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Archive for the ‘Summersrye’ Category

In full disclosure, I received an ARC from the author’s publisher in exchange for an honest review.

This is third in the Wind River Ranch series by Lindsey McKenna, each one telling the story of different characters who come to the Bar C Ranch in Wyoming and soon call it home. Each is a stand-alone book, however, there are numerous references to people from previous books.

Publisher’s blurb: Kira Duval was part of a Special Forces team that got caught in an ambush–leaving only two wounded survivors: herself and Weapons Sergeant Garret Fleming. Losing her team was traumatic, and in the chaotic aftermath, she lost Garret too. But she never lost her secret yearning for him.

Finally she gave up trying to find him back in the states. But as she settles in at the Bar C cattle ranch in Wyoming, a place where veterans can find a home and a place to heal, she’s introduced to her housemate: none other than Garret Fleming.

They’re a long way from Afghanistan–and a long way from the people they used to be before tragedy changed their lives. But as Kira earns her keep by care-taking for the ranch owner’s bedridden, alcoholic father–a task that sometimes feels more challenging than any black ops mission–she finds that even in peacetime, Garret still has her back, and that in this warm, welcoming place, the passion she resisted in the heat of battle may finally have a chance to flourish..

*  * * *

There was  much I enjoyed about this story, but before that, my two pet peeves. First, was the head-hopping of the two main characters–Kira and Garret–between paragraphs. Once upon a time I never used to notice that, until enough editors preached to me about it, so now it glares at me whenever I encounter POV in both characters heads in the same few lines of each other.

Second was the redundancy in the beginning between Kira and Garret’s secret feelings for each other. Clearly, while working in Afghanistan, and part of a team unit, they could not have shared nor demonstrated their true emotions or interest in each other beyond “just friends”. It is a common sense thing to me, however, it felt like the author was belaboring the point repetitively for more chapters than necessary.

Now, all the main characters that reside at the Bar C Ranch suffer some degree of PTSD as a result of their experiences in the military. The severity and complexity and everyday challenges were all well handled. I like how the author researched the various ways it can manifest and emphatically wrote the character’s experiences. I felt I could experience it right alongside them.

Around the middle of the book, the characters really started to shine. Garret’s protectiveness of Kira felt real and remarkable. I do wish they’d spent less page time internally dwelling on their true feelings now, instead of excusing to themselves why they still could not be honest with the other. They are ex-military now, no more reasons to hold back. I felt they should just take the chance, and be open and honest with each other much sooner. However, that can be a manifestation of the PTSD, so I chalk it up to that.

The situation between Kira and the ranch owner’s ailing father was also wonderfully done. It showcased PTSD in it’s most honest form, and I caught myself gritting my teeth and wincing right alongside Kira sometimes.

What I did love was the way Garret, and another soldier buddy, Reese, tenderly protected and looked after their lady loves. These are big, strong, warriors, yet Ms. McKenna wrote splendidly of their wonderful job in portraying their softer, gentler, nurturing personalities. It was lovely to read.

Other than a few minor typos and one case of a wrong name used, and the aforementioned issues, I thought this latest edition of the Wind River Valley saga was a very good read.

I will add this: the cover is a bit misleading, as is the title. Garret is not a cowboy, he does not handle horses in the story with the exception of two lines toward the ending. He spends his time working on ranch machinery, running an odd errand here and there, and spending most of his time with either Kira or the Ranch people, never the horses. He is never astride a horse. Also, the reason for the dog is a mystery as there is no dog mentioned anywhere in the story. Just a head’s up not to be looking for dusty cowhands who spend their time talking to their horse or the loyal dog. Perhaps in other Wind River stories, but not this one.

