The Bachelor’s Unexpected Family by Lisa Carter

The Bachelor’s Unexpected Family by Lisa Carter
Publisher: Harlequin Love Inspired
Genre: Contemporary, Inspirational
Length: Full length (220 pages)
Heat Level: Sweet
Rating: 4 Stars
Reviewed by Xeranthemum

Second Chance Family

Young widow Kristina Montgomery moves to Kiptohanock, Virginia, hoping it will give her and her teenage son, Gray, a fresh start. She longs for the peace and quiet only a small town can provide. But her plans are thwarted by her new neighbor, Canyon Collier, a former Coast Guard pilot and a crop duster. Gray is instantly drawn to the pilot and his teenage niece, Jade—and Kristina’s not far behind. She and Canyon are soon bonding over parenting their charges and their spark becomes undeniable. Could it be that the spirited pilot is just what Kristina needs to teach her heart to soar again?

Love is being thwarted by the past; a widow’s grief and guilt, and a man’s burden from his family’s reputation. One needs to let go and the other needs to believe he’s not defined by the choices of others. The thread woven throughout The Bachelor’s Unexpected Family is faith. Faith in dreams, in neighbors, in love and in God, can work miracles even when they are no bigger than a bouquet of flowers.

This is a very sweet romance between Kristina and Canyon. I enjoyed watching them when they were together. When it was just them away from everything else; when they forgot about their hang-ups, worries and their tendency to overthink things; I got the solid sense that they truly would be perfect and wonderful for each other. Their easy camaraderie and playful banter was engaging.

I liked how Canyon took to the role of being a parent and how Kristina’s son, Gray, made her realize the rut she had gotten them both in. Jade, Canyon’s niece, and Gray are great secondary characters. As for the hero and heroine, they each had a gaping hole in their hearts that needed healing. The heroine lost her first husband and couldn’t find a reason to move forward, and Canyon never had a healthy family role model so it left him feeling like he was on the outside looking in. How could he be a good father figure to Jade? After seeing the love of a mother for her son, as Kris is to Gray, he felt his insecurity more keenly. Those levels of heartache aren’t a good thing and the author made that very clear. Ms. Carter also made it quite apparent that God has some definite plans and he is working through the townspeople of Kiptohanock. There were some wonderful people there including Kris’s brother, but Margaret especially so.

The one moment where I felt the book didn’t reach me is the moment supposedly where Kris has this great epiphany. It sounded so powerful and firm, and there was this great moment of opportunity, and then … dud. Seriously? She choked? All that and she couldn’t say the words? Grrrr. It’s a good thing there was at least one little kiss in the story that showed me that the chemistry is strong enough to stir their passions so they’d work harder at getting together.

There’s a little drama to spice things up; again showcasing the strong points in each of the main characters as they face their worst fears. It was a relatable plot conflict because high school kids do get into that type of trouble. It was well written and effective.

I’m quite satisfied with the story, the romance and the happily ever after that I found within the pages of The Bachelor’s Unexpected Family. I liked that all the plot threads were tied up, and Kris finally got to touch Canyon’s hair as she’d been wanting to all through the book. Heck, I actually had the itch to do that myself, the writing was that convincing. All in all, this is a really nice romance to spend an afternoon with.

The Viscount and the Vicar’s Daughter by Mimi Matthews

The Viscount and the Vicar’s Daughter by Mimi Matthews
Publisher: Perfectly Proper Press
Genre: Historical
Length: Full Length (241 pgs)
Heat Level: sweet
Rating: 5 Stars
Reviewed by Snapdragon

England, 1861. A world-weary rake and a prim vicar’s daughter are thrown together during a holiday house party. Will they discover there’s more to each other than meets the eye? Or will revelations from the past end their fragile romance before it begins?

After years of unbridled debauchery, Tristan Sinclair, Viscount St. Ashton has hit proverbial rock bottom. Seeking to escape his melancholy, he takes refuge at one of Victorian society’s most notorious house parties. As the Christmas season approaches, he prepares to settle in for a month of heavy drinking…until an unexpected encounter changes his plans–and threatens his heart.

Valentine March is not the drab little spinster she appears to be. When her new job as a lady’s companion lands her smack in the middle of Yorkshire with England’s most infamous rake, she resolves to keep her head down and her eyes fixed firmly on her future–a future which most definitely does not include a sinfully handsome viscount.

