Caught Up in a Cowboy by Jennie Marts

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source: free review copy courtesy of NetGalleySourceBooks
title: Caught Up in a Cowboy (Cowboys of Creedence)
author: Jennie Marts / Twitter
genre: contemporary romance
pages: 334
published: May 2018
first line: Bits of gravel flew behind the tires of the convertible, and Rockford James swore as he turned onto the dirt road leading to the Triple J Ranch.
rated: 4 out of 5
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blurb:
This cowboy plays to win

Rockford James was raised as a tried and true cowboy in a town crazy about ice hockey. Rock is as hot on the ice as he is on a horse, and the NHL snapped him up. Now, injuries have permanently benched him. Body and pride wounded, he returns to his hometown ranch to find that a lot has changed. The one thing that hasn’t? His feelings for high school sweetheart and girl-next-door Quinn Rivers.

Quinn had no choice but to get over Rock after he left. Teenaged and heartbroken, she had a rebound one night stand that ended in single motherhood. Now that Rock’s back—and clamoring for a second chance—Quinn will do anything to avoid getting caught up in this oh-so-tempting cowboy…

my thoughts:
Caught Up in a Cowboy is the first in the Cowboys of Creedence series by Jennie Marts. This book has been sitting in my Nook since last year and I finally made the time to read it last week. I am glad I did.

First of all, can I just mention the cover. THAT is how you put a cowboy on a cover. Simple yet effective.

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Starry Night by Debbie Macomber

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source: Purchased
title: Starry Night: A Christmas Novel
author: Debbie Macomber(Twitter)
genre: contemporary holiday romance
published: 2013
pages: 231
first line: Carrie Slayton’s feet were killing her.
rated: 3 out of 5
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blurb:
’Tis the season for romance, second chances, and Christmas cheer with this new novel from Debbie Macomber.

Carrie Slayton, a big-city society-page columnist, longs to write more serious news stories. So her editor hands her a challenge: She can cover any topic she wants, but only if she first scores the paper an interview with Finn Dalton, the notoriously reclusive author.

Living in the remote Alaskan wilderness, Finn has written a mega-bestselling memoir about surviving in the wild. But he stubbornly declines to speak to anyone in the press, and no one even knows exactly where he lives.

Digging deep into Finn’s past, Carrie develops a theory on his whereabouts. It is the holidays, but her career is at stake, so she forsakes her family celebrations and flies out to snowy Alaska. When she finally finds Finn, she discovers a man both more charismatic and more stubborn than she even expected. And soon she is torn between pursuing the story of a lifetime and following her heart.

Filled with all the comforts and joys of Christmastime, Starry Night is a delightful novel of finding happiness in the most surprising places.

My thoughts:

I was in a Christmasy mood so I ordered a copy of Starry Night a few weeks ago. I am a seasonal reader and I try to enjoy at least one holiday book this time of year.
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Starry Night is my first time reading Debbie Macomber. I’ve often seen her books around and I know she is popular in the genre and that some of her books have been made into Hallmark Christmas movies. In the foreword for Starry Night she mentions that she writes a Christmas book every year.

While I found Starry Night to be sweet Christmas romance, it did not blow me away like I wanted it too. It revolves around Chicago based columnist Carrie Slayton who is about to quit her job because she can’t see herself getting ahead with no serious assignments only gossip column stuff. Her boss tells her that if she can find and interview mysterious author Finn Dalton then she will have more serious assignments moving forward and be able to advance her career. Finn wrote a book about living in the wilderness that became an international bestseller and he has gone into hiding ever since. With the holidays around the corner Carrie decides to use her vacation time to find the mysterious Finn.

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Eight Goodbyes by Christine Brae

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source: ARC via Meryl Moss Media
title: Eight Goodbyes
author: Christine Brae
published: Vesuvian Books (August 28, 2018)
first line: The only benefits of travelling a gazillion miles a year is the braided cord separating those with preferred airline status from the rest of the passengers.
pages: 279
rated: 3 1/2 of out 5 stars
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blurb:
One universe, nine planets, 204 countries, 809 islands and 7 seas, and I had the privilege of meeting you.”

When Tessa Talman meets Simon Fremont for the first time, not only is she attracted to him, she’s intrigued by how different their lives are. He’s a dedicated scientist, practical, pragmatic, and grounded—while she’s a head-in-the-clouds romance author. As their relationship grows, they agree to meet in places around the world, while continuing to live on opposite sides of the globe.

Though their feelings for each other deepen, their priorities remain the same. Simon is in a hurry to be financially sound and settle down, but Tessa is enjoying her freedom and newfound success. Neither is willing to give in, but as each goodbye gets harder, Tessa begins to wonder whether fame is the path to happiness, or if she has everything she needs in Simon.

Just as Tessa finds the courage to go after her own happily ever after, the unthinkable happens, separating them in ways they never imagined.

To move forward, she must let go of the past, and determine once and for all if love is truly more powerful than the pain of goodbye.

my thoughts:
Eight Goodbyes by Christine Brae was nice contemporary romance. Tessa is a successful romance author and she meets Simon on a plane. He is a scientist and the two start to keep in touch via Twitter and What’sApp for a few months. Simon flies out to visit Tessa on one of her book singing tours to spend some time with her. One thing leads to another and these two have great chemistry and begin a long distance fling, but each is trying to not get too attached.