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I know, what an odd thing to be thinking about. I remember when I was a youngster, and a budding author wannabe, I adored my family’s encyclopedia set. The pages were thumb worn from how often I’d skim over them, looking for something or another. I loved research. The more I wrote, the more I needed to research and learn. I’d peruse the school library to scour every resource I could for my latest topic. Dewey Decimal was my friend.  I was as familiar with card catalogues as some people were of sport scores.

card catalogue at the Library of Congress

 

It was a cornucopia of goodness when I became a librarian’s aide in my junior year (or somewhere in those latter high school years) I had a wealth of knowledge at my fingertips! Or so it seemed.

Then came the advent of computers–everywhere. We had this neat butler called Jeeves and we could ask him just about anything and he’d scurry off to find the answer.  Before that there was something called Infoseek, though I only used it a few times before Jeeves. They each made researching in a library or book for that matter, almost obsolete. Librarians everywhere surely mourned.

I’m not sure what happened to ole Jeeves, maybe he retired, but now we have Google. And I must admit, for a Luddite, I have become fascinated at how endless Google seems. I can ask it anything, and so far it has never failed to instantly show me a list of items fairly close to what I was looking for.

For example, not long ago I was writing a scene in which the hero mowed the heroine’s lawn. She came home and discovered what a sweet guy he was. Trouble is, while I’ve always heard fresh mown grass smells good, I’ve never experienced it. (Google anosmia) So off I dashed to google “How does cut grass smell?”. Darn if I didn’t get at least a few descriptions I could use to describe the scene. Pretty cool.

And more recently I was working on a scene in which another hero kisses the heroine. He sports this full beard and mustache. Now, admittedly, it’s been more than a decade since I’ve kissed a man with facial hair, and I’ve kind of forgotten the details of how it feels. Not having a suitable model about to try kissing, I headed over to Google and typed in my query. Well, sure enough, instant answers. Not the greatest but sufficient to give me some words for the heroine to use to describe what she is experiencing.

It seems weekly I am dashing over to Google to inquire about some random thought for a book. I research locations, occupations, house plans, and so much more. And it’s so quick and easy, no need to rifle through card catalogues, prowl aisles and racks of books, and lug stacks of books and notes home to compile all in the name of research.

Now I google, and then save or copy and paste. I can print it for the hard folder or drop it to a virtual folder, depending on what it is.

I sure miss my old encyclopedia set though, and wonder if anyone ever saw this day coming. Maybe Jeeves did.

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The cover, plot, and setting drew me in. I received this story from Reading Alley in exchange for an honest review.

Blind since birth, Abbey Morrison is confident and proficient in her world, the only world she’s ever known. Despite the family and friendships she has in the small fishing village, and her father’s unfailing love, she is still lonely.

Disfigured and scarred from war injuries, Irish immigrant Jeremy McKetcheon, finds work and solitude in self-isolation as a lighthouse keeper on a lonely island. His only companion is a loyal dog and the periodic visits of the kindly mail carrier, Morrison, from the mainland, bringing him supplies and news.

A tragedy brings Abbey to Jeremy’s isolated island. Soon, romance blooms between the two lonely hearts.

Because this is a historical novel, the author did spend a fair bit of time describing food, activities, and period details, thus creating a developed and believable setting, even if the factual timeline was off a little bit. It’s fictions and she is entitled to stretch dates a small amount for the story.

I enjoyed the language of the Irishman, Jeremy. It felt true to his heritage and made him more dimensional. Likewise with his hobby of carving wood figures. I wish Abbey had more depth to her. She seemed a little too perfect, with her only flaw in that sometimes she made a poor choice.

The pacing, however, was awkward in many places. Sometimes it felt jerky or rushed. Characters spanned large periods of time within the same paragraph, leaving a feeling of leaping forward and missing things. A smooth transition between time could have eliminated this.

The reprobates  were believable and thoroughly unlikable, which was the intention. While Abbey didn’t always behave in the wisest of ways, the evil behaviors of the bad guys certainly came across as genuine.

Abbey’s Tale is a good story. It could have been better with more development of Abbey Morrison and better pacing overall and more development between scenes.