A friendship is impossible. An affair out of the question. But when one reckless act binds them together, will two star-crossed souls discover there’s more to each other than meets the eye? Or will revelations from the past end their fragile romance before it begins?

Unexpected and enthralling are the best words to describe Mimi Matthews’ romance, The Viscount and the Vicar’s Daughter. Its hard to know where to begin… perhaps with a word about characters, as they are first and foremost. The mostly no good young viscount Tristan is unexpectedly sympathetic; the dear, unattached lady, Valentine, is equally unexpected, as her artistic proclivities are closer to her heart than making the required match…

No spoilers here! Suffice to say, we kick off with two likeable main characters, quickly realize that some of the lesser are also Very Much Not the required respectable Victorian types, and the unexpected is only compounded. Well before the house party kicks off, I was completely enthralled.

I can’t fault this one: it’s the best romance I have read in ages.

My Daring Duchess by Julie Johnstone

My Daring Duchess by Julie Johnstone
Publisher: DBA Darbyshire Publishing LLC
Genre: Historical
Length: Full length (190 pages)
Heat Level: Sweet
Rating: 3.5 stars
Reviewed by Orchid

When a lady bent on ruining rogues and a duke set on revenge attempt to derail each other’s plans, passion erupts into a love for the ages.

After being left brokenhearted by a duplicitous rake, Anne Adair no longer desires a husband—she wants justice. She’s traded in her foolish dream of happily-ever-after for the much more sensible one of thwarting the blackhearted lords who prey on innocent debutantes. But her first mission proves rather complicated when the dashing, devilish Duke of Kilmartin comes to the aid of her target.

Simon Sedgewick, the newly titled Duke of Kilmartin, never thought he would return to England, let alone attend a ball full of simpering lords. But when his oldest friend’s reputation is being smeared and Simon discovers that the perpetrator is none other than his enemy’s granddaughter, his long-festering desire for vengeance flares to life.

The moment Simon spies Miss Anne Adair across the glittering ballroom, he knows that the ravishing beauty is the perfect instrument for the retribution he thought lost to him. He does not know, however, that Anne has devised a scheme of her own. And soon, these two wary hearts will discover that the best laid plans are no match for love.

This is a lovely regency book with a daring heroine and a revengeful hero. Anne sets out to get revenge or reform a rogue who has ruined her friend. As she plans her attack she meets Simon who also has a reputation as a rogue. The plan falls into place, but she begins to have doubts. Is all as it seems or has someone been lying to get their revenge?

This is one of the better books that steps outside the bounds of Regency propriety. Well written, although there are a few typos, but these are easily overlooked in the flow of the story. Anne’s quest brings the past into the Regency present which will hopefully solve a lot of bitter heartache.

Although this book didn’t grab me and make me sorry to put it down, it was still a very pleasant read with lots of intrigue and excitement.

Texas Rebels: Paxton by Linda Warren

Texas Rebels: Paxton by Linda Warren
Publisher: Harlequin
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Full length (224 pages)
Heat Level: Sweet
Rating: 3.5 stars
Reviewed by Mistflower


After years of girls, beer and a wild life on the rodeo circuit, bull rider Paxton Rebel is done being “The Heartthrob.” His brothers have already settled down and are starting families. Paxton doesn’t really believe he’s meant for love…until he rescues the slight, lovely woman with sea-green eyes on a cold, windy beach.

Remi Roberts can’t trust a charming lady-killer cowboy like Paxton—especially since he’s a Rebel, a family she’s been taught to distrust. She needs to concentrate on recovering from her accident, which is the only thing standing in the way of her adopting the baby girl she adores. Besides, fairy tales don’t exist and bad boys definitely don’t change. Only, this cowboy is determined to prove her wrong…

I finished this book, Texas Rebels: Paxton by Linda Warren a few days ago and wanted to sit on it before I wrote the review. I did love the cast of characters in this series because I feel they demonstrate what family is all about. I enjoy how the characters are incorporated in the community of Horseshoe, Texas. They are really well developed and make the story heartwarming. This story added Miss Bertie who brought a bit of humor into the book. Her granddaughter, Remi, is the heroine.

