It’s Monday! What Are You Reading?

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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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



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.

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


Mornings on Main by Jodi Thomas

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

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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.


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
Pages: 432
Genre: Western Romance
Source: Publisher via NG
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
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.
Find Jodi Thomas 



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
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.
Find Jodi Thomas


Lone Heart Pass. Jodi Thomas

Lone Heart Pass book cover

Published: HQN Books
Date: 26th April 2016
Format: e-ARC
Pages: 352
Genre: Western Romance
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
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With a career and a relationship in ruins, Jubilee Hamilton is left reeling from a fast fall to the bottom. The run-down Texas farm she’s inherited is a far cry from the second chance she hoped for, but it and the abrasive foreman she’s forced to hire are all she’s got.

Every time Charley Collins has let a woman get close, he’s been burned. So Lone Heart ranch and the contrary woman who owns it are merely a means to an end, until Jubilee tempts him to take another risk—to stop resisting the attraction drawing them together despite all his hard-learned logic.

Desperation is all young Thatcher Jones knows. And when he finds himself mixed up in a murder investigation, his only protection is the shelter of a man and woman who—just like him—need someone to trust.

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Lone Heart Pass – #3 in the Ransom Canyon series and it just gets better with each one. The characters are fun, they have depth and it was easy to just fall in love with them. There is a bit of crime and mystery, along with a ranch that needs taking care of and some romance. We meet some new characters and catch up with a couple of the earlier ones.
Jubilee has had a tough past, her family has never really loved or accepted her and now she finds out the only relative she loved is dead. Yet he has left her his ranch, a place where she has been happy in the past. Yet she is a bit of a city girl and so she is going to need help.
Walk in Charley Collins, a man who has his own family problems and has been cast out by his father. He has a delightful daughter – aged five, and he will do anything for her. When he is offered a job at the ranch he accepts and so the journey begins to bring the ranch back to life.
Thatcher is a young fourteen year old, pretty much with no family, he eventually finds his way to the ranch as well and it is wonderful to see the caring relationship that develops between the little five year old and the rough and ready Thatcher. What a fun hero he is.
We also catch up with Tim O’Grady, Lauren and the Sheriff. Tim is bent on being an author, and is keen to experience life so as he can write about it. Lauren is finishing college and wondering what is next for her. And the Sheriff is caught up in sorting out shootings and murder. 
I really enjoyed the story, chuckled away at the characters and some of their responses to events and generally hoped all would be well for each of them.
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A Word From the Author.
In LONE HEART PASS I had a great time with the characters because they really came alive.  Charley Collins was too good looking and every woman he’d ever met left him shattered and broken.  He decides after his wife runs out on him and leaves their baby that he’ll swear off women for good.  He’s working several jobs and raising a five year old when he hires on to run a broken down ranch.
Jubilee Hamilton has lost everything.  All she has left is a broken down ranch her great grandfather left her and she has no idea how to manage it.  The cowboy she hires to help has the knowledge and needs the money, but makes no effort to be friendly. As they learn to trust one another and work together, they both discover what true wealth is in life.
By the way, readers are going to fall in love with the kid, Thatcher Jones, also.  He’s 14 and hunts rattlers to earn his lunch money.  He’s had to raise himself and thinks twins happen if you hiccup during sex.
LONE HEART PASS marks my 43rd novel.  Sometimes I feel like I’ve had an extra lifetime of friends and family. It was hard writing the end to this one.  I hope you enjoy reading my story as much as I enjoyed writing these characters.

Rustler’s Moon. Jodi Thomas

Today the Book Date welcomes Jodi Thomas with a little about her new book Rustler’s Moon. Jodi says:

On a dirt road marked by haunting  secrets, three strangers caught at life’s crossroads must decide what to sacrifice to protect their own agendas…and what they’re willing to risk for love.
In this second book of the RANSOM CANYON series called RUSTLER’S MOON, I wanted to add a mystery whispering through my story.  When I began RUSTLER’S MOON, Angela Harold runs from the pain of loss of her father and the only home she’s known to a new beginning in Crossroads, Texas. She meets a rancher who’s given up on dreaming. Their story weaves in and out of the lives of the people in Crossroads.
Sometimes a character steps onto the stage of the book and surprises the writer. Carter did that for me in RUSTLER’S MOON. He’s a man who thinks his life is over but holds on to his one goal of finding a childhood memory. I loved the way Carter’s story wound around Angela’s mystery and the surprises he finds not only in the canyon, but also within himself.
Come along on a journey of new beginnings filled with suspense  and finding forever love in RUSTLER’S MOON. You might just fall in love again for the first time.
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Rustler’s Moon
Jodi Thomas
Published: HLQ Books
Date: 26th January 2016
Format: e-ARC
Pages: 384
Genre: Romance
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
                        Add to Goodreads

If there’s any place that can convince Angela Harrell to stop running, it’s Ransom Canyon. And if there’s any man who can reveal desires more deeply hidden than her every fear, it’s Wilkes Wagner. Beneath the rancher’s honorable exterior is something that just might keep her safe…or unwittingly put her in danger’s path.

