I Said Yes by Emily Maynard Johnson – A Review

_225_350_Book.1834.coverI Said Yes : My Story of Heartbreak, Redemption, and True Love By Emily Maynard  Johnson is Emily’s story of how she went from meeting the man of her dreams, losing him, having his child, being on the Bachelor, the Bachelorette, and finally finding ‘true love’.

Let me preface by saying I have only recently started watching The Bachelor and The Bachelorette and I have never seen Emily’s seasons. I really know nothing about her, so I’m not biased one way or the other with her in particular.  I will say I am now a Bachelor fan after starting watching in 2015 with Chris Soules.

The story chronicles Emily’s growing up years, from boarding school to dealing with health issues of Bell’s Palsy and ADD; from having social anxiety troubles and learning problems to family moves and various other things.  We meet Emily from about age ten and experience her life till she meets Ricky Hendrick. Their unique romance catches your eye right away since Emily was 16 and Ricky 22.  You feel the tragedy of Emily losing Ricky to a plane crash in 2004, then the joy of finding out she is carrying his daughter.

There are the trials and joys of raising her daughter as a single mom, then having a friend sign her up for the Bachelor.  It’s while Emily is on the show where we find out what really goes on while being on the show. Emily details what we don’t see while watching the shows. We experience the heartache and excitement of being one of the girls on the Bachelor, then being the Bachelorette, which while interesting, isn’t as glamorous as we all think.

Emily chronicles her time after the shows when she meets her husband to be, who is not a contestant, and we finish off with the start of their life together.

Ah, sounds sweet and marvelous. While I thought this book was going to be this wonderful story, similar to When God Writes Your Love Story by Eric and Leslie Ludy,  which is on how looking to God  brings you to your faith and the person you are supposed to marry, sadly, this is not that book. First off, this book is mostly about being on the Bachelor and the Bachelorette.  The first part of the book does go through Emily’s life up to meeting Ricky Hendrick and having his child and raising her daughter on her own, though with her parent’s support.   However, most of the book is devoted to being on the shows.

While the premise of the book leads you to believe that it is going to be a book of how Emily has trusted God to bring her to the man she is going to marry and to live the life, most of the book focuses on other things. Yes, there is a smattering of token points on how she wasn’t looking to God to direct her, to yes, she felt a movement in her spirit. On the whole, I would say there are about 12 pages total devoted to the topic of God, which might be a bit high in my estimation. In my opinion, that is serious deception on the part of the summary. I felt that even the summary  of the story on the dust jacket leads you to believe that this book is more about redemption and faith than the Bachelor. I think in the end Emily is trying to get that ‘true love’ comes from God, but I was left a little confused what she meant. Did she mean the true love was with God or with the man she has ended up marrying? I was never quite sure.

I found the writing a little juvenile in style and I was disappointed that there wasn’t more faith and waiting on Christ and such. My first impression was that the book was written by a teenager.  In my opinion the style is too simplistic and lacking a lot of fundamental facts, mostly in regards to aspects of Emily’s life. The book focuses mostly on bad choices and the Bachelor. If I were going to give this book to anyone, it would be fans of the Bachelor and Bachelor Nation, along with any woman who thinks it might be fun to try out for the show. For those girls, the ones who want to try out for the show, the book is more of a warning of why you should not go on the Bachelor.

All that being said, it was a quick read, and fundamentally interesting, but seriously lacking in what the book seems to be promoted as.

I would  give this book a 2 out of 5 stars because I’m not impressed. While it wasn’t my style and annoyed me, it’s not a ‘bad’ book.  It’s just not quite as good as you would think.

 

Kate

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookLook Bloggers <http://booklookbloggers.com> book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.