All that being said, less than a month ago I read Texas Rebels: Elias by Linda Warren which was my first time reading a book by her, and the first book for me in this series, Texas Rebels. I absolutely LOVED it. Therefore I was very excited when I got my hands on this book, Texas Rebels: Paxton. This is a classic example of why I typically avoid reading series. While I enjoyed this book, I was disappointed that it didn’t meet with the high hopes I had of it being another awesome book like Texas Rebels: Elias was. Each book in the series can be read as a standalone. I wonder, if I hadn’t read the other book first, might I have enjoyed this one more if I hadn’t had the expectations from reading the other story first? Unfortunately, I did have high hopes and now I need to write an honest review. Fortunately, Texas Rebels: Paxton does have some positives worth mentioning.

The heroine, Remi, was literally weak and strong at the same time. She was recovering from an accident that left her severely injured. As a result she was filled with the conflict of “woe is me, how will anyone love my scars?”. Yet, she possessed the determination to exercise and work hard towards getting better. I struggled with connecting with her because of the way she was written: a selfish individual with bursts of being a thoughtful person only to go right back to her “all about me” attitude. The plot thread that reveals why and how the accident happened was foolish considering we’re talking about a grown woman. However, it further established her self-centeredness. It didn’t help that her first scene in the story portrayed her as rude.

I believe in love at first sight but is it powerful enough to change a person over night? The hero, Paxton, was described as a selfish, famous lover boy rodeo champion. But, after meeting Remi, he decided he wanted to change into a family man overnight. It was a tiny bit hard to believe. Even his other brothers were calling him out on it, asking what has gotten into him. I believe people can change but I’m not sure it can happen overnight. Try as you might, it’s not as easy as this book made it out to be. It did help that his other brothers had gotten married and started having families. Paxton was starting to feel the pressure of changing his ways and meeting Remi just reinforced his decision to change. But I felt like the change was a little abrupt.

The plot thread with Remi’s brother, Ruger, could have been deleted and I wouldn’t have missed it. I didn’t connect with that development very well. I understand Remi wanted a relationship with her brother but he annoyed me. He was old enough to figure the truth out for himself and stand up to his uncle and make his own decisions. However, I understand how Ruger was a necessary character in the plot as another attempt to connect the stories in the series by reminding readers of the rivalry between the Rebels and the McCrays.

The plot thread with Annie, the baby that Remi wanted to adopt, was a struggle for me, which is sad because it was a significant plot point. I felt like it took the spotlight away from the developing romance between Remi and Paxton in the beginning by constantly making the book about Remi. However, as the story developed, Annie became less and less about Remi and more about Paxton and Remi as a couple. I imagine this string of events regarding Annie was an attempt to incorporate drama into to plot. At this endeavor I’ll admit the author succeeded.

Remi and Paxton as a couple were okay. They appeared to be compatible. Paxton grew on me to the point that I did believe that he loved Remi and was a changed man. Eventually, Remi grew on me also and I felt that they were meant for each other. I didn’t appreciate how they took some time apart near the end. I’m sure that was another attempt at pulling heart strings and drama but only succeeded in annoying me. I thought it was cute how their relationship was equated to two geese named Henry and Henny. That element was a nice, unique and appreciated touch.

It is necessary for me to mention that this was a super-fast paced book – everything happened very quickly. My interest was captured right from the start and held throughout the story until the end despite my connectivity struggles. I feel the story could have slowed down some because I felt rushed. I can’t help but wonder if that is also why I struggled as much as I did to fall in love with this story. I desperately wanted to love it as much as I did the previous book.

In conclusion, I do recommend this book for other readers to give it a try. I strive really hard to be honest in my reviews but I feel my review of Paxton is slanted or biased based on my previous experience in reading Elias.  I am willing to try another story about those Texas Rebels, though, as there are enough positives in Paxton to recommend that other readers or fans of Ms. Warren give this one a try.

Texas Rebels: Elias by Linda Warren

Texas Rebels: Elias by Linda Warren
Publisher: Harlequin Western Romance
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Full length (224 pages)
Heat Level: Sweet
Rating: 5 stars
Reviewed by Mistflower


Maribel McCray knew moving back to Horseshoe, Texas, would mean facing Elias Rebel, the cowboy she was forbidden to love in high school. She just didn’t expect it to happen so soon. With her teenage son, Chase, in trouble, she needs Elias’s help. He may be a Rebel, sworn enemy of every McCray, but he’s also Chase’s father.

For the lone bachelor of the Rebel clan, there’s only one way to make up for lost years with his son—become a family for real. But Maribel’s distance runs deeper than the Rebel-McCray feud. Elias won’t settle for a marriage of convenience with the woman he’s falling for again. How can he convince Maribel some second chances are worth taking?