With his dreams of leaving this small Texas town swallowed up by hard, dusty reality, all Wilkes has to show for his life is the Devil’s Fork Ranch. Though not one to let false hope seduce him, he can’t deny the quiet and cautious beauty who slips into his world and changes everything.

Lauren Brigman finally has freedom at her fingertips. All she needs is Lucas Reyes’s attention—a look, a touch, some sign that she’s more to him than a girl he rescued one dangerous night. But now it’s her turn to rescue someone, and the life-altering decision may cost her more than a chance with Lucas.

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Rustler’s Moon is #2 in the delightful series by Jodi Thomas. We continue on – meeting some newcomers and some more of the descendants of the early settlers who first started this community. There are really three prongs to this book, as it follows the lives of three groups of people, yet as it is a small community minded place, of course they all interact with each other as well.
There is Angie who has come to take up a new job in the museum, and what a joy that must be, could feel myself wishing it was all real and I could go view the place and all those early artifacts. Angie lost her mother at an early age, and when her father was mugged and murdered she leaves town quickly, as her life could be in danger. 
Arriving in the community its not long before she meets Wilkes who runs a ranch and who has living with him his Uncle Vern. Uncle Vern is a bit  of a character and he gave me a few out loud laughs. He is a bit of an old codger, thinks he would still be a catch with the women, and besides he knows what to look for in a woman. Also – no flies on him!
Wilkes is a delight – a good homespun honest, down to earth guy. He soon sets himself up as Angie’s protector and well if Uncle Vern doesn’t get there first – he is rather hoping to get significant time alone with Angie.
We also get to meet again Yancy, the guy who turned up last book – straight from a jail – and who weaved his way into the hearts of a local retirement community. His story advances with some exciting developments, my favorite moment being between him and Angie. Angie of the compassionate heart.
As well we also track some young college people, Lauren, Reid and Tim, the three who were mixed up in the break in to the old house in the previous book. Now they are wending their way through college, along with Polly, Lauren’s room mate. And as Jodi Thomas mentions there is Carter, who is seeking something, and he has never given up on it. Will he be rewarded?
I love the depth Jodi Thomas brings to her characters, and the chance we have to see them developing over a period of time. It makes for very satisfying reading. Some relationship angst, some mystery and danger, a long time quest to be fulfilled. Great mix of a story.
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A fifth-generation Texan, New York Times and USA TODAY bestselling author Jodi Thomas chooses to set the majority of her novels in her home state, where her grandmother was born in a covered wagon. A former teacher, Thomas traces the beginning of her storytelling career to the days when her twin sisters were young and impressionable. 
With a degree in family studies, Thomas is a marriage and family counselor by education, a background that enables her to write about family dynamics. Honored in 2002 as a Distinguished Alumni by Texas Tech University in Lubbock, Thomas enjoys interacting with students on the West Texas A&M University campus, where she currently serves as Writer in Residence. 
 Commenting on her contribution to the arts, Thomas said, “When I was teaching classes full-time, I thought I was making the world a better place. Now I think of a teacher or nurse or mother settling back and relaxing with one of my books. I want to take her away on an adventure that will entertain her. Maybe, in a small way, I’m still making the world a better place.” 
When not working on a novel or inspiring students to pursue a writing career, Thomas enjoys traveling with her husband, renovating a historic home they bought in Amarillo and “checking up” on their two grown sons. For more information, please visit Jodi’s website.

Ransom Canyon by Jodi Thomas – a Word from the Author

Firstly I welcome Jodi Thomas to the Book Date and then read on for my review of the first in her new series.