Counting on a Cowboy – A Review

In the follow-up novel to Debra Clopton’s Betting on Hope, comes Counting on a Cowboy, Bo Monahan’s story.  You have the somewhat confirmed bachelor, Bo, brother to Tru from Betting on Hope, suddenly saddled with a toddler.  A little boy who supposedly came from an indiscretion Bo had with a woman a while ago who never told him about the baby.  Then there is Abby Knightly running from a past, running to ‘hope’ in Wishing Springs, Texas, a place  she read about in the paper.  You have Abby who has lost so much in her life– which I won’t be giving away here since it’s super easy to figure out–a husband and the hope of children. Now you have Bo turning to Abby to help him navigate a baby that has come out of nowhere, and what is better than a woman right there who knows how to take care of children? So you have Bo fighting his attraction for Abby because he’s a bachelor, and Abby fighting her attraction to Bo because she has lost so much and isn’t ready for someone else to be in her life because she still has so much guilt. Will these two ever come together over their mutual attraction and love of Bo’s little boy?

I found this book very hard to get through. I found the writing leaving me wanting to smack my head and just dragging on. I only somewhat understood Bo’s sudden desperation to have Abby help him out with the unexpected baby on his doorstep, but at the same time, it was almost like he was frantic. Then you have Abby who wants to settle down in a small town she has read about, but at the same time, she’s leery about certain things. I just sat there going, get on with it. I don’t understand two people fighting this attraction. I have never been one to hide that I am interested in someone. Granted, I have never had tragedy take a part of me away and ‘mess’ with my own thoughts. So I will give Abby that, but honestly, you can see right away that she likes Bo. So why run from that? It’s not like anyone said you had to marry the man right away. I’m a little tired of all these leery females. I get why a woman might be leery if she liked a man whom she thought liked someone else, but seriously, don’t act so scared all the time.

Unfortunately, I have to give this book only 3 out of five stars. It’s too slow and just not my cup of tea.  Just like Debra Clopton’s previous book, this left me exhausted.

Kate

This book was sent to me free of charge by HarperCollins Christian Publishing, Thomas Nelson, and BookLookBloggers for my honest review. I have in no way been compensated in any way.

Waiting Here For You: An Advent Journey of Hope – A Review

_225_350_Book.1777.coverDuring the holiday season, we are so focused on the holiday in general that we forget what the true season of Christmas is about. Waiting Here For You: An Advent Journey of Hope by Louie Giglio is an advent devotion book meant to help us slow down, stop, and reflect what Christmas and the advent are really about. Each day starting with November 26th, Paster Giglio guides us in scripture, a reflection relating to the scripture, meditation (which is usually a Christmas poem or song) and finally a prayer.  So 30 days of thinking about how we are waiting for Christ  and the remembrance of his birth, which for Christians, is a very sacred time of year.  So, when we get a little too busy with buying the gifts, preparing the Christmas meals and dealing with family and travel and all the frustrations that may come, this very thing, almost pocket sized book is just right for pulling out. Lighting a candle and meditating and focusing on Christ.

Christmas lights on Aleksanterinkatu.

Christmas lights on Aleksanterinkatu. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I have loved advent since I was a little girl when we would read the Christmas story through the four weeks of December, lighting a green candle each week for the wise men, Mary and Joseph, The shepherds, the angels, and finally a red candle for Jesus. There were the colorful calendars and it was a very memorable and sacred time of year for me. I eagerly looked forward to it. As time as gone by, I have slowly let that slipe away, and this book is perfect for putting you right back into the calming frame of mind of what Christmas is really about. While I am terrible at devotions and having a daily schedule for reading my Bible, and I didn’t technically finish this book in a daily order, it’s still a lovely small book, perfect for the season. There is something incredibly calming about the red, black, white and grey colors of the book. So calming in fact that I ended up writing a sonnet about red berries with the colors of black, white and grey. This book is perfect for any Christian that want to get back to what advent is about. I love it’s slim size and I love that the meditations are songs I know, but may not know all the lyrics. I liked that it was a very Christmas themed book in that it had the traditional songs that Christians know for the season. From Oh Come All Ye Faithful, O Come Oh Come Emmanuel, Silent Night, and O Holy Night. Lovely hymns Christians know and love.

I would highly recommend this book to any Christian who wants do practice adven but feels too old for the calendars and childish themes. This is a lovely book. Five out of Five stars.

