That’s Not Hay in My Hair – A Review

that's_not_hay_in_my_hair_bookThat’s Not Hay in My Hair by Juliette Turner takes you from the hustle and bustle of New York City to the wide open spaces of one of our largest states, Texas. Jules and her mom have made New York City their home, but that’s all about to change for 12-year-old Jules.  They are about to move back to her mom’s hometown and a 300-acre ranch in Texas. Complete with dogs, horses, and longhorns big enough to take out a small car.  From tiny apartments and busy streets, to open land as far as the eye can see, we travel from the bustle of the Big apple to the open skies of Texas, a big switch for a ‘city girl.’  But Jules learns to adapt with her mom at her side and her cats, dogs, and sweet horses at her side.  There is tragedy, but one learns the circle of life on a ranch and that sometimes friends/pets, don’t last forever, but it’s okay. That’s Not Hay in My Hair is a fun look at how your life can change in the country and is a sweet story for a young girl.

Juliette Turner and her mother, actress and author, Maggie Turner

Juliette Turner and her mother, actress and author, Maggie Turner

I was quite excited to read this book because it sounded hilarious in the description. I had also been expecting this book to be about high school, but instead, it is actually for middle grade and even a bit younger. Juliette Turner is a 17-year-old author, daughter of Maggie Turner, who is known for being an author herself and staring on Northern Exposure in the late 80s. While the book is sweet and great for a young girl, I found it to be filled with too many gasps, exclamations, dramatic pauses, and just a tad too much in the expressions. Something I might expect from a young author. 17 is a very young age to be authoring. (this is coming from someone who writes herself and has been writing since age 14. Dramatic moments pepper my earlier writings quite liberally)  So while I applaud any young author, I am a bit critical about the style of the work. I was a little lost as to whether this was a semi-autobiographical novel as the storyline seems a bit similar to Miss Turner’s life. I had been expecting total fiction, but when I read the bio for the author and most of it matches up with the book, I was left wondering if it was a glorified retelling of one’s life.  I think Miss Turner needs to wait a few more years and learn a bit more about life before her writing matures. She has the capacity to write good fiction, but needs to read a lot more and live a few more years learning about life to tone down the excitement of her writing. I do also have to say that I do believe the only reason this book was possibly published was because Miss Turner and her mother are relatively famous. It gave her an edge to have a published book at such a young age.

Not great fiction, but clean and decent. Since I have a rating system of 1 to 5 stars and I can’t really give it a half star on Amazon, I’ll stick with three, but I think it is a little less. Decent and clean enough for a young girl, and I might have liked it at 12, but not the greatest fiction in the world.

This book was provided to me by Thomas Nelson/HarperCollins Christiona Publishing, and BookLookBloggers for my honest review. I was in no way compensated for my opinion.

Kate

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.

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