Saturday, February 20, 2016

Debra Clopton's Kissed by a Cowboy

A complimentary review copy was provided to me.
I took a break from historical fiction and recently read Kissed by a Cowboy by Debra Clopton. Set in the wide open spaces of the small town of Wishing Springs, Texas, the story follows Cassidy Starr. Having recently been divorced and returning to her roots to the home that her great aunt left her. Once there, she quickly crosses path with her new neighbor, Jarrod Monahan, who she had met and spent time with as a child. It's the third book in the Four of Hearts Ranch Romance series. I haven't read the other two, but I don't feel like that detracted from the enjoyment of this story. That being said, I'm pretty sure that the prior books are about Jarrod's brothers and it would be fun to read those books for more of the back story.

Cassidy returned to Wishing Springs in hopes of a clean start, away from her failed marriage. She hopes to revitalize the farm that she inherited and turn the farmhouse into a bed and breakfast. She wants to achieve these goals on her own, not dependent on anyone else for help. Unfortunately (or is it fortunately) for her, Jarrod and the community are naturally helpers and come to the aid of neighbors and community. I was very pleased with the way the story developed and unfolded, eventually being brought to a conclusion, and as with most good stories, found myself wanting to know what will happen next and wishing that there was at least one more chapter to keep the story going.

I really enjoyed getting to know the characters from Wishing Springs. The story drew me in from the start, flowed smoothly, and was easy to read, even when I found myself reading for short periods of time. This story of second chances was an enjoyable read. I look forward to going back and reading the first two books and getting to know more about the residents of Wising Springs.
About the book:

Kissed by a Cowboy (Thomas Nelson, February 2016)

Cassidy was looking for a home and a place to belong . . . not for a cowboy to steal her heart.

Having lived through her parents' endless string of "matrimonial bliss gone wrong," Cassidy Starr knows when the odds are not in her favor. Divorced and humiliated, her faith on rocky ground, Cassidy is through with love. She's been bucked off that horse far too many times. Instead, she returns to Wishing Springs, Texas, and the rundown farm she's inherited from her great aunt Roxie. She'll reopen the strawberry farm and a bed & breakfast and follow in her aunt's footsteps, remaining forever-independent, happy . . . and single.

Rancher Jarrod Monahan's hands are full running the ranch, looking after his ailing grandfather, and chasing down a group of rustlers on the loose. He's pushed his longing for a family to the bottom of his list of priorities. Besides, he was in love once but ran scared and lost his shot at happiness. But suddenly, the biggest regret of his life has moved in next door with a wounded heart, determined to become a spinster . . . and that's a challenge that Jarrod can't pass up.

Jarrod sets his mind to breaking down the walls around Cassidy's stubborn heart. How can he show her that a cowboy's kiss lasts forever? For the good folks of Wishing Springs, falling in love has never been so much fun to witness.

Purchase a copy here.

About the author:

Debra Clopton is a multi-award winning novelist and has written more than 22 novels. Along with writing, Debra helps her husband teach the youth at their local Cowboy Church. Debra's goal is to shine a light toward God while she entertains readers with her words.

Connect with Debra: website, Twitter, Facebook

Learn more and read additional reviews on the blog tour landing page.

No compensation was received for this review. All opinions expressed are my own or that of my family. A complimentary review copy was provided to me.

Friday, February 5, 2016

A Son's Vow by Shelley Shepard Gray

A complimentary review copy was provided to me.
January has been a surprisingly busy month for me. I'm not sure I could put a finger on what exactly we did, but it flew by. As the month was winding down, I finally found a chance to pick up a book again. This time, it was a copy of the new book from Shelley Shepard Gray, A Son's Vow. A Son's Vow is the first in a new series called The Charmed Amish Life, conveniently set in the community of Charm.

Shelley Shepard Gray has a great knack of writing a book about the Amish with a plot that transcends the setting and the faith of the characters. In this story, several characters in town were recently impacted by a deadly fire at the local mill that killed five Amish men. Each of the characters that were impacted were dealing with the grief in their own way, and not all in the healthiest of ways. As the story unfolds, they discover that pulling together after that devastating event that drove them apart will help them all heal. She writes such a captivating set of characters and as you join them on their journey of healing, it is hard to not feel a connection with the characters.

The one thing that kept me guessing was the vow - I had expected it to be an early revelation in the book, but the nature of the vow was not revealed until much later in the book (almost at the end). I don't think it hurt the story, but it did leave me wondering if I had missed something.

I look forward to the next book in this series, as I know it will likely be about some of the other shadow characters in this story and that it will allow me to follow the progress of the stories of those characters that I came to love in this story.

About the book:

A Son's Vow (Avon Inspire, January 2016)

Three months ago, everything changed for Darla Kurtz and her family.

Darla's father was responsible for a terrible fire at Charm's lumber mill which killed five Amish men. And though he, too, lost his life, the town of Charm hasn't looked at her family the same since. Even Lukas Kinsinger---with whom Darla used to have a close friendship.

Now her brother's anger at the town is spilling over onto Darla, and she has the bruises to prove it. The accident already cost five lives, but if something doesn't change soon, Darla fears it will cost her---and her family---even more.

Lukas Kinsinger wants to mourn the loss of his father, but he can hardly find the time to breathe. Suddenly the head of his father's lumber mill and responsible for taking care of his three siblings, he's feeling the pressure. He has also never felt more alone---especially with the new tension between he and Darla. But when he learns of her troubles at home, Lukas knows he can't simply stand by and watch. Someone has to help her before another tragedy occurs.

As Lukas and Darla attempt to repair their families, they discover something deeper than friendship growing between them. But will Lukas and Darla's love be accepted after so much loss? Or will the pain of the past overcome any chance of future happiness?

Shelley Shepard Gray's first book in her Charmed Amish Life series is set in the quaint Amish village of Charm, Ohio, and tells the stories of the Kinsinger siblings who are each struggling to find both forgiveness and love in the face of tragedy.

Purchase a copy here.

About the author:

Shelley Shepard Gray is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author, a finalist for the American Christian Fiction Writers prestigious Carol Award, and a two-time HOLT Medallion winner. She lives in southern Ohio, where she writes full-time, bakes too much, and can often be found walking her dachshunds on her town's bike trail.

Connect with Shelley: website, Twitter, and Facebook

You can learn more about the book and find other reviews on the blog tour landing page.

No compensation was received for this review. All opinions expressed are my own or that of my family. A complimentary review copy was provided to me.