Kate

This book was sent to me free of charge for my honest opinion and review from HarperCollins Christian Publishing, Thomas Nelson, and BookLookBloggers.

Goodnight Manger – A Review

_225_350_Book.1731.coverGoodnight Manger by Laura Sassi is  Laura’s sophomore picture book following her Goodnight Ark.  The book is illustrated again by Jane Chapman and the story follows the singsong story rhymes that Goodnight Ark had within it’s pages.   This time, it’s baby Jesus who can’t get to sleep. The animals are too noisy and the baby starts to wail.  Back and forth the animals try to help Mary and Joseph quiet  a squirming, twitching baby.  From hay for the baby’s head from the donkey, to feathers from the hen. Just when the baby is quieting down, the heavenly angels start singing their Hosannas, and soon he’s awake again.  Goodness all this noise in the stable!  Shepherds arrive along with sheep, then come wise men from far and wide, that baby’s sleep will be denied….. Okay, silly rhyme there, but reading the book to write this review had me rhyming myself!   Soon Mama Mary suggests a song and all the wise men and shepherds start singing a lullaby that gently lulls baby Jesus to sleep at last.

This picture book is quite similar to Goodnight Ark, which I did a review on.  As with the Ark, this book is geared towards children 4-8 in my opinion. Parents can read it to their younger children as a lovely Christmas rhyming story, while older children can use it to learn to read marvelous rhyme.  And while I enjoyed the book, I did find a couple of the rhymes a bit discordant with the rhythm, as I would have to turn the page to finish the rhyme and it caused too much of a pause. I felt a little jarred and harder to read than Ark.  Along with that, while the pictures of the animals, Joseph, the shepherds, and wise men were right on par with Jane Chapman’s other work, I was severely disappointed with her portrayal of Mary.  All my life I have pictured Mary as being this beautiful woman. I figure if God chose her to carry Jesus and have him as her son, she has to be beautiful.  And I think there are absolutely stunning Israeli women. Beautiful women.  So to have Mary look very plain and worn out was disappointing. Yes, I know she just had a baby, but well, it doesn’t matter about that aspect when illustrating a book. I would have preferred her to look prettier.  That is just my opinion.

All that being said, this is a lovely rhyme book again.  I think it would be a marvelous story to read young children during the month of December to prepare for Christmas. It’s sweet and charming enough that I could see children learning the whole rhyme to recite.  I would definitely give it 4 out of 5 stars. A little less than Goodnight Ark due to the illustrations and the jarring rhyme. But all in all a very good book

This book was provided to me free of charge for my honest opinion by HarperCollins Christian Publishing. I have in no way been compensated for my opinions.

Kate

Never Said – A Review

never-said-book-coverNever Said by Carol Lynch Williams is a novel about sisters; twin sisters to be exact. However, shouldn’t twin sisters be the closest of friends? In this case, Sarah couldn’t be further from Annie in personality. Sarah is quiet, shy , Social anxiety disorder would be how you describe her. She is the girl who has a voice, but only uses it in sign language classes where she can say whatever she wants, but not have to use her voice. Whereas her sister is the flamboyant, beauty queen girl who has been center stage her whole life. But suddenly, Annie, who has always been the center of attention in the family, has changed her look; chopped off her hair, gained a bunch of weight, and is giving up on beauty pageants. Sarah has been left in the dust all the years Annie has been in the limelight, but she knows that something is wrong.  Suddenly, Sarah has shifted into being more the big sister in her own way from before.  Now she’s the one protecting Annie from vicious bullying in school.  But the real question, is why has Annie changed so much, and will Sarah be able to help her out?  Will Sarah and Annie become closer as sisters than ever before?

