Showing posts with label PTA Ruder Finn. Show all posts
Showing posts with label PTA Ruder Finn. Show all posts

Monday, March 26, 2012

Review: Woodrose Mountain (Hope's Crossing #2) by RaeAnne Thayne

Evie Blanchard was at the top of her field in the city of angels. But when an emotional year forces her to walk away from her job as a physical therapist, she moves from Los Angeles to Hope's Crossing seeking a quieter life. So the last thing she needs is to get involved with the handsome, arrogant Brodie Thorne and his injured daughter, Taryn.A self-made man and single dad, Brodie will do anything to get Taryn the rehabilitation she needs…even if it means convincing Evie to move in with them. And despite her vow to keep an emotional distance, Evie can't help but be moved by Taryn's spirit, or Brodie's determination to win her help—and her heart. With laughter, courage and more than a little help from the kindhearted people of Hope's Crossing, Taryn may get the healing she deserves—and Evie and Brodie might just find a love they never knew could exist.
Woodrose Mountain by RaeAnne Thayne is a small-town romance. Small-town romances are popular at the moment and they all seem to have a few things in common: the small-town atmosphere, the town's occupants become an integral part of the romance, and kissing or petting are the set boundaries for sexual contact between the protagonists. All of the above mentioned apply to the Hope's Crossing series.

The romance in this second installment is between Evie Blanchard and Brodie Thorne, however I would say that there are actually three main characters. The third and very important central character is Taryn, Brodie's daughter. The central plot to this story revolves around Taryn, and the romance between Evie and Brodie, although integrated, takes the place of a secondary storyline.

Evie and Brodie dislike each other. Brodie's daughter Taryn is coming home and needs special home care and a physical therapist is a most. Evie is licensed physical therapist, but she no longer practices for personal reasons. She has found peace and a new passion in designing bead jewelry for the String Fever Boutique. When Brodie asks Evie to help him with his daughter, she turns him down flat.

Evie's reasons for turning down the job offer from Brodie are understandable, but Brodie's mother Katherine convinces her to help them set up a treatment plan for a two-week period. Taryn received severe brain injuries during a tragic automobile accident that left her severely incapacitated, one teenage girl dead, and Charlie Beaumont the town's pariah. Eventually Evie caves in, setting the stage for the romance and the story.

Most of the story that follows is all about Taryn and the physical and occupational therapy that eventually help her overcome some of the obstacles presented by her disabilities, plus the final emotional resolution to the accident that caused it all. The town and its inhabitants are all affected by Taryn's injuries, Layla's death and Charlie Beaumont's actions. As I've come to expect from this author, this section of the story is well executed, researched and developed by Thayne. Plus, if you are like me, you will find this storyline quite emotional -- a tear jerker! I recommend keeping a box of tissues by your side.

Unfortunately, the romance between Evie and Brodie takes a back seat and that lack of focus on the couple is felt throughout the story. Evie has personal baggage and she's reluctant to shed it for Brodie. Brodie is a bit of an enigma even at the end. We know that he cares for Evie because of his internal dialog and he seems to forgive her mistakes rather easily along the way. There's mention throughout the story that he suffers from ADD, but there's little proof of this. We do know that he's a concerned and loving father, but that sizzle and connection that the reader feels when a man loves a woman is lacking.

Woodrose Mountain is the second book in RaeAnne Thayne's contemporary romance series, Hope's Crossing. I have enjoyed category romances by this author in the past, and when offered this full-length novel for review could not pass up the opportunity of reading it. Although for me the romance is lukewarm and the couple lacks connection, as a small-town contemporary romance this story succeeds in that the town and its occupants become characters that the reader wants to know. As a big plus, the plot is well researched and interesting to the end.

In the end, Woodrose Mountain is one of those books where I love the writing and execution but wished for a bit more when it comes to the romance. A mixed bag.

Category: Contemporary Romance
Series: Hopes Crossing
Publisher/Release Date: HQN/April, 2012
Source: ARC PTA, Ruder Finn
Grade: B-

Visit RaeAnne Thayne here.