I really enjoyed this book. I’m disappointed that I didn’t find the Texas Rebels series by Linda Warren sooner. This is the seventh and last book in the series. I am going to have to go back and read the rest of the stories because I have a feeling I’m going to enjoy them based on how much I enjoyed reading this one.

I really need to point out that this story was a heartwarming romance about second chances. The heroine, Maribel, was written in a way that she could very possibly be me or someone I know. She has realistic issues that I can’t get into but I genuinely could understand from a personal perspective. In fact the advice she was given had a direct impact on me. Therefore I can consider this book to be inspirational. I quote, “You may not understand that kind of love, but sometimes people love the way they can”. That statement spoke to me and was powerful and meaningful to the plot. I admired Maribel for her courage and vulnerability as well as her ability to forgive.

I really connected with Elias, the hero, because he shared my values in a relationship. Elias and I both need vows of love to be shared at some point in the relationship. However, Maribel shared my values as far as needing to see love through actions not just with the words “I love you”. Together they demonstrated true love. I respected how Maribel and Elias were direct and honest with each other. No mind games.

When I read a romance book I want to be able to rave about it. I am so excited to be able to do just that. Everything was remarkable. The writing style, the plot, the characters, the pace, and the originality all had me captured from the start to the end. While this story was the ending in the series, fortunately for me it was my beginning. I will get to go back and meet all of the characters in the Rebel and McCray families that I briefly got to know and fall in love with in Texas Rebels: Elias.

I am quite thankful that I stumbled upon this book and I can definitely recommend it. Texas Rebels: Elias was an extremely enjoyable read for me. Just be prepared to “expect the unexpected”. This novel is more than meets the eye.

Brynnde by M. Pepper Langlinais

Brynnde by M. Pepper Langlinais
Publisher: Self Published
Genre: Historical
Length: Full Length (212 pgs)
Heat: Sweet
Rated: 5 stars
Reviewed by Snapdragon

Brynnde Archambault needs to find someone to marry, else she’ll be stuck with dull Mr. Dallweather. The answer to her problem arrives in the form of handsome and witty Viscount Burbridge, but just when everything seems to be going smoothly, scandal strikes and the engagement ends.

Meanwhile, Brynnde has no trouble matchmaking her friends and even her own brother. But while she breezily finds suitors for everyone else, for her time is running out. Must she resign herself to becoming Mrs. Dallweather? Or will Brynnde yet succeed in making a match for herself?

An unexpected gem, Brynnde will restore Regency readers’ joy in reading–and rejoice in discovering author Pepper Langlinais!

Quite properly, if I may say so, this regency romance offers all the correct components: the marriage-mart, the slightly-stifled leading lady, unexpected scandal, ballrooms and tea rooms and gossip! What’s more, Proper Regency though it is, Brynnde (the story and the character) manages to be a bit unpredictable. Brynnde, who “will not be treated like a heifer,” has a good head on her shoulders and is quite the match for sparring in the drawing room. Her combative conversations are superb!

There are a plethora of characters, but they are distinct, and never confusing. The author’s style gives a bit of flavor to this historical. Is it subtle word choice? A particular care when offering a phrase? I cannot quite put my finger on it, but she can twist a bit of ‘funny’ into action, unexpectedly. This is the most enjoyable story I have read in quite a while.

Bryndde is a fun, uncomplicated, well-written read that any fan of the genre should pick up.

Autumn Falls by Delia Latham

Autumn Falls by Delia Latham
Paradise Pines #3
Publisher: Pelican Book Group
Genre: Contemporary, Inspirational
Length: Full Length (243 pgs)
Heat Level: Sweet
Rating: 4.5 stars
Reviewed by Poinsettia

Autumn Warren and her friend Cecily determine to have one last hurrah before the crazy whirl of planning Cecily’s wedding. Autumn reluctantly agrees to lay off the barbed comments about her friend’s imminent move to Italy (for no better reason than that Cecily fell in love) and the girls rent an apartment at Cambria’s Paradise Pines Lodge for the entire fall season.Autumn’s reluctant agreement to remain silent regarding her friend’s upcoming marriage, in no way indicates a change of heart about letting a man into her own life. She’s watched enough friends get married and divorced to sour her on the subject of love and the sanctity of marriage. (Autumn isn’t exactly a religious person, but she doesn’t believe in divorce, and seriously…given the current divorce statistics, why even risk it?)But when she meets Russ Amundsen and his adorable daughter, Dalynn, she finds herself in danger of losing her carefully guarded heart. And what is it about the mysterious Miss Angelina Love—who may or may not own Paradise Pines—that makes Autumn believe her heart never stood a chance once she set foot inside the lodge?

