Review: Peace in the Valley by Ruth Logan Herne

In spite of their differences, Trey Walker Stafford knows he owes his life to cowboy and legendary rancher Sam Stafford–the uncle who rescued him after his parents’ death. Trey had left the Double S Ranch to pursue music against Sam’s wishes, but returns to central Washington when he learns he’s the best match for a procedure that could save Sam’s life. Although Trey’s found country music fame and success, he’s also endured the tragic loss of his wife. He croons about love, but struggles with a yawning emptiness he can’t explain.

Overwhelmed by a growing list of challenges, but mistrustful of Stafford men, single mother Lucy Carlton reluctantly accepts Trey’s help to revive her crumbling farm when Sam instructs him to repay the overdue debt to her family.

As the two grow closer, Trey slowly begins to open his heart to this beautiful woman and strives to let go of the grief he’s held for years. Lucy has a complicated history of her own. Can Trey accept her as she is, learn to forgive the past, and find the elusive peace he’s sought for so long?

 

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The Rancher’s Texas Twins by Allie Pleiter

The Rancher’s Texas Twins by Allie Pleiter (Available everywhere 2/21/17)

 

About the book

Double Trouble 

Rancher Gabe Everett will do whatever it takes to keep Avery Culpepper in Texas until the end of the month. Even if it means inviting the beautiful single mom and her mischievous twin girls to stay on his property. Avery holds the key to saving Haven’s boys ranch, but Gabe won’t let his interest go beyond business. He’s not a family man, and Avery needs someone who will be there for her and her daughters. Yet as the girls overrun his orderly ranch with their tea parties and girlie cuteness, Gabe finds himself softening just a little. Could a family to love be exactly what this solitary rancher needs?

 

 

 

 

 

 

My thoughts

I’ve heard it said that puppies and babies sell. In my opinion, toddlers who get into mischief and speak their minds like only kids can make great fodder for stories. Allie Pleiter doubles the trouble with twin four-year-old girls, and some of the fun they get into is delightful.

Gabe Everett is a stoic rancher who likes to be alone but when his house is invaded by “pinkness,” the girls, as well as readers, get some giggles out of the arrangement. It was endearing to read about this big, handsome rancher having a tea party with the twins. Even though he claims to be a loner, the small humans—and their mother—become as much a part of him as the land and the boys’ ranch he’s doing his best to keep alive.

A fun story filled with the antics of the twins, the doubts of a woman who has known too much loss, and a man who is determined to keep his distance despite his change of heart.

 

 

 

 

Disclosure statement:

I receive complimentary books for review from publishers, publicists, and/or authors, including Netgalley. I am not required to write positive reviews. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255.

Home on the Range by Ruth Logan Herne

This week, Home on the Range, Ruth Logan Herne’s second book in her Double S Ranch Series is available to purchase. Here’s a fun fact. I got to meet Ruth Logan Herne (and a bunch of other Christian fiction authors) at the Christian Fiction Readers’ Retreat this summer. It was a blessing to get to learn more about several of my favorite authors—and there was lots of laughter throughout the day.

herne-logan-ruth-home-on-the-range

But let’s get back to why you’re here. Readers met Nick Stafford and his daughters in Back in the Saddle but we get to know this little family more in Home on the Range. As Nick’s oldest daughter Cheyenne struggles with school, she’s on the verge of being held back. When the principal suggests a counselor, Nick is unsure. Surely he can help his daughter—both of his daughters. He doesn’t need any help.

Upon their first meeting, Elsa Andreas doesn’t seem interested in taking on the challenge of his daughters either. But it doesn’t take Nick long to realize that he does need help and seeing Elsa with his girls, he realizes she’s the best person to work with them. Soon he finds himself taking her advice with his relationships and he is drawn to this quiet, even-keeled woman. A woman who is so different from his ex-wife.

Both Elsa and Nick must come to terms with letting go of the hurts of their past, of realizing their perceptions of the past aren’t reality (the difference between a child’s perspective and an adult’s), but will those understandings come to late to build the future they both long for and dream of?

These two characters were a perfect fit for each other. Nick’s a gentleman at heart, caring for the little ladies (and the new woman) in his life. Elsa is patient and everything Nick needs in his hectic life.

