Review

Christmas in Winter Valley Jodi Thomas

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Published: Harlequin
Date: 24th September 2019
Source: Publisher via NetGalley

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Christmas in Winter Valley is a great example of why I love Jodi Thomas’ books. I have never been to Texas and most likely never will, but I do journey there through her writing. The scenery and sense of country permeates the story. To me it feels like real life ranching and cowboys.

I loved all the characters, the two Holloway brothers at home while brother Griffin is away. Elliott the one that manages the books side of the ranch and Cooper who likes to roam the country on a horse. Then there is Tatum, no more about him, only to say I adored him, but you got to have the surprise of meeting him. Tye Franklin is an older man who rides into the ranch looking for a job and he too is a delight.

There is plenty going on with them all, a number of women running about the place, some like chickens without heads, but they add to the fun. The plot goes along at a wonderful pace and there is always something happening. As well, there are lots of laugh out loud moments, I love the sense of humor is this book.

It goes through December, leading up to Christmas, so its perfect to read before Christmas. You’ll either read it really fast because it almost reads itself, or you might be like me, reading it slowly in small pieces because you want to prolong your time with the Holloways. Five star read.

Review

The Little Teashop on Main by Jodi Thomas

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Publisher: Harlequin
Date: 7th May 2019
Source: Little Bird Publicity via NetGalley

 

Set in Laurel Springs, The Teashop on Main, is a beautifully crafted story of friendship and love. Jodi Thomas brings this little town in Texas alive, with her dusty creek beds and shadowy figures that are very much a signature of her stories.

Three young girls bond over a tea party –  a bond that is going to take them right through life. There is Zoe – daughter of Alex, a single mom. Zoe is a free and beautiful spirit, who cares about others and their happiness, and searches for her own sense of “home”.

Shannon has been raised by her Dad – Mack, her mother having walked out on them. He is often away working but there is no doubt of his love for Shannon and the other two girls.

Lastly Emily, somewhat lost and unhappy, with a mother who has smothered her. But… she has Zoe and Shannon who support and worry over her. And then their is Fuller who has a special reason to keep an eye on her. And lastly Jack, who loves all three girls and would do anything for all of them. But… he has a strong attraction and eventually a special love for one of them.

The story ranges over a good time period, so that we see the young people grow up, seek to find themselves and their place in the world, but always is the ongoing friendship that is so strong, that it is forever friendship. And their is that ritual of joining for tea that so important to them.

I loved this story and while tears slid down my cheeks as I finished, I closed the book, with some heartache and a whole lot of admiration for the friends and their various relationships.

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It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? Mid April

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It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? a place to meet up and share what you have been, and are about to be reading over the week. It’s a great post to organise yourself. It’s an opportunity to visit and comment and er… add to your groaning TBR pile! So welcome in everyone. This meme started on J Kaye’s blog and then was hosted by Sheila from Book Journey. Sheila then passed it on to Kathryn here at The Book Date.
Jen Vincent, Teach Mentor Texts, and Kellee of Unleashing Readers decided to give It’s Monday! a kidlit focus. If you read and review books in children’s literature – picture books, chapter books, middle grade novels, young adult novels or anything in those genres – join them.

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On Saturday I went to a 6 year old party for my grand niece. And what do you take for a gift when you are a booklover and so is she!!   Well books of course and not just one. I had a great time picking them off  the shelf at the bookstore.

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What I read last week:

I read The Little Teashop on Main – a review book, Love Letters is a continuing series and I have to say this one wrapped me round its little finger, and I finished listening to the delightful Mariah Stewart The Goodbye Cafe – so well narrated it put it into the 5 star category for me.

What I am reading now:

I have just started listening to this. I read it when it published in 2017 and now doing a reread via audio. I love Cathy Lamb books – thanks to Shellyrae who shared a review of one of her books on Book’d Out, and totally hooked me into her books.  Bloggers are influencers!

I am reading this from the backlist of Kristin Hannah, it won’t be as heavy as her more recent ones and that’s totally okay. Another author I read anything she writes.