First off, this book is written from both Sarah and Annie’s point of view. Sarah’s is  telling the story while Annie is writing poetry that relates to her. The styles compliment each other so well, flipping back and forth in this rhythm that shows the heartache from Annie and the frustration in Sarah. I for one, love books in prose and poetry, a la “What My Girlfriend Doesn’t Know” by Sonya Sones.  I was immediately drawn into this book because the story is so real. The issues of self image, abuse and secrecy are all explored in this book, along with the special connection sisters have. And it’s not even the bond that some twins have, but sisters have a unique bond that is special and creates a trust that isn’t there with parents.

This novel explores what happens when statutory rape happens and it changes a person. And how does one move on from something like this.  For Sarah and Annie, it becomes a bond that brings them even closer together.

I liked that this subject was written about in a simple novel. Simple as in, I finished reading it in less than two days. Sex between an adult and a minor is something that has been in my peripheral due to living in a small town and seeing some of what happens with the high school girls and teachers. Or the other way around.   It’s not something that is talked about, but it happens. And it changes a person.  I was actually kind of excited to read a book that explores these themes.

I would highly recommend this book to the young adult audience as well as parents. Because it really does happen.  I think Carol Lynch Williams did an excellent job with creating a realness in the pages.  A marvelous book. Not happy, but marvelous none the less.

Five stars!

Kate

The Home-Maker – A Persephone Book Review

Over the spring the wonderful Persephone Books gave me the opportunity to read and review their book The Home-Maker by Dorothy Canfield Fisher (Persephone book No. 7)  So while this is terribly late in coming, I do hope you enjoy this review, I hope you consider adding Persephone books to your list of book sources, and I also hope you might consider reading The Home-Maker.

This is a wonderful little gem of a book, little mostly in size, but not in story. No, indeed, this is the story about people. About life. About the interactions between family members when life isn’t so perfect even though from the outside, all appears to be perfection.

This story is set in a three person perspective; from Eva’s, Lester’s, and Stephen’s point of view. At the heart of the story is Eva Knapp. Mother of three and wife to Lester. She’s a perfectionist, a little controlling, but deep down, all she does and all she demands comes from her devotion to both the children and Lester. She worries about her willful son, Stephen, who at three seems to be going through that stage of almost being “like the traditional changeling, hard, heartless, inhuman.” Or so Lester, at one point, thinks to himself about his son. Stephen has his own troubles from a disappearing Teddy, to a mother who seems to always be correcting him. It’s a lot of work being only three.

Eva is also troubled with her two other children; Henry who has a weak system, and Helen who just needs guidance.  And lastly, she worries about her husband, who just doesn’t seem to have the drive to move up in the company he works for.

Lester is a dreamer. A writer. A man destined for more  than working the numbers at the Emporium.  Then suddenly he is faced with having been let go. How in the world he will ever tell Eva, knowing how much she relies on him, and how much he wants to give her, but can’t seem to make happen.  There is only one solution. To end his life and the insurance policy will take care of Eva and the children.

But the ‘accidental’ leap from the roof fails to accomplish what Lester was hoping, and now he is paralyzed from the waist down. Now life changes as Eva has to become the breadwinner and Lester the home-maker. Eva ends up working for the Emporium and making a smash of her position, moving up quickly. And Lester? Well, surprisingly, being a home-maker is the perfect job for him as suddenly there are happy children and a happy home.

Eva has a true purpose in life instead of always feeling like she can’t accomplish a perfect house, and Lester finally can be the dreamer he needs to be. The question is, will this continue this way? Will Lester ever recover and will Eva go back to being the housewife? It’s not till the very end of the book we find out.

I read this book quickly and found myself touched in so many ways. I can feel the inner desperation from Eva as she tries so hard to make everything just so, and just right for her family.  As she scrubs the floor trying to rid then of grease spots only to have her son dribble grease the next night. I wanted to cry for Eva because I saw myself in an instant what I could be if I was a mother. That turmoil to micromanage and control everything in an uncontrollable existence. Feeling like you are doing everything right while your own family thinks you don’t care a whit about them.

I want to scoop Stephen up and comfort him, but at the same time, when I see him from Eve’s side, I want to send him to his room with no supper.

Eva loves her husband from her side. Adores him practically. From Lester, he always feels like he can’t measure up. Eva adores her children, in her own way, but from their point, she’s always displeased with them.