Autumn doesn’t believe in love.

Autumn spent her youth watching marriages fall apart, and she vowed never to give her heart to a man. With her friend Cecily by her side, Autumn has avoided any serious romantic relationships. Now everything is changing. Cecily is engaged and planning on moving to Italy. Autumn can’t believe her best friend is about to fall into the trap of love and sets out to talk her friend out of marriage by going on one last vacation together. However, all Autumn’s plans go out the window once the pair arrive in Paradise Pines.

Autumn and Cecily have a close friendship and they’ve clearly spent years making great memories. I can understand why Autumn would be afraid of losing that. Though I have to say that Autumn’s plan of talking Cecily out of her marriage always struck me as selfish. Autumn didn’t seem to have any specific objections to Cecily’s fiancé. In fact, I’m not sure she’s bothered to find out much about him. Autumn isn’t trying to save Cecily from a bad marriage. Deep down, I think Autumn is just afraid of her relationship with her best friend changing.

Things begin to change the moment Autumn arrives at Paradise Pines and runs into Russ. Their first encounter is far from pleasant, but it isn’t long before the two find themselves drawn to each other. Unfortunately, Russ hasn’t had much luck in the romance department either. His divorce has left him with control issues that he struggles with daily. With Russ’ stony persona and Autumn’s skewed view of romance, they don’t appear to be a likely couple at first. However, I enjoyed watching them gradually break down each other’s barriers as they fell in love.

Miss Angie, the proprietor of Paradise Pines, is a wonderful person. She exudes gentleness and kindness and is very easy to talk to. She shares her Christian faith freely but never forces it on Autumn. I must say I truly enjoyed watching Autumn come to know God. The moment when Autumn finally opens her heart is simply beautiful.

I really enjoyed reading Autumn Falls. It is the third book in the Paradise Pines series, but it stands alone very well. It is a sweet, uplifting novel sure to delight fans of inspirational romance.

Of Noble Blood: Out of the Darkness by E.H. James

Of Noble Blood: Out of the Darkness, The Demon Series Part 7 by E.H. James
Publisher: Crushing Hearts and Black Butterfly Publishing
Genre: Sci-Fi/Fantasy, Horror, Paranormal, Historical, Contemporary
Length: Short Story (53 pages)
Heat Level: Sweet
Rating: 4 Stars
Reviewed by Astilbe

Being the queen’s daughter doesn’t exclude you, when the fate of the world is in the balance. And when Princess Amara has the opportunity to help, she readily accepts.

Transformed into a shape-shifting time traveler, she journeys back through the centuries to the year 1522. Here she retrieves a baby boy and brings him forward to the year 1995, where he becomes Jesse Miller.

Unaware he is chosen, he comes to realize he alone must save the world. And with the help of Amara, he must travel further yet into the future, to destroy the demon infiltration and repair the damaged timeline.

But the story is far from over, and when he returns to 2233, where he lives with Amara, he discovers there is far more to experience than he can possibly imagine.

Imagine what it would be like to remember doing something that technically hasn’t happened in your timeline yet.

The time travel in this story was incredibly complex. Multiple timelines interfered with each other over and over again, so I was glad that the author spent as much time as possible showing the audience what happened in each timeline before and after they were changed yet again. This made for a pleasant reading experience, especially once the pacing picked up and Amara’s mission became even more urgent

There were so many other conflicts going on that I was a little bit surprised when a romantic twist was included as well. While I liked both of the characters who were involved in it and it is a minor criticism, the plot would have been even stronger if it had stuck to the main storyline. The characters had plenty to keep them busy as it was.

As usual, the world building was spectacular. I know I’ve mentioned this in previous reviews of this series, but I love the way all of these stories build on each other over time. There are little details in each one of them that are later expanded on. This makes it important to read everything in order, and it also makes it rewarding for longterm readers who may have wondered about a small detail early on that is only now being fully explored.

I’d recommend Of Noble Blood: Out of the Darkness, The Demon Series Part 7 to all of the fans of this world. It was one of the best instalments in it so far!

