers, Dylan, and Tyler. They haven't spoken to each other since their father Jake's funeral five years earlier. There was a big fight after Logan said some horrible things about their father. In time, Dylan comes around, but it takes Tyler, who's the youngest of the 3 brothers, awhile longer to agree to talk to Logan.

After months of hardly any contact and missed child support payments, Vance shows up in Stillwater Springs, with his new wife in tow. He claims he wants to make things right and be a father to his two sons. Things go well for awhile, then Heather, then his wife acts irresponsibly, while in charge of the children. The last straw is when she tries to kidnap the boys. That is pretty much the end of her and Vance's relationship.

This was my first Linda Lael Miller book, and definitely not my last. I am definitely going to read more of her books very soon, starting with the next book in the Montana Creeds Series. I also have several books from her other series' here too, that I am eager to read as well. I also want to ask my book reading friends if they can recommend any good western Romance Authors/Series/books. I love the small town feel, as well as the rugged men who find their ladies to love. My favorite character in this book was Briana. She lived very simply and made sure she had enough to get by, and was satisfied with that. I wish I could be more like her! I hope to hear more about them in the next books.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Temptation Ridge by Robyn Carr

Shelby McIntyre is moving to Virgin River to live with her uncle walt, while she's trying to get over the pain of recently losing her mother. She wants to take a break before going to nursing school. She is 25 years and old could be considered a "late bloomer". She doesn't plan on falling in love, but it happens. She meets Luke Riordan on her way into town, and they run into each other again soon after, at Jack's bar. Luke doesn't want to fall in love with her, he insists that he's not the type who will settle down and establish roots. He has come to Virgin River to take over the Chapman cabins. He soon finds a homeless boy named Art living in one of them. Art has Downs Syndrome, and has run away from his group home and his abusive care takers. Luke decides to let Art stay in the cabins, and gives him odd jobs to do around the cabins. He and Art soon become great friends. Luke's brothers Sean and Aiden show up occasionally.

As time goes on, Shelby decides that maybe it is time to move on, that maybe she wants more than Luke has to give her. She is accepted into San Francisco State's nursing program, but first She goes to Maui for a couple weeks, where she runs into Luke's brother Aiden, who gives her a better understanding of Luke. Shelby returns to Virgin River because she realizes Luke is the one she wants to be with. During this time, Luke realizes that he really can be happy, and realizes the person he wants is Shelby. He asks Shelby to marry him.

Mike and Brie give birth to a little girl.

The beloved Doc Mullins passes away after suffering a Heart Attack.

Joe Benson and Nikki (Vanessa's friend) get married. At this wedding, their other friend, Abby, is Depressed because of her non-existent marriage to her cheating husband. She sneaks away from the wedding and ends up to the bar, where she runs into Cameron (the guy who wanted to Date Vanessa) and they end up having sex. Abby ends up pregnant with his twins, but doesn't want him to find out. Eventually people start putting two and two together, and Cameron tries to assure her that he is nothing like her husband and he just wants to be there for his children.

Walt and Muriel continue to spend time to each other, and their feelings for each other grow as time goes on. Soon, Muriel accepts another role in a film and goes back to Los Angeles.

My thoughts: Once again, another AWESOME book in the series. I won't say this is my most favorite book in the series, I think that is still Shelter Mountain. But it was definitely a great addition to the story. My favorite characters are still Mel and Jack. I love reading about their relationship, easygoing and relaxed, and the interactions between Mel and the other residents of Virgin River. She's so easy to talk to, it's no wonder everyone loves her.

Shelby reminded me alot of myself. I'm 27 but I feel like I haven't experienced as much as other 27 year olds have. I didn't get into my first relationship until I was 25. I definitely still have growing up to do, but it's figuring out how to get to the next stup that is difficult. I did think, at times, that Walt and Vanni were a little too overprotective of Shelby. I think Shelby is alot stronger than either of them give her credit for, and they can't keep her from being hurt. It's part of life and also part of being in a relationship.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

The Sparkling One by Susan Mallery

The Sparkling One is first in The Marcelli Sisters of Pleasure Road Series.

The Marcellis are an Italian family that own their own vineyard and make their own Wine. Lorenzo and Tessa Marcelli live with their son, Marco, his wife, Colleen, and their 4 children. Colleen's mother, Mary Margaret O'shea also lives with them.

Marco and Colleen have 4 daughters. 28 year-old Katie is the oldest and she owns a party planning company. She was almost married once, but she and her fiance broke up right before their wedding. Then come 27 year old twins Franchesca and Brenna. Brenna and her husband are currently going through a divorce after Brenna finds out he was cheating on her. Brenna has returned home to work at the winery, something she has always had an interest in. Francesca is currently working on her doctorate, where she has to study peoples' reactions to different appearances, which lead to some pretty interested costumes, getups. Mia, the youngest is 18 years old, and is engaged to David Striker. This really is the main theme of this book. David's father, Zach feels they are too young to get married and tries to come up with a scheme to break up their wedding. His is successful family Attorney, and when his firm needs to plan a charity event, he hires Katie, with an alterior motive to get her on his side. Instead of getting her on his side, they end up falling in love and at the end of the book, when Mia and David decide to call off the wedding, Katie and Zach announce they have fallen in love and decide to get married.

There is a section in here that mentions the sinificance of the titles of a few of the other books in this series. When they were younger, Katie, Brenna, and Francesca had made their own bottles:

Katie~~~ The Sparkling One: Katie Marcelli is a carbonated combination of wit and charm. She dazzles, she sparkles, she shines. Like the champagne she embodies, she is only ever special, iridescent, and valued.