Blackberry Summer, Book 1
Woodrose Mountain, Book 2

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Review: The Summer Garden (Chesapeake Shores #9) by Sherryl Woods

Falling for "Maddening Moira" O'Malley was the unexpected highlight of Luke O'Brien's Dublin holiday. So when she pays a surprise visit to Chesapeake Shores, Luke is thrilled…at first. A fling with this wild Irish rose is one thing, but forever? Maybe someday, but not when he's totally focused on establishing a business that will prove his mettle to his overachieving family.

Given Luke's reaction, Moira has some soul-searching of her own to do. Scarred by her father's abandonment, she wonders if Luke, with his playboy past, is truly the family man she longs for. Adding to her dilemma, she's offered an amazing chance at a dream career of her own.

Deep down, though, Moira knows home is the real prize, and that love can be every bit as enchanted as a summer garden.
The Summer Garden is the final book in the Chesapeake Shores series by Sherryl Woods. I imagine that fans and lovers of the O'Brien family are sad to hear about this last release. Fortunately for them, Sherryl Woods makes it a great ending.

During the O'Brien's trip to Dublin at Christmas time, Luke met "Maddening Moira." He's back home and making plans for a future, hoping to prove himself to his family by making a success of the pub he plans to open at Chesapeake Shores. Moira is in thoughts, but she's back in Ireland. He's in for a surprise though, Moira is about to land on Chesapeake Shores with her grandfather Dillon. Gram invited the love of her life to visit and these two are not only planning to spend time together rekindling their own romance, but they're hoping that Luke and Moira's romance will take a positive turn.

Moira isn't the sweetest girl in the world, and the O'Brien's as a family didn't fall in love with her while they were in Ireland. She's moody and has a bit of a temper that Luke has the knack of defusing with charm and understanding. He likes her direct manner and fell for her in Ireland. Luke is very happy to see Moira again, but he's distracted and quite busy trying to get his new business going too. He has a plan and a timetable to keep, and a deeper relationship with Moira is not part of that timetable at the moment. Maybe in the future.

Moira on the other hand is ready for Luke now! She's not exactly sure what she wants to do with her life and dithers back and forth between her newly discovered talents as a photographer and her secret wish for a family, with Luke. Moira is not a patient woman and let's Luke know what she wants, but when he doesn't exactly react the way she expects him to right away her insecurities take over and... well... the drama begins, particularly when the meddling O'Brien's get involved!

There's a lot of meddling in this story by the O'Briens. They are a chaotic crew! The whole clan makes an appearance in this story, and all have something to contribute as they get involved with Luke's new business at the pub, his mistakes with Moira, Moira's overreactions, and let's not forget Gram and Dillon's rekindled romance! Luke is used to his family, and Moira quickly learns to appreciate them and falls in love with the whole clan in the process, just as they begin to fall in love with her. Gram knows how to put her family, especially Mick, in their place, and is not above meddling either. She gives plenty of advice and knows how to set things up for herself and the younger couple without making it look like manipulation. I really liked Gram!

Sheryl Woods created a wonderful family in the O'Briens. They are chaotic, meddling, loving, competitive and the reader can't help but fall in love with the whole family as the drama and the chaos escalates. I love Gram and Dillon's "at last" type of romance. It is sweet and it seems to me quite realistic in that they both just want to spend whatever time they have left with each other. Lovely.

Luke and Moira's romance I think needed more time to brew. This is a young couple that finds each other just as they are figuring out exactly what it is that they want out of life. Neither is really sure what that is at the moment, and they both vacillate back and forth about the future. As beautiful as the whole story turns out in the end, I couldn't help but feel that with a bit more time they (Luke in particular) would have come to the right conclusion without all the pressure exerted by Moira, family members and circumstances. But well, maybe that was the point... they would have been perfect in the end anyway?

There is a beautiful epilogue that ties up this story and the whole series with Grams thoughts at the end. I think that fans of this series and of the O'Briens will love it!

Category: Contemporary Romance
Series: Chesapeake Shores
Publisher/Release Date: Mira/January 31, 2012
Source: ARC Planned Television Arts, Ruder Finn
Grade: B

Visit Sherryl Woods here.

Chesapeake Shore Series:
The Inn at Eagle Point, #1
Flower on Main, #2
Harbor Lights, #3
A Chesapeake Shores Christmas, #4
Driftwood Cottage, #5
Moonlight Cove, #6
Beach Lane, #7
An O'Brien Family Christmas, #8
The Summer Garden, #9