Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Blue Ridge Sunrise by Denise Hunter

Blue Ridge Sunrise by Denise Hunter

It's release day for Denise Hunter's latest book!

Let’s begin with the summary:

Former free spirit Zoe Collins swore she’d never again set foot in Copper Creek or speak to the man who broke her heart. But return she must when her beloved Granny dies, leaving the family legacy to Zoe—a peach orchard nestled at the base of the Blue Ridge Mountains.

When Zoe returns home with her daughter and boyfriend Kyle, she finds that she’s the only person in town who doesn’t expect her to give up the life she’s established far away from Copper Creek. Everyone believes she was born to run the orchard, but how can she make it her home after so many years?

Cruz Huntley never quite got over his first love, Zoe Collins, the little sister of his best friend Brady. Not when she cheated on him during their “break,” not when she took off to parts unknown with good-for-nothing Kyle Jenkins, and not even now—five years later.

As life-changing decisions and a history with Cruz hang over Zoe’s head, tensions rise between her and Kyle. Even as she comes to terms with the shifting relationships in her life, Zoe still isn’t sure if she can remain in Copper Creek with her new responsibilities . . . and her first love.

And now, my review:

The heroine is insecure and considers herself a failure. She was immediately likable. I sympathized with her and rooted for her. We get a few flashbacks into the heroine’s past and Denise did a great job of characterization, showing the heroine’s less mature side and then her growth. Her voice was very strong in both time periods of her life. She’s well layered, but sometimes I felt we were missing some of the motives so her actions either weren’t believable or weren’t something I could get behind. I did have a hard time respecting her during some later parts of the novel, when she made some decisions that weren’t strong.

As I read, I didn’t highlight much in regards to the hero. I think that’s because we spent a lot more time in the heroine’s deep POV, which is fine.

I had a little trouble following all the characters. I felt like I’d missed book one, but this is book one. As with previous books by this author, there is a lot of mention of cheeks warming in the narrative. This feels more fitting for a historical, and the repetition does get tedious. Perhaps a variety of visceral reactions would boost this part of the story telling, so several characters don't react the same way. A similar, overused phrase was lips curving.

The villain was easy to dislike as I despised his methods. Great descriptions throughout, and I love reunion romances. Some of the themes in the story included control versus independence, and an unhealthy familial relationship.

The secret in the story wasn’t quite believable. It seemed obvious that visually there could be no question, but this wasn’t addressed until a little too late. I also felt the heroine would worry more when the two characters were together (I’m being vague to avoid spoilers) but we didn’t get that feeling while in her deep POV, which didn’t seem believable, or perhaps like a missed opportunity.

I’ll be watching for the next book in this series.

Saturday, September 30, 2017

Heart on the Line by Karen Witemeyer

Let’s begin with the summary:

Grace Mallory is tired of running, of hiding. But when an old friend sends an after-hours telegraph transmission warning Grace that the man who has hunted her for nearly a year has discovered her location, she fears she has no choice. She can't let the villain she believes responsible for her father's death release his wrath in Harper's Station, the town that has sheltered her and blessed her with the dearest friends she's ever known.

Amos Bledsoe prefers bicycles to horses and private conversations over the telegraph wire to social gatherings with young ladies who see him as nothing more than an oddity. His telegraph companion, the mysterious Miss G, listens eagerly to his ramblings every night and delights him with tales all her own. For months, their friendship—dare he believe, courtship?—has fed his hope that he has finally found the woman God intended for him. Yet when he takes the next step to meet her in person, he discovers her life is in peril, and Amos must decide if he can shed the cocoon of his quiet nature to become the hero Grace requires.

And now, my review:

I loved this nerdy hero! Most heroes are alphas, but this beta had a lot of appeal. The intelligent and brave heroine had my respect and sympathy.

The story was sort of an historical “on-line dating” story, and I loved it. The couple connects over the telegraph wire. The author included some hilarious scenarios that made me laugh out loud.

If you’ve read the earlier book in this series, you’ll have an advantage. Unfortunately, I hadn’t. So, some of the characters and their history was a mystery, and the “Aunt Henry” character threw me a bit.

I enjoyed watching the hero and heroine interact. Clever interactions kept me reading for a while. But I did feel a little lost in this series community.

I would give this book three stars because I lost interest at about 1/3rd of the way into the story. Readers who enjoy a lighter read with interesting characters and fun humor will enjoy this novel, but I do recommend reading book one in this series first.