“Every goodbye served only to increase the intensity of his feelings for her.”
-p. 173, Eight Goodbyes by Christine Brae

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Thirsty: An Eastside Brewery Novel by Mia Hopkins

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source: free ARC via NetGalley/Randomhouse/LoveSwept
title: Thirsty: An Eastside Brewery Novel
author: Mia Hopkins/ Twitter
published: March 13, 2018
pages: 254
genre: contemporary steamy romance
first lines: You want a hero. Before we start, you should know-I’m not him. I’m not your hero.
rated: 3 out of 5  1heartred1heartred1heartred

blurb:
My name is Salvador Rosas. Back in the barrio, my past is written on the walls: ESHB. Short for East Side Hollenbeck, my father’s gang—my gang. Hell, it’s a family tradition, one that sent both my brothers away. They used to call me “Ghost” because I haunted people’s dreams. Now I’ve got nothing going for me except a hipster gringo mentoring me in a new career. An ex-con making craft beer? No mames.

Still, people in this neighborhood look out for one another. That’s how I became Vanessa Velasco’s unwelcome tenant. Chiquita pero picosa. She’s little, but with curves so sweet they’re dangerous. I remember Vanessa from the old days, the straight-A student with big plans. Plans that were derailed by another kid stupid enough to think he was bulletproof. Now Vanessa knows better than to believe in empty promises. There’s fire in her . . . and if I touch her, I might get burned.

I’m trying everything I can to go straight. But when East Side Hollenbeck comes calling, I might have to risk it all to find out if there’s a future for Vanessa and me. Because she’s the only one who can quench my thirst for something real.

my thoughts:
You know how sometimes you don’t realize something right away? I’m trying to think of an example to elaborate further but it eludes me right now.

I have to say right off the bat that Mia Hopkins is a great writer, I enjoyed her writing style and Thirsty: An Eastside Brewery Novel drew me in from page one. This is one of those books you can read in one sitting, I read it in two. The story is told first person POV by Salvador Rosas a.k.a. Ghost. I requested this one from NetGalley because I saw it revolved around Latinos. Being Puerto Rican myself this book intrigued me straight away because the main characters are Latin and I enjoy good romance. I haven’t read a full on romance novel featuring Hispanics before. Like ever. I’ve never really come across any. And I read alot of romance, it is a favorite genre but the couples are usually white. So guess what happened when I finally found a romance novel centering on a Latino couple? Guess.

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The hero is a gang-banger. Ghost is Mexican, he has recently finished serving a five-year prison stint for car theft. He’s a janitor now. And duh, this is all in the blurb I know. It didn’t dawn on me until I started reading. I decided to keep reading because like I said the writing was very good. I didn’t like the stereotypes here though and they did bother me. I think the author wrote a good book but it is just that for my first time reading a Latin centered romance, I didn’t like that the hero was a gang-banger. So, I read on and I actually enjoyed the story. I will say, it is a story about getting your life together so the plot was full of hope and redemption.

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Nights in Rodanthe by Nicholas Sparks

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source: purchased
title: Nights in Rodanthe
author: Nicholas Sparks
genre: contemporary romance
pages: 212
published: 2002
first line: Three years earlier, on a warm November morning in 1999, Adrienne Willis had returned to the Inn and at first glance had thought it unchanged, as if the small Inn were impervious to sun and sand and salted mist.  
rated: 5 out of 5
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blurb:
Adrienne Willis is 45 and has been divorced for three years, abandoned by her husband for a younger woman. The trials of raising her teenage children and caring for her sick father have worn her down, but at the request of a friend and in hopes of respite, she’s gone to the coastal village of Rodanthe in North Carolina to tend the local inn for the weekend. With a major storm brewing, the time away doesn’t look promising…until a guest named Paul Flanner arrives. At 54, Paul is a successful surgeon, but in the previous six months his life has unraveled into something he doesn’t recognize. Estranged from his son and recently divorced, he’s sold his practice and his home and has journeyed to this isolated town in hopes of closing a painful chapter in his past. Adrienne and Paul come together as the storm brews over Rodanthe, but what begins between them over the weekend will resonate throughout the rest of their lives, intertwining past and future, love and loss.

my thoughts:
Nights in Rodanthe is a re-read for me. After hitting a mini reading slump with the mystery book I was reading, I decided to grab something I knew I would enjoy to try to get back on my reading track.

There is something about a Nicholas Sparks book, they are definitely comfort reads for when I am in the mood for romance with heart. They are the literary equivalent of a cozy cup of hot chocolate and freshly baked cookies. According to Goodreads, I first read Nights in Rodanthe in 2010. I really enjoyed it the second time around.

“Despite all that had happened in the years that had passed since then, Adrienne still held tight to the belief that love was the essence of a full and wonderful life.”
– Nicholas Sparks, Nights in Rodanthe

My favorite Sparks novels center around middle-aged couples like Adrienne and Paul. In this one these two are both at a crossroads in their lives. Adrienne’s husband left her a few years ago for a younger co-worker. She is raising three teenagers on her own and works part-time at the library after being a housewife and stay at home mom all her married life. She still grieves the loss of her marriage and throws herself into working and being a caretaker leaving no time for herself.

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