Up next:

I need a funny good feel book for my next read as that is a challenge book for this month. When I saw a review for this from Trish at Between My Lines , it sealed the choice. She says “It is loaded with laugh out loud moments that had my stomach in a knot.” Has to qualify don’t you think!

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Last Week’s Posts

Come From Away Genevieve Graham

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It’s Monday! What Are You Reading?

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It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? a place to meet up and share what you have been, and are about to be reading over the week. It’s a great post to organise yourself. It’s an opportunity to visit and comment and er… add to your groaning TBR pile! So welcome in everyone. This meme started on J Kaye’s blog and then was hosted by Sheila from Book Journey. Sheila then passed it on to Kathryn here at The Book Date.
Jen Vincent, Teach Mentor Texts, and Kellee of Unleashing Readers decided to give It’s Monday! a kidlit focus. If you read and review books in children’s literature – picture books, chapter books, middle grade novels, young adult novels or anything in those genres – join them.

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It’s been a little cooler here! I even put on some woollen socks on Saturday because I was feeling cold! And then on Saturday it was so cold I lit a fire, and I wasn’t the only one! Autumn has arrived for us. And we ended daylight saving, which as you know sort of knocks you around for a little while.

This week I watched three movies – which I hardly ever do – all old ones but I enjoyed them nevertheless. The Enchanted April. The Descendants and Moana.

What I read last week:

What I am reading now:

Still listening to this – well into it now…

And picked up from TBR from books bought at book fair year few years ago. From the Rose Harbor series.

Up next:

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Review

The Valentine’s Curse by Jodi Thomas

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Published: Kensington Books
Date: 18th December 2018
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Rating 4.5 stars

 

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Set in Texas after the civil war The Valentine’s Curse is a short (74 pages) novella, however it makes a very satisfying read and it was an absolute pleasure to lose myself in the pages for a little while.

Brody is a Yank and not that well received by the other cowboys on the ranch that he works on, they were on opposite sides of the war. So he is an outsider.

Valerie has lost two husbands and its said in town she has a widow’s curse and anyone who touches her will die by evening. So she too is an outsider.

But… these two outsiders are upstanding and outstanding people and what does it matter what others say or do?

Perfect reading for a wet afternoon.

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Guest Post

Mistletoe Miracles with Jodi Thomas

Today I welcome a favorite author to The Book Date. Jodi is sharing with us about her latest book published this month.

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MISTLETOE MIRACLES is a book I decided to write about how people pretend.  Maybe we all pretend as some point.  Not lie exactly, just don’t show the whole truth.

I like to do this on planes. When I start talking to someone I tell them I’m a writer.  They usually want to tell me their story.  I know when I’m listening to them that even the villains in stories think that they are the hero.  I also find that talking to me, knowing they’ll never see me again, gives them a kind of freedom.

So in my new book, MISTLETOE MIRACLES, I had fun giving my characters reasons why they have to pretend. Great fun.  Wait until you meet the Johnsons.  He’s a soldier for two weeks with no home to go to.  She’s a drama teacher who has told the school board she’s married.  She has good reasons for lying.  

When he falls asleep and wrecks his rental car, the sheriff in the small town of Crossroads takes him home—-to the only Johnson house in town.  The sheriff thinks he has to be the teacher’s husband, after all, she said he was in the army. 

This story moves through the book as the Johnsons pretend their way into falling in love. Hope you enjoy the Johnsons and the rest of the characters.
 
Thanks,
Jodi

Jodi also says…    A Very Special Giveaway

I’m very excited about our new contest for a three day vacation at Red River, New Mexico–either a weekend or during the week. You’ll be stepping into an enchanted place that is very personal to me.
Years ago, my sons were wanting to learn to ski and every time we would go to a little town in New Mexico, it seemed to cost us a fortune. I saw some condos up there and I thought, you know, if we bought a little condo that would solve the problem. Turned out to be the best thing I ever did. Many times a year I go up there whenever I’m reading through a book I’ve just written or if I’m trying to think of an idea. There’s something about sitting out on my patio and watching a branch of the Red River go passing by.

The town of Red River has always been a special place for me. It’s in the enchanted circle in northern New Mexico. Now we have a little bitty place up there, a little bitty hideaway where I go up to write. And It’s always fun. My favorite thing to do in the fall is to curl up in a blanket out on the balcony and watch the Red River go by as I begin a book. Red River, New Mexico is an enchanted place I hope you will enjoy as much as I do.

