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Mother’s Day Mayhem–fun novella

Mother’s Day Mayhem

by Lynn Cahoon

Mother's Day MayhemYou don’t have to have a good relationship with your mother or your child to enjoy Lynn Cahoon’s Mother’s Day Mayhem. This novella provides a quick, enjoyable, themed read. Lynn Cahoon is a big proponent of “sometimes, the family you make is just as strong or stronger than blood.” Another nice feature of this book is that although there are mysteries (where ARE those missing garden gnomes?), there are no murders.

I would like to extend my thanks to netgalley.com and to Kensington Books for giving me the opportunity to read this book in exchange for an honest review.

Rating: 5/5

Category: mystery

Notes: a novella in the Tourist Trap series

Publication:  April 2, 2019—Kensington

Memorable Lines:

Life was good. Or it would have been if Greg hadn’t thrown a stone in the pond. Now, I had to deal with the ripples his request had caused.

“You’re never making a mistake by making yourself vulnerable. You’d regret it more if you didn’t take a chance.”

“Bite me,” the kid called back, speeding up even more. Greg sighed. “Not my circus, not my monkey. But if it was, that kid would be sitting in my office waiting for his folks to come and get him. Sometimes people need to know that respect is an important part of building a community.”

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The Rancher’s Redemption–doing the right thing

The Rancher’s Redemption

by Melinda Curtis

The Rancher's RedemptionWhen Ben Blackwell returns from New York City to Falcon Creek to help save his brothers and the Blackwell Ranch, he plans on a quick win in a water rights issue that was supposedly resolved fire years before. He didn’t plan on battling his old friend, Rachel, now a lawyer and single mom, as she tries to gain back her family’s water rights before the Double T Ranch folds. He never planned on confronting himself and the ethics of his past.

The Ranchers’ Redemption has well developed characters in Rachel and Ben. The plot moves quickly from one event to the next. As Rachel and Ben wrestle with their own goals and with an unwilling attraction to each other, they grow and change. There is more than a little humor throughout the book. The author, Melinda Curtis, has a way with language, writing word pictures that encourage smiles, an appreciation of the modern west, and an understanding of the challenges of being a single mother with too many responsibilities. Curtis very effectively uses a technique of inserting italicized phrases and sentences to indicate what Rachel and Ben are thinking or what Big E, Ben’s grandfather, might have said to him as he was growing up or even in the current situation. Big E had a major influence on Ben, but as Ben spends time on the ranch as an adult, the influences of his deceased parents come more to the front for him. He has some ethical decisions to make about the ranch, his family, and his life. Can this big-city lawyer, hardened by losing his parents and being jilted at the altar, make decisions with his heart?

Once I started reading The Rancher’s Redemption, I didn’t want to put it down. I was amazed at the clever turns of phrase found in the first fifty pages. There are lots of flashbacks to Ben and Rachel’s childhood that were revealing as they provided insights into the driving forces for these characters’ motivations. Interesting characters, both minor and major, good writing, humor, fast moving plot with a dual focus on ranching and the law, moral dilemmas, and messy friendships—this book is a complete package. We even get to meet Zoe, Big E’s current wife. I would have liked to know more of her story to understand her motivations, but it would have been too much to ask within the confines of this book. The author made a good choice in bringing in that storyline but not developing it extensively as that would have been a distraction to the main plot.

As in the previous two books is this series, The Rancher’s Redemption ends with an epilogue that follows Big E in his mysterious and unconventional journey to make things right in his family. Once more, the brief epilogue holds a surprise and leads the reader to ponder what might happen next, eagerly anticipating the fourth book in the Return of the Blackwell Brothers.

I would like to extend my thanks to the author, Melinda Curtis, for giving me the opportunity to read this book in exchange for an honest review.

Rating: 5/5

Category: Romance

Notes: #3 in the Return of the Blackwell Brothers. It could work as a standalone as the author throws in a lot of tidbits of information that would help a reader get up to speed on the series’ background or jog their memory on details.

Publication:  October 1, 2018—Harlequin Heartwarming

Memorable Lines:

She marched across the ravaged carrots and torn-up grass, scrunching her eyes against the threat of tears, because ranchers didn’t cry. Not over ruined wool and silk.

Hearing Ben’s voice, the bull turned and charged the trees. He wasn’t the brightest steak-on-a-hoof. He slammed into the wrong tree.

Judge Edwards waved him to silence with more irritation than a traffic cop outside the final night of the annual rodeo in Bozeman.

The Rockies towered in the distance. There was nothing dishonest about those mountains. They were hard but they were fair, treating everyone equally. His parents had been honest and fair. But somewhere along the line, Big E had bumped Ben’s sense of right and wrong out of the black and white and into the land of the gray.

The Story of Arthur Truluv–kindness in action

The Story of Arthur Truluv

by Elizabeth Berg

The Story of Arthur TruvluvI don’t know what I expected as I methodically started the next book in my queue. This one was labelled “Women’s Fiction” which I have learned covers a wide range of possibilities. As a book blogger, I rarely read the online summary again after I have made my selection of a book that I will read weeks or even months later. I never read other reviews until I have written my own. Those practices keep even my subconscious honest.

The Story of Arthur Truluv is a beautiful, delicate surprise. A rather short book that rightfully flows from beginning to end with only double line spacing to mark changes or pauses in the storyline, it is best with no chapter breaks. By the end I had fallen in love with the main characters, the aging Arthur and the young Maddy who is covered with the sadness of being different in so many ways. I was immersed in their individual stories and their collective potential for happiness. They meet in a cemetery and quietly begin a friendship that crosses age barriers.

I am not generally an openly emotional person, but The Story of Arthur Truluv left me in tears, not of sorrow but of hope. Hope for the characters and for the future of real people who find themselves closed in by circumstances but trying to address life and death with hope, courage, and the gentleness that emanates from kindness.

I would like to extend my thanks to netgalley.com and to Random House for giving me the opportunity to read this book in exchange for an honest review.

Rating: 5/5

Category: Women’s Fiction

Notes: I don’t usually read books I review more than once. I think this book will start a new Kindle collection for me: “Revisit.”

Publication:   November 21, 2017—Random House

Memorable Lines:

The bones of his face protrude; he’s gotten so skinny he could take a bath in a gun barrel.

But adults complicate everything. They are by nature complicators. They learned to make things harder than they need to be and they learned to talk way too much.

“But what we need are readers. Right? Where would writers be without readers?…See, that’s what I do. I am the audience. I am the witness. I am the great appreciator, that’s what I do and that’s all I want to do. I worked for a lot of years. I did a lot of things for a lot of years. Now, well, here I am in the rocking chair, and I don’t mind it, Lucille. I don’t feel useless. I feel lucky.”

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