 

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I am delighted to have another contributing author visit, and bring their story for the Soul Mate Tree Collection of stories. Today I have the pleasure of hosting Steven Mitchell. His book is a delightful and fun Science Fiction Romantic Comedy, called “Between Venus and Mars”.

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An ancient legend spanning eras, continents, and worlds. To some, it’s nothing more than a dream. To others, a pretty fairy tale handed down through the generations.

For those in critical need of their own happy ending, a gift.

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HEAT LEVEL: Steamy **  An intergalactic adventure filled with laughs, love, and adventure.

Once Upon a Galaxy . . .

Zana Starchild is on a mission to restore her tribe’s livestock and save herself from one more meal of kelp. Sure, it’s technically illegal to visit Old Earth, but to a rim rat like Zana, galactic laws are really just guidelines. Her wrecked starship just means she’ll need to use her backup plan to get off the abandoned world, an old Earth legend her uncle passed down to her.

Pulled from a relaxing shower, across the galaxy to Old Earth, Galactic Marshall Kyle Kepler finds himself naked and marooned with a quirky rim rat. Zana’s broken more laws than Kyle can count, and he plans to arrest her, just as soon as he can find transport off the planet and a pair of pants.

A junk heap of a starship, a magical tree, and a roving gang of mutant kangaroos are just the beginning of rollicking intergalactic journey filled with laughs, love, and adventure.

Book Videos:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rV0BQCcwhfk

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pdtFXXlGvbk

Amazon Link: https://www.amazon.com/Between-Venus-Mars-Soul-Mate-ebook/dp/B01N7OXSND/

Author S.C. Mitchell has this to say: When series collide: Between Venus and Mars is not only set the multi-dimensional worlds of the Soul Mate Tree legend, but also ties into my Hearts in Orbit series, a futuristic universe filled with starships, aliens, and new technologies. And, of course, romance. The Soul Mate Tree project offered me a great way to play with some new characters and further develop my universe, while partnering with some of the best authors in the business.

The Hearts in Orbit universe is a place where galactic marshals keep the peace in the cosmopolitan Core Worlds as well as the wild-west type rim world planets. While this book works as a standalone, and you don’t have to have read any of the others, I consider it Hearts in Orbit 2.5, fitting nicely between Pirates of the Dark Nebula and my soon-to-be-released Hearts in Orbit 3 novel Captives of the Kratzen.

Series Link: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B016DF63JM/

 

                              Hidden strengths, adventurous hearts.

S.C.Mitchell grew up an avid reader of comic books, science fiction and fantasy literature. He’s been writing stories for over thirty years. In 2010 he left his job as a computer desktop support specialist to pursue his passion for writing full time. He is a member of the Romance Writers of America as well as the Wisconsin chapter.

As a writer of paranormal and sci-fi romance, fantasy, and science fiction, Steve crafts unique and wondrous worlds where his characters explore, romp, and fall in love. Whether traveling through dark, demon filled dimensions, the edge of wild space, or ancient mythological heavens, his heroes and heroines, guided by their adventurous hearts, discover hidden strengths on their pathway to enduring love.

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You’ll find him at:

http://scmitchellauthor.com/

Blog: http://scmitchellauthor.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AuthorSCMitchell

Twitter: https://twitter.com/AuthorSMitchell

Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B007D0Z1MW

Videos:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rV0BQCcwhfk

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pdtFXXlGvbk

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Lately I’ve been thinking about perspective, and how I often need adjustments to mine. I get caught up in dwelling all about me, and my wishes and needs, and sometimes forget about others. Then something happens and I get a eye-opener. So, I’ve listed a few situations that have another side that offers a whole new perspective.

 

When one is having a bad day– running late, and nothing going right, and you see a car while doing your morning errands…then seeing that same car again later in the day on the back of a tow truck, this time with crumpled damage.

When one has to take a detour— how much of an inconvenience will this be?… and then hearing about someone who had to have their keys taken away and can’t drive any more.

