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Happy Mother’s Day!
To you and the people in your life who have shown caring, giving and love, my best wishes for a special time of celebration!
The Rancher’s Fake Fiancée–lying never pays
The Rancher’s Fake Fiancée
by Amy Vastine
If you have read the other books in this series, by now you know that Big E’s plan to get his grandsons to return to the Blackwell Ranch in Falcon Creek, Montana, has a chance of working. You also realize that Tyler Blackwell, one of the younger twins in the family and an advertising executive in Portland, Oregon, will be the focus of this book. What you won’t be prepared for is the bold lie he tells to try to avoid returning to the ranch. You have to smile when a character thinks “What could possibly go wrong?”
The Rancher’s Fake Fiancée by Amy Vastine is a sweet romance with a lot of relationship ups and downs along the way. All of the Blackwell brothers were affected by the death of their parents when they were young, and Tyler is no exception. He has to work through the feelings and perceptions of his ten year old self that remained with him as he matured. His fake fiancée, Hadley, is a likable character and fits in so well with the Blackwell brothers and their wives and fiancées. Unfortunately, Tyler drags Hadley into a sham relationship for his purposes, and she agrees in order to achieve a promotion that she lost due to nepotism. Of course, the truth is bound to come out, but watching it emerge is fascinating. The author uses the events in the plot to develop the characters and give the reader a chance to relate to them and their struggles. The Rancher’s Fake Fiancée lives up to expectations as a Harlequin Heartwarming romance—clean, fun, and positive. I truly didn’t want to put this book down.
As always, Big E is brought into the story in the epilogue where we get a glimpse of more of his hopefully well-intentioned machinations. If only he had shown this level of concern and understanding when the boys were growing up!
I would like to extend my thanks to the author, Amy Vastine, for giving me the opportunity to read this book in exchange for an honest review.
Notes: #4 in the Return of the Blackwell Brothers series, but it works well as a standalone because the author is efficient in bringing readers up to date. Warning: if you do read this as a standalone, you will find yourself wanting to read the other books in this five book series!
Publication: November 1, 2018—Harlequin Heartwarming
Being nice to people encouraged them to be nice back. It was something her father had taught her since she was little…It didn’t matter how important someone’s job was, everyone was treated with the same respect.
There was no way he could tell the truth. This was why lying was such a bad idea. It never ended with one lie. They always multiplied until no one could remember what the truth was anymore.
He wasn’t supposed to think about her because he didn’t have to see her every day, but her void was as strong as her presence.
Ebb and Flow–some good in everyone
Ebb and Flow
by Heather T. Smith
Ebb and Flow is a sad, emotionally laden story of sins, redemption and forgiveness. It is written in free verse and as such leads to tremendous teaching opportunities. Because rhyming poetry is so easily identifiable for children, it can be difficult to explain the difference between poetry and prose when the poetry does not rhyme. Ebb and Flow is a whole book of examples to demonstrate the concept. It also is an excellent exemplar of poetry as a form of storytelling. The poems in this book demonstrate the effectiveness of well-chosen words. All of these ideas are appropriate to the intended age range of eight to twelve years (grades four to seven).
As an adult I was moved by the book which lets Jett tell his own story of a father in jail, a move to a new town intended to provide a fresh start, and a disastrous year in the new surroundings. There is hope for Jett in a summer visit to a think-outside-the-box grandmother who sees the good in Jett and provides opportunities for him to work through his issues. Although the problems addressed in the book are a reality to be endured for some children, in general they are above the maturity level of most eight year olds: child abuse, spousal abuse, incarceration, homelessness, and the maturity level of some special needs adults. While it could be helpful to some children, it could be frightening to others. Some parents would also object to the expletives found in two places in the book; personally I didn’t understand their inclusion as they did not add to the book in any way.
Thus I recommend the book with the reservation of parental guidance needed for language and content. There is little that is graphic but the overtone is emotionally charged despite the hopeful ending.
I would like to extend my thanks to netgalley.com and to Kids Can Press for giving me the opportunity to read this book in exchange for an honest review.
Category: Children’s Fiction, Poetry
Notes: 1. warnings for domestic violence and swearing
2. Age Range: 8-12 years
3. Grade Level: 4-7
Publication: April 3, 2018—Kids Can Press
I just wanted to say
I’m glad you are here.
And all of a sudden,
I was more than just air.
when I grow up,
I can be someone?
Grandma’s face went soft.
You ARE someone, dear.
You’re my Jett.
She gave me the room in the attic,
the one with the view of the sea.
Of all the rooms
in all the world
it was the awesomest room
of them all.
It made me feel cozy
like a light had turned on
in my heart.
The Fast and the Furriest–not quite the Purrfect Crime
The Fast and the Furriest
by Sophie Ryan
Looking for a cozy mystery with a good plot, interesting characters, and humorous overtones? Do you enjoy reading a story that features a cat as a supporting character? If so, then Sophie Ryan’s The Fast and the Furriest fits the bill.
This mystery will keep you guessing as Sarah, owner of Second Chance repurpose shop joins with her grandmother’s friends (Charlotte’s Angels) to help prove that her employee Mac is innocent of murder. Sarah’s sidekick is an endearing, Jeopardy-watching cat named Elvis who accompanies her almost everywhere. Sarah discovers she knows almost nothing about Mac, and Mac discovers that he does not really know his friends and family members as well as he thought he did.
I’m already looking forward to reading the next book in this series for some relaxing fun. Meanwhile there are several other books in this series purring out an enticing welcome.
I would like to extend my thanks to netgalley.com and to Berkley Publishing for giving me the opportunity to read this book in exchange for an honest review.
Notes: #5 in the Second Chance Cat Mystery Series, but works well as a standalone.
Publication: February 6, 2018—Berkley Publishing
I’d worked in radio after college, eventually hosting a popular evening program playing classic rock and interviewing some of the genre’s best musicians. Then one day I was replaced by a syndicated music feed out of Los Angeles and a nineteen-year-old who read the weather twice an hour and called everyone “dude.”
She made her way over to him, a tiny woman with short, white hair, warm gray eyes and a stubborn streak that made a mule look easygoing.
“He can walk, Rose,” I said. “The pavement is too hot for his feet.” She picked the cat up and Elvis meowed and wrinkled his whispers at me, cat for “nyah, nyah, nyah.”