A word from Kathryn…

You can enter on Jodi’s website. Wouldn’t you love to win. It sounds fabulous.

I haven’t read Mistletoe Miracles but it is an auto-buy for me, its pre-ordered and will be winging its way to me on publishing. I loved the podcast below where Jodi talks about the book and her author life – well worth the listen.

Podcast with Jodi and Jason Boyett at Hey Amarillo

Review

Mornings on Main by Jodi Thomas

book coverPublished:Harlequin
Date: April 10th 2018
Format: e-ARC
Pages: 315
Genre: Contemporary Fiction

Rating
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In Mornings on Main there is another delightful story by Jodi Thomas, set in a small town in Texas that has perhaps seen better days. But what counts are the warm hearted characters that populate the town and with the touches of humor that Jodi Thomas does so well, this book was all I had hoped for.

But wait… there’s more! I hadn’t realised that one of the shops on Main is a quilting shop and that Gram, the darling old lady is a wealth of knowledge and has such a love for the many quilts that have found their way into her shop. I just loved finding out about the various quilts – their history and the way in which they told  the stories of people from the town.

Wandering into this small town is Jillian – a wanderer since birth really. She now has nobody – totally alone, her father ditched her when she started college, and she has kept up the wandering ways she learned as a child with him. Right from the beginning she has made it clear, she isn’t stopping, just spending a few months and then moving on.

Connor is the mayor, and owner of a lot of property in the town. But that doesn’t make him rich as a lot of it is now land with old disused factories that knew better times. He is a part time unpublished writer, father of teen Sunnie and carer of his ageing Gram. It sure keeps a man busy. When he meets Jillian though, his heart begins to pine for something he has been assured he can’t have.

So the mix of the quilting, the interaction of the characters, the small mysteries, the humor and warmth of the story kept me happily reading along. Yes and some romance too of course, sweet and gentle – perfect. For more than one set of characters too!

And of course it all ended too soon, I so hate leaving these small towns where I feel like I could just fit in so well.

Review

Indigo Lake Jodi Thomas

From the Pen of Jodi Thomas.
The two main characters in INDIGO LAKE came from two different worlds.  Blade had no family who cares about him and Dakota was sometimes smothered in her responsibilities.  Both were looking for someone, the right person, to fill the longing, but neither would admit it.
Dakota Davis had heard her grandmother’s dark stories about the Hamilton house all her life.  When she turned off the county road heading toward home, she thought she was seeing a ghost standing knee-deep in Indigo Lake.
Blade Hamilton had inherited a house he cared nothing about.  After driving all day to look at it, he’d decided to sell it all, land, house and heritage.  He hadn’t known about his father and he didn’t need an old crippled house with wild roses growing almost to the roof.
As they get to know one another they begin to care and the love they share seems to cut their problems in half.
I love writing stories about people who become so real to me that I wake up nights worrying about them.  That’s how it was with Blade and Dakota.  And Dakota’s sister was too good a character to let her story end so she will be the star of her own Christmas short story in October.
Good news for Ransom Canyon fans: WINTER’S CAMP is included in the back of INDIGO LAKE!
Hope you enjoy both,
Jodi Thomas 

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Published: Harlequin
Date: 18th July 2017
Format:e-ARC
Pages: 432
Genre: Western Romance
Source: Publisher via NG
Rating:
4.5 stars            Add to Goodreads

Blade Hamilton is the last of his line. He’s never even heard of Crossroads, Texas, until he inherits land there. Riding in on his vintage Harley-Davidson, Blade finds a weathered ranch house, an empty prairie and a dark river that cuts a decisive path between the Hamiltons’ land and that of their estranged neighborsWhen Dakota helps a stranger on the roadside, she isn’t prepared for the charisma of the man on the motorbike—or for the last name he bears: Hamilton, of her family’s sworn enemies.

Lauren Brigman feels adrift. Unhappy in work and unlucky in love, she knows she ought to be striving for more, but she’s never truly at peace unless she’s at home in Crossroads. If the wider world can’t satisfy her, is home truly where her heart is?