This is a book about two sides of the story. And in a very simplistic view, a book about how sometimes the hand we are dealt in life is not what we should actually be doing. Sometimes the woman is just not the home-maker. And that’s okay.

I can honestly say this is a very impressive book and there are not too many books today that could ever match up to the mastery Dorthy Canfield Fisher has created in such a small novel. I would send this to any friend and feel I could read it again and again pulling out every nuance. This will be a book I treasure for years to come.

Again, I hope you consider trying out this book along with checking out Persephone Books. They are truly a little gem of the book world.

Kate

The Huntress of Thornbeck Forest – A Review

_225_350_Book.1586.coverThe Huntress of Thornbeck Forest by Melanie Dickerson is a ‘Medieval Fairy Tale” taking the themes of Robin Hood and the Swan Princess and weaving a story of intrigue, romance, deception, and redemption.  Odette is a young woman bound and determined to help the poor orphans of Thornbeck, sneaking out at night to hunt in the margrave’s forest. She is a poacher.  Jorgen is the margrave’s forester responsible to maintain the woodland animals for the margrave, but now he has to hunt down a poacher who is taking much more than should ever be taken. Not to mention his father, the previous forester, was killed by a poacher.  Jorgen doesn’t know Odette is the poacher he is hunting, but he does know she is one of the most amazing maiden’s in Thornbeck and he longs to be with her despite their differences in station.  For Odette is the niece of a wealthy merchant and Jorgen is just a forester.

Sinister forces are at play, trying to drive these two lovers apart.  There is another who desires to marry Odette; the son of the Burgomeister, Mathis.  But he is not all he appears, nor is Odette’s uncle, Rutger, who says all he wishes is for Odette to be happy.

So is the dilemma of a beautiful maiden, an honest man, and forces trying to tear the two from each other.  What will happen when Jorgen discover’s that Odette is his poacher? Only you who is willing to pick up the book and find out.

 

I was hopeful that this book would be all it was described to be, what with it being a ‘fairy tale’ and mixing Robin Hood and the Swan Princess, as those are fairy tales I love.  Unfortunately, this was about as fairy tale as any historical fiction…. meaning it lacked what I would term a fairy tale.  A remake of two classic stories, but not really magical in any way.  I also found it dragged on for three quarters of the book and I was left wondering what all the point of anything was. Finally, the deception and intrigue made sense three quarters through and I was interested enough to scan through the rest of the story, but I was left fairly bored.   While I enjoyed Ms. Dickerson’s “The Captive Maiden”, a retelling of Cinderella, this one left me dragging my heels to finish it.  I felt that all the proprieties that would be for that time period thrown out the window to the point of it being almost ridiculous, and there was a point at which I thought historical fact was also tossed by the wayside… Mostly in the description of a wound that was septic. While the word is ancient Greek, I’m just a little skeptical about its usage.  That’s actually fairly minor in just the plot of the story not having enough of something to keep me interested.  As a historical novel, and I stress that term, not fairy tale, it’s not bad. I think many people would like the simplicity….. which is not actually a compliment. I thought the character’s thought processes were enough to make me bang my head against the book. And it was written too simply for my taste. I could say this is great as a young adult novel, but definitely not enough meat for an adult story. I just can’t say this one story was really my cup of tea.  Unfortunately I have to give it only 2 out of 5 stars.  Which I hate to do.

 

This book was provided to me free for my honest opinion and review. I have been in no way compensated.

 

Kate

Unmotivated Me

It’s not that I don’t have things to write about. It’s not even that I don’t have the time…. Okay, well time is limited right now. But I’m just not motivated to write.  I have a two book reviews I need to post, a book I need to finish reading before I can write a review, letters to friends, ideas for writing, a blog post on haying season, pictures….. The list goes on and on.

But right now about all I’m interested in doing is daydreaming and reading. I haven’t even written much of anything. Okay, that’s not true. I did write a poem just this last week titled “Elephants”. I should type it up and share it because I’m kind of proud of how it turned out.