The Prairie Doctor’s Bride by Kathryn Albright

The Prairie Doctor’s Bride by Kathryn Albright
Publisher: Harlequin/Mills & Boon
Genre: Historical
Length: Full length (288 pages)
Heat Level: Sweet
Rating: 5 stars
Reviewed by Mistflower

Wedding bells in Oak Grove…

Raising her son alone, penniless Sylvia Marks has had enough of being the subject of town gossip. But when her son is seriously injured she’ll do anything to save him…even kidnap handsome Dr. Nelson Graham!

Nelson knows what he wants in a wife; she’s to be amiable, biddable and skilled in domestic chores. Gun-toting Sylvia Marks isn’t what he had in mind, but as the two are forced together he realizes she’s exactly what he needs!

I first became aware of the author, Kathryn Albright, when I reviewed “Mail-Order Brides of Oak Grove”. “Mail-Order Brides of Oak Grove is one book with two stories. One story is written by Lauri Robinson, “Surprise Bride for the Cowboy”. The other was written by Kathryn Albright, “Taming the Runaway Bride”. Even though it’s two books in one, they are connected by sharing the setting and characters. I still think that is the best book I’ve ever read. I still don’t understand how two authors could write a book sharing some of the characters and yet I didn’t feel like I was reading a book written by two authors. If I could be morphed or transported anywhere I’d choose to be transplanted into Oak Grove, Kansas to live among all the townsfolk. I would love to personally meet all the characters I’ve grown to love. After reading and reviewing “Mail-Order Brides of Oak Grove” I reviewed “Winning the Mail-Order Bride” by Lauri Robinson which introduced Fiona Goldberg and Bret Blackwell, who made an exciting appearance in “The Prairie Doctor’s Bride”. There is one other book that I reviewed before “The Prairie Doctor’s Bride” that involved my favorite town of Oak Grove and that one is “Western Christmas Brides”. That book has three stories in it but the one that is relevant to this review is “A Bride and Baby for Christmas” by Lauri Robinson. I just can’t get enough of this Oak Grove utopia. A reader does not need to read all the other books prior to “The Prairie Doctor’s Bride” but I think I loved “The Prairie Doctor’s Bride more because I have read the other books. When I saw “The Prairie Doctor’s Bride” posted I knew I just had to read it. The fact that Lauri Robinson was the author who introduced Fiona and Bret yet they made an appearance in Kathryn Albright’s book, “The Prairie Doctor’s Bride”, made me feel again that Kathryn Albright and Lauri Robinson are in fact the same person. Yet when I Googled their names, my theory is wrong. All I can say at this point is that I will continue to read any book written by these two authors and most definitely if it is set in Oak Grove, Kansas. I know that there are still some eligible bachelors in Oak Grove. I hope they continue the Oak Grove series.

With all that being said, The Prairie Doctor’s Bride was a heartwarming novel. I’m not sure if I’ll ever stop suffering from this Oak Grove, Kansas book hangover; which is the inability to start a new book because I’m still living in the last book’s world. This novel has all the makings of a great love story.

Sylvia Marks, the heroine and the hero, Dr. Nelson Graham are an admirable couple. Together they are entertaining and emotionally exhausting in a rewarding kind of way. They are both incredibly relatable as are all the cast of characters which is one of the reasons they are unforgettable. It was nice to see Nelson find his match. He was introduced in “Mail Order Brides of Oak Grove” in the first story “Surprise Bride for the Cowboy” by Lauri Robinson. That book ended with a plot twist involving the doctor that I didn’t see coming. I remember it had me smiling like a silly goose long after I finished the book. I typically don’t read series but in case you couldn’t already tell, I am in love with this one.

When I started reading The Prairie Doctor’s Bride I was overcome with this comforting and familiar feeling. It was like going home.

I guess I’d compare the Oak Grove series to the T.V. show Little House on the Prairie in some ways but better. There were friendly and not so friendly town folk. There was Mr. and Mrs. Gallagher who ran the Oak Grove mercantile. Neither one of them were welcoming to Sylvia. They’d be an example of the not so friendly town folk. These unfriendly town members added the conflict to the story which made it interesting. Then there were mishaps that happened from living on such harsh lands. There was always something happening that made me want to turn the pages. The writing style was fabulous. The plot was fun and creative. I can’t think of any constructive criticism. This book was a pure delight.