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Jodi Thomas
With seven generations of my family in Texas, of course I write about the state I love.  In this new series I’m going more modern-day western than I ever have.  Step into the life of small towns and ranching with me.  I promise, you’ll fall in love with the people of Ransom Canyon.
I knew I had to open RANSOM CANYON with Staten Kirkland.  He is a well-respected rancher who believes he needs to work harder than any hand he hires. He’s strong and honest and broken inside by the death of his only love, his wife.  When his son is killed during a storm a few years later, Staten runs to a quiet woman who has been his friend since grade school and his wife’s best friend. Shy Quinn asks nothing of him.  She offers understanding amid the storm of his life.
Their friendship develops into a gentle, loving affair that grows to rock both them with its depth.  Staten will have to learn to love again and Quinn will have to open up to someone.  The whole town watches the birth of passion and love as Staten stands beside her letting her be strong, and quiet Quinn discovers one man’s love can wash away all the pain in her past. Through storms, cattle rustlers, and facing Quinn’s greatest fear, they fight for each other as the whole town stands behind them.
Readers will feel, not like they came to visit, Crossroads, Texas, on the edge of Ransom Canyon, but the town will start to feel like home.  My goal as a writer is to keep you up late reading because you have to know what happens next.
So, saddle up with me and step into RANSOM CANYON.
photo Jodi Thomas
Jodi Thomas

A fifth-generation Texan, New York Times and USA TODAY bestselling author Jodi Thomas chooses to set the majority of her novels in her home state, where her grandmother was born in a covered wagon. A former teacher, Thomas traces the beginning of her storytelling career to the days when her twin sisters were young and impressionable.

With a degree in family studies, Thomas is a marriage and family counselor by education, a background that enables her to write about family dynamics. Honored in 2002 as Distinguished Alumni by Texas Tech University in Lubbock, Thomas enjoys interacting with students on the West Texas A&M University campus, where she currently serves as Writer in Residence.

Commenting on her contribution to the arts, Thomas said, “When I was teaching classes full-time, I thought I was making the world a better place. Now I think of a teacher or nurse or mother settling back and relaxing with one of my books. I want to take her away on an adventure that will entertain her. Maybe, in a small way, I’m still making the world a better place.”When not working on a novel or inspiring students to pursue a writing career, Thomas enjoys traveling with her husband, renovating a historic home they bought in Amarillo and “checking up” on their two grown sons.

The prequel to Ransom Canyon (Winter’s Camp) is available free until 31st August at B&N and Amazon until the 31st of August.

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I loved both Winter’s Camp and Ransom Canyon. I highly recommend.  I certainly love to settle back and enjoy the adventures she takes her readers on. My thoughts on Ransom Canyon follows.

Publisher: Harlequin (USA & Canada)
Date: 25th August 2015
Pages: 368
Genre: Women’s Fiction. Western Romance
Source: Publisher via NetGalley

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Ransom Canyon by Jodi Thomas is the first of a new series set in Crossroads Texas and surrounding ranches and farms.  After reading this one I know I am going to totally love this community. I enjoyed the prequel which gave us the tale of how Crossroads and Staten Kirkland’s forebear laid the foundations of this community. It’s a small town with a great community feel story, there’s a wide variety of characters – goodies and baddies, old and young, cranky and cheerful, mean and kind. Now to meet some of them:

  • Staten Kirkland – rancher, lost his wife a number of years ago when she died of an illness and a son who died five years ago in a car crash.  He’s a fifth generation Kirkland and he could be the last.  He is in his early forties.
  • Quinn O’Grady – lavender farmer, a friend always to Staten’s wife and is in a sort of relationship with Staten but as the book opens there is nothing formal about it. She also has something from her past that has hurt her badly.
  • Lucas Reyes – wrangler.  Young, just setting out with his eyes on college. Has integrity.
  • Lauren Brigman – daughter of Dan Brigman the sheriff. Finds herself early on in a situation that is a turning point in her young life, along with Lucas, young Tim O’Grady and Reid Collins. (Son of a rich rancher).
  • Yancy Grey who just got of a truck at Crossroads and is just out of prison. Point of fact he has one blue and one grey eye.
  • The Old Timers – all ex teachers who are living in a rather down at heel ex motel complex.  Among them is Staten’s grandma.  Do not discount them. They are a load of fun and add immensely to the story.

As soon as I was in a couple of pages I relaxed, recognising I was in the hands of an experienced and adept storyteller.

I loved it from beginning to end. It’s a western with cattle and horses, a shootout, some mystery, some romance. The baddies get their come uppance and the goodies shine.

There is drama and humour. FABULOUS.

I am already looking forward to Rustler’s Moon the next one in this series.

4.5 stars