I have been dabbling in a new piece of fiction which was inspired by ASMR and The French Whisperer over on Youtube. I seriously suggest if you are interested in ASMR to check his channel out. The tingles this guy can put up my spine….. Whew!  Magic. Puts me to sleep every time I listen to him at night.  Recently I listened to his take on the History of the Palace of Versailles.  That was really interesting for one, and really relaxing for another.  And I’m going off on a different tangent.

My reading has consisted of a bit of poetry; Rumi, Billy Collins, Rilke; an Emilie Loring, a few random fiction books, and the desire to read A Farewell to Arms and The Great Gatsby.  I have failed to finish anything nor get very far in anything.

One major reason for all this lack of motivation is right now the farming is in full swing.  What with watering, picking, and the heat….. well there isn’t a lot of down time. I am getting to the point of the season where I can spend two to three hours picking blueberries. Not to mention a few hours watering, oh and I cook two meals a day and do the laundry and pick up the house… Okay the house is kind of a joke right now.  There is way too much dust in all spots and I would NOT want anyone to come over.  Some places make me want to scream.

California is in a serious drought so watering is a conscious effort to not waste water.  Lawns? Pshaw! Those are going by the wayside except for where there are fruit trees because anyone who knows anything about gardening knows that fruit tree roots extend beyond what you think.  So the lawn around the trees gets watered.  And because this is a very dry year, the spider mites have set in.  On the positive side of things, the spider mites are the reason we have had burnt looking leaves on several plants for several years.  One would think it would be crazy to say that was a positive thing, but now I know that it wasn’t my fault in how I watered. Okay, indirectly it was because lack of water leads to the mites coming in, but it wasn’t like I wasn’t watering good enough, it was more that it wasn’t quite enough to deal with the infestation.

So, as you can see, it’s rather busy.  I hope to get a book review for a Christian romance up this week. And also Persephone Books let me read their book The Homemaker by Dorothy Canfield Fisher.  Marvelous book. I have been a bit behind with getting that review written as well.  And lastly, my post on haying season with pictures…..

So, hopefully soon this blog will be back into ship shape…. Excluding my random pages that need a serious updating.

I need a maid.

Le sigh, as Jules says.

 

Kate

Words To Dream On – A Review

_225_350_Book.1502.coverThere is nothing better than going to bed with a wonderful story lulling you to sleep. With the children’s book Words to Dream On: Bedtime Bible Stories and Prayers by Diane Stortz , there are 52 wonderful and sweet bedtime stories from the Bible. Written for children ages 3 to 8 there are full page illustrations in pleasing colors compliment each story that includes the verse where the story takes place in the Bible, a story, a ‘Sleepy-time Prayer’ at the end of the story and a blessing.  The prayers are nice and simple, but reflect what the story was about, giving children a basis for prayer (since at that age, I remember it was very hard to come up with a good prayer). The illustrations are charming, set in gorgeous shades of purples, yellows, blues and greens, and everything else, though those 4 colors dominate. The pictures are reminiscent of Disney, especially the story of Daniel and the Lions Den where the lions could have been taken right out of The Lion King. (This is a good thing in my opinion)

The stories are simple enough to start a child off learning about the Bible, but lack the depth and ugly parts of most of these stories. They keep to a more uplifting and cheerful aspect which is great for a young child, but a disadvantage for older children. But as a beginner’s bedtime book, I think this would be a good starter for any child.

The back of the book has some great ideas for parents wanting to establish a routine of reading before bed. As someone who grew up with this, I think it’s great for parents and a little extra advice on how to start a routine is really nice.

I found this book to be incredibly charming and sweet with illustrations that made me want to just keep the book for that reason alone.  The stories are simple, but powerful and encourage children to want to learn about the Bible.  As a child (and even an adult) I would have loved this book, especially the pictures. I could never get enough pictures when it came to the Bible. There is a cute ‘stage play’ feel to the illustrations having the moon and stars drop down on strings like you would at a school play, and I love this specific detail. The illustrator, Diane Le Feyer, is brilliant at capturing the charming side of the stories.  The colors she uses are incredibly appealing to me and make it incredibly hard not wanting to keep the book.