The author depicts life on the farm (the good and the bad) in a beautiful way. And since some of my family lives in Washington State, I could picture the Stafford Ranch clearly in my head. Even if you’ve never been to the beautiful Pacific Northwest, you’ll experience it in Home on the Range.

***The publisher provided me a complimentary copy of this book via Bloggingforbooks. I was not required to write either a negative or positive review. All opinions expressed are my own.

A Love like Ours by Becky Wade

a love like ours

For the most part, I enjoy almost everything I read. The majority I would put in the “like” category. It’s entertaining and I am interested in the story. But every once in a while comes along a book that is so engaging it’s hard to put down. A book where the characters become so real that I continue to think of them when I have to put the book down (say to get some sleep or go to work). A book that continues to stick with me long after the final page is turned. A Love like Ours (book number three in Wade’s Porter Family series) goes in a second category: the LOVED IT category.

Jake Porter is surviving. Training Thoroughbreds at his family’s ranch has become his existence. After a tragedy during the war, Jake does better with his horses than people—even his family struggles to get past the barriers Jake has built around himself. When his childhood best friend returns to town, he doesn’t want her around. Lyndie James is excited to be back in Holley, Texas, but nervous about seeing Jake again. Will their childhood friendship that ended twenty years previously be rekindled? When Jake’s brother suggests she apply for a job as an exercise rider for Jake’s horses, Lyndie sees her way in to Jake’s life. And if she stays, she’s determined to get past those walls he’s built around his heart.

love like ours quote

There are so many wonderful things about this book it’s hard to know where to begin, so my thoughts may be a little scattered here. Bear with me. First, Lyndie is so likable. Her dual career, her relationship with animals and with her sister, and her belief in Jake and a horse made me root for all of her dreams to come true from the beginning. Jake’s a tough guy, hard to get to know, but as the story goes on and we get a glimpse into the things he’s seen, the horrors he’s dealt with, he too becomes likable. The side characters in this book (those we’ve met in other books—Bo, Meg, Ty, and Celia are just a few—as well as the new ones—Zoe is my favorite) add so much depth to this story. Lyndie’s neighbor makes her promise to go on three dates in three months and some of those scenes are laugh out loud funny. I mean, the dance and the lip gloss were great!! The way Zoe doesn’t finish a thought and Lyndie feels compelled to complete them always made me smile. But the heart of this story is in letting go of the past and trusting God with the future, not holding onto the things that have happened in our past with both hands or taking the blame and guilt for things that can’t be controlled. God’s grace is perfect in all situations and He is the ultimate healer.

Available now

****Bethany House provided me with a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest and fair review. All opinions expressed are my own.

Whenever You Come Around by Robin Lee Hatcher

whenever you come around

In need of a quiet place to write her novel, Charity Anderson returns to her parents’ home in Kings Meadow, Idaho after because her house has flooded and is undergoing renovations. Returning to the small town and reliving painful memories is not the best option for Charity, it is her only option. And to top everything off, Buck Malone, her high school crush, lives next door. When Charity’s dog causes Buck a broken wrist and ankle, a loss of employment, and a lot of downtime, there is no choice but for Charity to assist her neighbor as he recovers. As she spends more time with him, she bases the hero for her romance novel off of him

Buck is perfectly content with his life. Perhaps he never went to college and gave up some dreams, but he has no complaints about his bachelor lifestyle. The more time he spends with Charity, the less he’s convinced remaining a bachelor is what he really wants. He senses pain and sadness in Charity but she shuts down whenever he tries to get her to talk. Should he get involved emotionally? And what will happen when Charity moves back to her home in Boise?

As a former resident of Idaho, I really enjoy Hatcher’s books and the memories of the area (this one even mentioned my alma mater—University of Idaho in Moscow). I’ve been small towns like Kings Meadow. There are plenty of them. But what is even better about the books are the characters. In Whenever You Come Around, both Charity and, especially Buck, are likable. Sure, Charity is running from mistakes she’d made in her past and hiding from her friends and her family. Buck is hiding in a way too but it’s not as obvious as it is with Charity. Loved the addition of Charity’s dog in this one too. Cocoa is another character in her own right. There are some familiar faces in the book as well but this story is most definitely built around Charity and Buck and their story.

Release date: May 12

Thomas Nelson Fiction provided me with a free copy of this book via NetGalley in exchange for an honest and fair review. All opinions expressed are my own.