If I could give an award out to best series it would be to this one. There is just something about it that has hit home with me. I heartily recommend all the books I’ve mentioned in this review. They are books I’ve put on my keeper shelf. Lauri Robinson and Kathryn Albright are two authors that I would consider actually collecting their books. They make me happy and feel good. The Prairie Doctor’s Bride made me feel courage and hope.

The Prairie Doctor’s Bride had the best ending. I’m going to end with that. I totally recommend spending time with this novel to all readers and to consider purchasing the other books in this series!

The Lady’s Arrangement by Colleen L. Donnelly

The Lady’s Arrangement by Colleen L. Donnelly
Publisher: The Wild Rose Press
Genre: Historical
Length: Full length (368 pgs)
Heat Level: Sweet
Rating: 3.5 stars
Reviewed by Mistflower

Neither Rex nor Regina wants a spouse, but they do have needs.

Ranger Rex Duncan needs a false identity—just long enough to uncover a ring of Kansas ranch thieves. Answering Regina’s ad for a temporary husband, he leaves his beloved red dirt of Oklahoma to assume that disguise. But the most obstinate woman he’s ever known confounds his assignment, and with hair the red color that has always made his heart beat a little faster.

Regina Howard needs a new Mrs. in front of her name—just long enough to reclaim her deceased husband’s ranch, since Kansas law won’t allow women to own property. When Rex answers her ad for a husband who can take orders as part of a brief business arrangement, she finds this stubborn man ignores her every command. Yet a good man is far more than just a name…

I started this novel anticipating a romance between Ranger Rex Duncan and Regina Howard. The synopsis piqued my interest. It sounded like I was going to get to read an intriguing sequence of events with some sensual true love mixed in. While all my expectations weren’t exactly met, I was pleasantly satisfied with the plot thread of uncovering the ring of Kansas ranch thieves.

I believe Regina, the heroine, would describe this book as a tranquil and sophisticated piece of work that was slow to evolve with its abundance of verbiage. I think Rex, the hero, would say this book would be a great book to bring on an extra-long relaxing vacation.

Ranger Rex needed a false identity to infiltrate and uncover the villains. While Regina Howard needed a new husband’s name to reclaim her deceased husband’s ranch. I quote “Neither Rex nor Regina wants a spouse, but they do have needs.” I interpreted that incorrectly. The “needs” they needed weren’t romantic needs. In fact, this book barely qualifies as a romance for me. The writing style didn’t have the emotional conflict of a ‘cat & mouse chase’ romance between two unlikely people, instead I consider this book to be more of a mystery. The entire book was about uncovering the ring of murderous thieves and land grabbing cutthroats .

The synopsis says that Regina “is the most obstinate woman” Rex has ever known. I agree with that statement. I think Rex deserved a better leading woman to be matched with. She was from New York and the setting is in Kansas. Regina adapted to Kansas but still had that New York style class about her. Rex is a Ranger and skilled at being a rancher. Well, Regina would use these words that most people don’t use in every day speaking. Rex wouldn’t know what some of the words meant and I felt that made Rex look dumb. Then, Rex had “ranch” lingo that he used that Regina didn’t understand but it still made him look dumb. I think this might have been an attempt at humor to make me laugh, however, it made me dislike Regina for the way she belittled Rex and therefore I was unable to connect with them as a couple. This is especially true since there was little chemistry between them. There has to be more for me than “she looked good in a pair of pants” and “he was strong”. I understand that not everyone likes public displays of affection. It was obvious that Rex and Regina grew to care about each other by their actions. Sometimes, thoughtful actions speak louder than words.

Despite my disappointment in the lack of open affection in the romance department, Rex’s false identity to uncover a ring of Kansas ranch thieves was worth the read for me. Oddly enough, for some reason this book reminded me of a Scooby Doo episode. Rex would be a mix of Fred and Velma and Regina would be Daphne. There is a character that would be the unmasked villain at the end but that would be a spoiler so I can’t mention the character’s name. There are clues along the way though and it wasn’t a totally predictable plot. There were a few surprise moments which I appreciated. I grew up loving Scooby Doo so I enjoyed this book from the point of view of it being a mystery.

I do think The Lady’s Arrangement was worth my time to read because it had a nice ending. I liked how it came full circle back to how it all started. I would recommend to readers of sweet romantic suspense and mysteries to give this novel a try. I know my mother and my mother-n-law would love this book because they enjoy clean, innocent, and well written stories between two adults who grow to respect and care for one another.