When the drive-thru messes up one’s order… and then they pass a homeless, hungry person or the line at a soup kitchen or a church with a reminder of a food drive.

When one has a bad hair day– it’s frizzy, unruly, or won’t cooperate… and then crosses paths with a cancer fighter who is bald from chemotherapy.

When one doesn’t like anything — can’t find any decent clothes in the closet or the dishes are mismatched or furniture is old and ratty….and then the neighbor’s house burns and they lose everything they have.

When one has a fight with their spouse, parent or child and is justifiably angry… and then pass by a funeral.

When the newspaper is wet, damaged or not delivered at all…. and then encounters one who doesn’t know how to read.

When it hurts– one twists their knee/ankle or somehow hurts themselves….and then encounters someone missing a limb (or some other obvious limitation)

When the friend/ relative/ date stands one up…then learns of a lonely or bullied person who commits suicide ( or tries to) because they felt they were alone or un-loveable.

These scenarios are not meant to be depressing or upsetting. They were intending to remind myself, and anyone else who needs a gentle reminder, that no matter how bad things may seem right now…there is always someone else who is experiencing it worse. It’s all in our perspective.

It seems on the days when I am feeling sorry for myself over some grievance is when I am graciously handed such a reminder that it’s not all about me. The car occurrence really did happen this weekend. While out running errands, I spotted a car that for some reason stuck out to me. A couple of hours later, I spotted it again while I was going to meet a friend, this time loaded on the back of a tow truck.  Suddenly my rushed schedule paled in comparison and I scribbled most of these situations on my way to my appointment.

 

 

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I am happy to showcase a series by Soul Mate author Rebecca E. Neely. I have read two of the books in her Crossing Realms trilogy, and reviewed her first book, The Keeper, on this blog last year. The Betrayer is the 3rd book in the series and is currently being written now.

THE KEEPER  (Book 1)  

Nick Geary, jaded clan leader of human guardians, the Keepers, is doomed to love a human woman who’s forgotten him, time after time, for thirteen years: Libby Klink, a skittish accountant who’s as terrified of her recent and strange intuitions as she is of her mundane existence.

When Nick is ordered by the clan’s guiding force to seek Libby’s help in defending the clan against enemy Betrayers, romance sizzles as the pair forms an unlikely alliance in their desperate search to discover the key to the clan’s salvation—which Libby alone holds.

But a haunting secret could cost Nick everything, and in a race against time, both will be forced to choose between their hearts and duty. Can their love, and the clan survive, or will the very forces that drew them together ultimately destroy them?

 

THE WATCHER  (Book 2)

Hell bent on avenging his own death, former Keeper Dev Geary eagerly accepts when the Watchers task him with returning to the human realm to discover the secret for rendering Similitude—the very thing that killed him.

But to succeed in the seven days he’s been granted, he’ll need to work with the one human who wants nothing to do with him, and who he can’t help falling for—Meda Gabriel, a cagey, street smart bar owner with a unique skill set, and maybe, the key to his mission.

With the clock ticking and the Betrayers barely a step behind, can Dev overcome his demons and find the answers the clan so desperately needs, with Meda at his side? Can love find a way, or will he be forced to abandon her and the clan, leaving them all to face imminent destruction?

Can a former Keeper hell bent on avenging his own death conquer his demons in time to save his clan, and his heart?

Buy links:

REBECCA E. NEELY, AUTHOR  ~  Romance. Paranormal. Suspense.

A sucker for a happy ending, Rebecca strives to write the kind of stories she loves to read—gritty, suspenseful and featuring authentic, edgy and vulnerable characters, smack dab in the middle of action that explodes from page one.

Careers, past and present, include freelance writing, accounting, mother, problem solver, doer and head bottle washer.

Rebecca is a member of Three Rivers Romance Writers (TRRW), a PAN member of Romance Writers of America (RWA), and is proud to serve as a judge for several writing contests each year.