Francesca~~~The Sassy One: Francesca Marcelli tosses her long hair in a gesture that marks her as not just the pretty one, but also the Sassy One. Bold, inventive, with just a hint of irreverence, she is the essence of blossoming illucution.

Brenna~~ The Seductive One: Brenna Marcelli's sultriness proves that she is the Seductive One. Dark, sweet, and slightly mysterios, she is a gleaming testament to all young women on the verge of lush ripeness.

My thoughts: I really enjoyed this story and loved reading the characteristics of an Italian Family, since I'm 1/4 Italian. Though I thought Lorenzo was sometimes a little too hard headed. I also thought it was kinda pathetic how Francesca tried to get Brenna's ex to come on to her. My favorite characters in this series (so far) have been Katie, and the two grandmothers. I can't wait to read the rest of this series, and after reading this book, I really don't know what took me so long to start. This sort of reminds me of the family in My Big Fat Greek Wedding, except this family seems a little larger.
I finished this on 2/18/2009.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

A Single Thread by Marie Bostwick

Evelyn moves to New Bern after her divorce. One day she stumbles upon this charming little shop in a courtyard, which reminds her how she's always dreamed of having her own quilt shop. She takes a risk by opening the shop, and although in the beginning things are a bit shaky, she meets some great friends. She puts on this quilting event to support a Breast Cancer charity and on this day she meets 3 people who become her best friends:

Abigail is very well-known around town. She donates her time and money to many charities, and a quilting shop is really the last place she expects to find herself, but at her neice's encouraging, she goes to one event and finds she really enjoys herself. Especially after she makes a beautiful quilt for this 12 year old girl she meets at the shelter.

Liza is Abigails neice and has recently been turned over to Abigail's care after shoplifting and stealing a sweater. She lost her own mom to Breast Cancer and when she finds out about the event that Evelyn is having, she blackmails her aunt into going with her.

Margot is between jobs and finds herself in New Bern, and also attends the quilt shop for the first time on the day of the event, where she meets Abigail, Liza, and Evelyn.

Evelyn finds out she has Breast Cancer on the day before the event, and turns to her 3 friends for support, since her family doesn't live anywhere nearby. They help her with running her store and make sure she has meals, and Abigail helps her find the best doctor in the area. She has a lumpectomy, but then finds out they did not get all the cancer out, so she needs to have a full mastectomy. Her shop is in danger of having to close. Right after she has her surgery, she comes up with a plan to keep her store from closing.
Liza makes it through the year on probation, and after some shocking discoveries about her aunt and her mother, they become closer. Liza decides to apply for art school.

Abigail continues to do alot of charity work at the shelter and even donates some funding to Evelyn's shop.
My thoughts: I liked this book. This was a first time author for me, and I would like to read more of her books. I liked reading about the characters and I liked reading about their interactions with each other. It did take awhile for the author to reveal what had happened between Abigail and her sister. I think my favorite character was Evelyn and I was always interested what was going to happen to her next.
I finished this book on 2/9/2009

My thoughts: This is a nice change from the type of book I have been reading lately. I like the way it switches back and forth between Evelyn and Abigail. Although it would be interesting to read things from Liza's point of view. I get a kick out of reading the exchanges between Abigail and Liza. Abigail is hilarious! I'm not real sure what I think about Margot.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Fireside by Susan Wiggs

This book is 5th in the Lakeshore Chronicles Series, set at Camp Kioga in the fictional town of Avalon, New York.

After being dumped and fired, Kimberly Van Dorn goes to visit her mom, Penelope, in Avalon. Her mom has turned her home into a boarding house, which is now called Fairfield House. Kim is not sure about this in the beginning, but grows to love the people who are staying at Fairfield House. However, there's more to this story. Bo Crutcher got a girl (yolanda) pregnant 12 years ago, and has not been allowed to see his son, because of her, despite the fact that he has always sent money. Until one day, when he gets a call saying Yolanda has been to a detention center and it's quite possible she could be deported. He gets immediate custody of his son, AJ. AJ IS terrified of what is happening to his mother and it takes him awhile to warm up to Bo. Bo, meanwhile, is about to get his shot at the Majors. He hires Kimberly to do all of his Public Relations work for him. They eventually fall in love with each other and Bo wants to ask her to marry him .Right around this time, AJ gets an idea from researching on the internet, that if Bo marries Yolanda, that she will not be deported. Bo agrees to do this, as hard as it is to leave Kimberly behind. As sad as she feels, she understands, that AJ is the most important thing here.

So, Bo takes AJ back to Texas, and is ready to marry Yolanda. THEN, the private investigators discover that Yolanda's dad was in fact born in the U.S., so Yolanda does not have to be deported. So, Bo is free to marry Kimberly, and Yolanda and AJ move to Avalon so they can be closer to Bo.

My thoughts: The only thing I did not like about this book was the fact that all the characters from the previous books were hardly mentioned. My favorite character in this series is Daisy. I also really loved Olivia and her husband, and Jenny Majesky. My favorite part of this book was hearing how Bo's relationship with AJ progressed and how they became closer as time went on. I was not expecting the twist in the story at the end of the book, but I was so happy that Bo ended up being able to marry Kim. I hope the next book Lakeshore Christmas will start out with their wedding!! I didn't think I would like Kim so much in the beginning of the book, but I grew to really like her.

I finished this book on February 3rd, 2009.