I would highly recommend this book for parents with young children. I think reading before bed is one of the best patterns parents could install in their children’s routine. My parents read to me and my sister for years and I believe this is one of the reasons I enjoy reading so much and learned so much about the Bible as well. Five out of five stars.

This book was provided to me free of charge from HarperCollins Christian Publishing and BooklookBloggers for my honest review and opinion.

Kate

Betting on Hope – A Review

_225_350_Book.1504.cover Take one klutzy advice columnist turned reporter with a secret past, mix her with a devilishly handsome, charming cowboy with a secret past, add in a bet gone wild and a touch of instant, explosive attraction, bake with a town that has about as much quirkiness as any romance novel can have, and you have yourself a charming and comedic romance.

Betting on Hope By Debra Clopton has Maggie Hope, advice columnist turned reporter when her friend gets sick right before the interview, traveling to Wishing Springs to interview Tru Monahan, champion horse trainer and rider. City girl meets cowboy and the sparks fly the minute Tru accepts the bet Maggie makes that he can’t teach Maggie to ride a horse. So Maggie has two months to learn to ride a horse and compete in a  cutting competition, all while she is seriously afraid of horses, is a serious klutz and has to interview Tru throughout this whole set up. Not to mention a past that is quickly starting to catch up to her and may make her life a lot more messy than it is.

Then there is Tru. Struggling to deal with his past, he keeps a lot bottled up while trying to save the ranch his grandfather started, The Four Hearts Ranch, from bankruptcy with his three other brothers. Now he has to add in teaching a skittish ‘filly’ how to ride while falling in love with her, but not wanting to share a secret that might make a woman turn tail and run. At least in his opinion.

But you have the people of Wishing Springs betting on Maggie and Tru, helping out along the way and nudging these two lovebirds together despite both Maggi and Tru fighting it. Oh, will the cowboy sweep his lady off her feet? Will the Lady accept? Will Maggie learn to trust Tru with her secrets and keep from falling off a horse? What is to become of these two?  Oh, but you will have to read it to find out.

As a piece of fluff, Christian romance, this wasn’t bad; not great, but not bad. Silly, and a little ridiculous with the name of the town and the way the townspeople act. (I live in a small town. No one acts like that, nor does it have a whole volunteer fire department filled with sexy men. I wish) I liked Tru and his brothers, but at the same time, the secrets Tru was holding on to made me bang my head and go “Why!?” Yes, he has a past that might make a woman run, but this is where I go, honesty, please. But then the story wouldn’t have been driven the way it was. And Maggie has her own set of fears and secrets that are keeping her from really trusting and connecting with Tru. I was actually worried that this story wouldn’t turn out okay. I thought both the hero and heroine might blow it and not tell each other their history. And that would have been a shame because you could feel the tension and desire in both Tru and Maggie and you just wanted to shout, “Kiss her, already!”

I was left hanging several times with plot lines and the flow of the story. And I was a little disappointed that there was this constant ‘I like you, I can’t have you, but I want you, but I have a secret, but I love you, but I’m not right for you, but, but, but. I would love to read a story where the hero tells his intentions at the beginning then woos the girl. I mean, there was enough of Maggie’s apprehension that you didn’t need to add in Tru’s.

I also want to mention that the theme of klutzy young woman who is not a reporter having to interview someone intimidating struck me as a bit like Fifty Shades of Grey (I have not ‘read’ the book, but I have listened to the first chapter or two.) The similarities there felt very obvious. Maybe it’s me. The plot of the story is much better than Fifty Shades. There really isn’t even a comparison, but I did notice that little bit and found it slightly contrived.

A cutsy, fun read. I’d give it three out of five stars. (personally the best part of the book was the cover illustration.)

This book was graciously provided to me for my honest review by HarperCollins Christian Publishing and BookLookBloggers.

Kate