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Indigo Lake by Jodi Thomas is #6 in the Ransom Canyon series, and what can I say but that I loved this visit to Crossroads Texas. Its another one of those places I’d love to live or … at least visit.
We have ourselves a bit of feud between the  Hamilton and Davis family, it seems there has been some bad blood in the past and if Grandmother is to be believed its best that they don’t approach each other. However Blade really likes the pint sized Dakota and if anything he is about to put that feud to bed.
We also catch up with Lauren and Lucas and Tim and that other one Ryan, all linked together by a happening when they were teens. We’ve watched the attraction between Lucas and Lauren wax and wane, and wondered whether they will ever find their way together. Plus Tim and Lauren are best friends and might even enjoy sleeping with each other. I ask you! Where is all this going!
Something very fishy is going on at Ryan’s ranch, there a few bodies and something that just does not seem right. Dan Brigman is sheriff and he wants to find out just what it is.  So before we know it Blade is sworn in as a deputy with little pay and an eighteen hour day or more. 
This is a place where you can expect shootings and danger. We’re talking a good cowboy story. Where people are locked up in the local jail for their own safety and the town looks after them. 
I loved the humor and the turn of phrase that makes this series so fun to read. All that I expected was there. I was just sorry I couldn’t get to visit with all the beloved people of the town, but I hope to make the acquaintance of some of them next time. There sure needs to be a #7 and more!
And delighted to see that Jodi says she is going to have a story for Dakota’s sister, who happens to be blind. Yay. Going to be an October happy read.
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Wild Horse Springs. Jodi Thomas

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Published: HQN Books
Date:January 24th 2017
Format: e-ARC
Pages: 384
Genre: Contemporary romance
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Rating:
4.5 stars                          Add to Goodreads
A Word from the Author.

While I was traveling around signing copies of SUNRISE CROSSING, a story I dearly loved, characters were lining up in my brain for the next book.  Some wait patiently, whispering their story, while others start yelling from the back of the line.
The character yelling for his story was Cody Winslow, my ex Texas Ranger.  He’d lived after his best friend died and he was riding full out along the edge of Ransom Canyon not caring much if he lived or died.
When he tumbled into the canyon breaking bones, he prayed for a quiet death but fate sent him Tess Adams.  A bossy, no make-up woman wearing a uniform and determined to save him.  To make matters worse, she came with eight junior park rangers about four feet yall who all wanted to practice their first aid on Cody.
The whisperer was Sheriff Dan Brigman.  He’d waited his turn.  He’d been in other books.  Always a good guy.  Always a good father and friend, but he never took center stage.  He never got his love story.  Now, in his forties, he’d given up until he found a fancy boot in the road one night.
He took on the mission to find the lady that the boot might belong to.  She had to be something special to step out in knee high rhinestone boots.
And she was…every fantasy he’d ever allowed himself to have.
When I was finally home and started writing, I had no idea how the two stories would fit together.  It was a fast write.  My fingers danced across the keyboard with the characters making me laugh and cry and worry.
So step into the adventure and enjoy.  I think WILD HORSE SPRINGS will keep you up late reading just one more chapter.  J

Jodi Thomas 
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Wild Horse Springs by Jodi Thomas is #5 in the Ransom Canyon series, and I loved it. Jodi Thomas has a gift for setting her story in Texas and bringing them to life. Her characters are ordinary, heroic, loveable and I just want to live there among them. There is always a bit of a danger in writing a small town story, there are so many out there, I get bored by them at times. Not so with this series, so entertaining.
We meet some much loved characters and some new ones, in Wild Horse Springs. I love the way the author introduces a character and then tells their journey over a number of books. She has done this with Don Brigman the sheriff and his daughter Laura and her friends Lucas and Tim. And That or Thatcher Jones has been around a little while too, a character with a big heart. We also get to meet a few new characters – Brandie a singer on the road, with a deep  sadness in her soul and a hurting heart. Also there are Cody and Tess – Rangers but of different kinds who kind of spark it off in unusual circumstances.
I loved the ‘hook in’ as Dan Brigman finds a wonderful boot in the snow and goes in search of his Cinderella. He might seem a bit boring and predictable but he has been alone long enough and when he finds the owner of the boot perhaps he might meet his match.
The delightful Thatcher Jones is in trouble – again and enjoying the hospitality of the town jail, while all his needs are being met by the townsfolk who are looking after him. However there might be someone looking for him that doesn’t look on him so benignly.
I loved the humor in the book, one time I just put the book down and chuckled and chortled. I’ll say it again Jodi Thomas has a gift for writing characters that just worm their way into my heart, they are such fun.
There is plenty of action, resolution for some loves but not for others. An extremely well written book, and … am waiting impatiently for Lauren to go off and find herself. #6 can’t come soon enough.
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Review