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CONNECT WITH REBECCA:

Website: www.rebeccaneely.com

Blog: https://rebeccaneelysite.wordpress.com/

Mailing List: http://eepurl.com/bqiDi5

Facebook    https://www.facebook.com/rebecca.mullnerneely

Twitter   https://twitter.com/Rebeccaneely1

Amazon   https://www.amazon.com/author/rebeccaeneely

Goodreads  https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/9857158.Rebecca_E_Neely

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/rebneely/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/rebneely/

BONUS! REVIEW OF “THE WATCHER”!

“The Watcher” picks up where Book 1 “The Keeper” ended. To fully understand the characters, the setting, premise, etc…, I would highly recommend starting with book 1 first. Otherwise, parts of book 2 will not make sense. That said, “The Watcher” is the suspenseful story of Dev Greary, and introducing Meda Gabriel. It is fast paced, spicy, and full of loads of romance.

Dev, a returning character from book 1, and a hero in his own right, is fresh from his recent death and hell bent on revenge. Except he is charged only to helping his fellow Keepers clan to avoid catastrophic trouble. A lone wolf, Dev’s death hasn’t chilled him out much. He still lives “between the inches” in every situation.

So now he is back on earth, albeit temporarily, thanks to The Watchers. He has seven short days to right some wrongs and save human kind from the damage of the Betrayers. And, well, if he can manage to avenge his death, so much the better. Right?

To succeed at the revenge, he needs to get very lucky. To succeed in helping the Keepers and all human kind, he needs the help of Miss Meda Gabriel. She is the daughter of a late scientist and researcher whose work aligned very much to the non-human Keepers. Meda is the perfect match to Dav’s devil-may-care personality. She’s independent, wicked smart, and takes no crap from him. Ever. She sees right through him.

In fact, the lovely Meda can see a lot of things, with just a simple touch. Unfortunately, she can’t see into Dev’s heart and soul. And his Watcher ability to see into human’s vistas doesn’t work with Meda either.

Be prepared to read about a fair bit of scientific stuff–some factual and some probably a bit of literary fantasy. For example, I learned that everything contains energy. To paraphrase Ms. Neely, “Good energy, bad energy, it is everywhere and in everyone. Vitality is the whole of those energies”.

Ms. Neely has once more created a cast of characters, both good and bad. who are committed to their passions. Whether it is saving man-kind or destroying it, she blends suspense with science, with adventure, and with spicy romance in an artful style that will keep the reader turning the pages.

Time is short. Only seven days allowed. The clock–and the passions–are ticking.

 

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This story began with a rough and rocky start. A woman was getting beat–again–by her alleged boyfriend. It left a sour taste in my mouth and I almost stopped reading right there. But I reasoned there was hopefully nowhere else for the plot to go but up, so I turned another page.

To be honest, it was hard to swallow and I wondered why this woman–the story’s heroine–was staying for yet around round of abuse. After a flip of the page, she has left the sod, apparently for good. I let out a ragged breath and turned the page again.

Lauren McCray left Michigan in a haste, fleeing the vile and completely hate-able Clint Jackson. She eventually crosses enough state lines to run into Chase Montgomery, a slow drawling rancher you can’t help but instantly stumble into. Or fall for

Grammatical errors abound, which distracted from the read. It is a good story but I felt it could have benefited from another round of edits. The suspense was tight, the characters–especially the secondary ones–well-developed, and the story line moved along at a nice pace.Yes, there are rustlers involved, and I won’t spoil it except to say it was not exactly who I thought it might be. And there is very fast romance between Lauren and Chase. Personally, considering her terrible track record, I thought she ought to wait a bit before dashing off to love-land with Chase, but sometimes it just happens that fast. And Chase is just the protective rancher that you want to cuddle with and start your day with, and definitely end you day with.

Overall, “Rustlers and Romance” was not a bad book to read, fairly short at 129 pages, and worth spending an afternoon or evening curled up with.

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