Sunrise Crossing. Jodi Thomas

Today is the publishing day for Sunrise Crossing by Jodi Thomas, #4 in her Ransom Canyon Series.

Jodi says…

photo of Jodi Thomas

I can’t wait for my readers to open SUNRISE CROSSING.  Once in a while stories come fast and full of life.  SUNRISE CROSSING did that for me.  I flew into the lives of my main characters loving the adventures.  Many nights I felt like I was hanging on to the laptop, trying to write as fast as the story was coming to me.

In this story I wanted to bring back a character I dearly loved in Ransom Canyon.  He was little more than a kid when he went to prison for a robbery and five years later, when he’s free, Yancy Grey heads to a little town called Crossroads, Texas.  He thinks he is worthless, but is taken in by a group of senior citizens and slowly finds his roots in town.  SUNRISE CROSSING opens with him beginning work on an old house called the Gypsy House where he was born.
Yancy works alone every night restoring the place where he was born.  When he hears a noise in the attic, he discovers a woman hiding there.  He calls Tori Vilanie Rabbit because that’s what he thought was in the attic.  She’s running from life and he’s afraid to step into living but somehow they build a gentle kind of friendship that grows into love.
For those of you who love a good love story SUNRISE CROSSING  is the book for you.  Maybe because I believe in love and I love reading happy endings, but this book was so fun to write.
So, saddle up and ride with me through SUNRISE CROSSING.

Jodi also shares with us the importance of setting.
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Published: HQN books
Date: 30th August 2016
Pages: 384
Format: e-ARC
Genre: Romance
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Rating:
4.5 stars

Yancy Grey is slowly putting his life back together after serving time for petty theft. As he rebuilds an old house, he finally has a sense of stability, but he can’t stop thinking of himself as just an ex-con. Until one night, he finds a mysterious dark-haired beauty hiding in his loft. But who is she, and what secret is she protecting?

The art gallery Parker Lacey manages is her life—she has no time for friends, and certainly not lovers. But when her star artist begs Parker for help, she finds herself in a pickup truck, headed for the sleepy town of Crossroads. A truck driven by a strong, silent cowboy…

Gabe Snow has been a drifter since he left Crossroads at seventeen after a violent incident. When he accepts a job in his hometown, he’ll have to decide whether he can put the worst night of his life behind him and build a future in the community that raised him.

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I always eagerly look forward to the next in any series by Jodi Thomas. Sunrise Crossing was no exception to that, as I knew it was going to contain further development of Yancy, the young guy who arrived in Crossroads in the first book. I loved him then and it was such fun to see him develop through the series until this book where he pretty much has star billing. He has had it rough, but he has made it through and is a kind and caring kind of person. And of course as we moved along the series he had more of a link to Crossroads than we first saw.
There are a few new characters – this book could be read as a stand alone but you would miss quite a bit of Yancy’s story.  There is Parker, who thinks she may have limited time to live and is reassessing her life choices and so she too arrives eventually in Crossroads to discover how her next door neighbor has been caring for her house. 
Tori is the music artist who has been taken advantage of by her parents, they see her as a money machine. With the help of Parker she escapes and goes to Parker’s house in Crossroads. She is delightful and I loved how hers and Yancy’s lives started to intertwine. And there is also another surprise character who blows into Crossroads that just adds more spice to the story.
There is mystery, a little suspense, attempted crime and a delicious development of relationships. I thoroughly enjoyed my return visit to Crossroads.
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