2014 – Book #60


The past couple days have been a very difficult time for me. I find most that when I am working my way through a difficult time, I tend to turn to the escape of fiction more than I might at other times. There has been something inherently soothing today and yesterday about reading beside my grandfather’s bed as I struggle to say goodbye to him. And while this may not have been the best book I’ve ever read, I am profoundly grateful that for a few moments of time I can escape to a place where there is no pain, no sadness, and only happy endings. And as this was the book that I am meeting my goal with for the year, I can’t think of a better person to share this with than my Pop-pop. So I hereby dedicate the following blog post and my accomplishment of meeting my 60 book goal for 2014 to a man who watched over and cared for me my whole life, Henry Barnum.

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The sixtieth book I read in 2014 was Black Ties and Lullabies by Jane Graves. I finished this book on 7/25/14. I rated this book 3.0 stars out of a scale of 5. This book was about Bernadette Hogan, body-guard extraordinaire, and her current employer, multimillionaire Jeremy Bridges. Jeremy grew up in the slums and now that he is successful he allows himself every comfort and luxury possible. Bernadette on the other hand scrimps and saves to be able to take care of her aging mother. As his bodyguard, Bernie watches for years as Jeremy works his way through all the blonde starlets and models that life has to offer.

But on one evening Bernie decides she has had enough of trying to protect Jeremy’s life and quits. The argument and the flaring passion that ensue are unexpected and unplanned, as is the pregnancy that follows. At first Bernie decides she wants Jeremy to have nothing to do with their child, but as the weeks progress and Jeremy shows her how much this child and her both mean to him, she begins to think that maybe she was wrong about Jeremy after all.

Overall I didn’t love this book. I have liked the other books I have read by this author but this one I just couldn’t connect with. A millionaire sweeps in and says he’s just going to take away all your problems? How often does that actually happen?? And while it might be more realistic, both of the main characters had some serious insecurities that they needed to work on. That being said, it was a fairly good story and I was interested the whole time in how the book would play out. And the ending was sweet, if unbelievable.

Link to author website: http://www.janegraves.com/

Link to Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Lullabies-Central-Publishing-Contemporary-Romance/dp/0446568473/ref=tmm_mmp_title_0?ie=UTF8&qid=1406318148&sr=8-1

2014 – Book #54


The fifty-fourth book I read in 2014 was Cowboy Take Me Away by Jane Graves. This is the first book in her Rainbow Valley series, the second book just came out in May 2014. I finished this book on 6/19/14. I rated this book 4.5 stars out of a scale of 5. This book is about Shannon North and Luke Dawson. As teens they fell in love, but Luke was from the wrong side of the tracks and Shannon didn’t yet have the age and confidence to stand up to her mother. Luke decides that he’ll never be good enough for this town and takes off during the night after Shannon breaks his heart.

Fast forward to eleven years later, Shannon left her cushy CPA job in Houston to come home and run Rainbow Valley’s animal shelter. Between a pony that bites and spitting llamas and too many dogs and cats to count, she’s having trouble keeping her head above water at the shelter financially. Meanwhile in the past eleven years Luke has become a very well known bull rider. Through a twist of fate he ends up back in Rainbow Valley with a knee healing from surgery that he needs back at top condition for the championship bull ride competition in 3 months as well as an empty bank account after paying for the surgery out of pocket. When he sees the ad in the paper for a live in caretaker at the animal shelter, he decides to apply for the job.

As Luke becomes more involved in taking care of the animals at the shelter he realizes that they aren’t the only ones who need his care. Shannon cares so deeply for these animals that she’s on the edge of breaking and Luke realizes someone should be watching out for her as well. As their friendship once again develops into something more, Luke can’t seem to get past the town’s stigma that he’s just like his drunk no-good father. And once he reveals to Shannon how horrible his childhood actually was, is there even a chance she could love him then?

This was just such a great book. This book is just so perfectly heart-wrenching, between Luke’s childhood insecurities and all the animals at the shelter, you have to be a cold-hearted son of a gun to avoid tearing up multiple times during this story. I just absolutely loved it. I can’t wait to read the next book in the series.

Link to author website: http://www.janegraves.com/

Link to Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Cowboy-Take-Away-Rainbow-Valley/dp/1455515191/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1403270495&sr=8-2&keywords=cowboy+take+me+away

Link to Rainbow Valley, TX (not quite sure if it is a real place or if this is a Jane Graves website): http://www.rainbowvalleytexas.com/

Link to other blog reviews on Jane Graves books: https://rebeccabookreview.wordpress.com/tag/jane-graves/

2014 – Book #14

ImageThe fourteenth book I finished in 2014 was Heartstrings and Diamond Rings by Jane Graves. I finished this book on 3/11/14. I rated this book 4.25 stars out of a scale of 5. This was the first book I’ve read by this author.

This novel is about a woman who has been extremely unlucky in love and decides to try using a matchmaker. Her biological clock is ticking loudly and she’s in a rush to find her perfect mate and get to the altar before its too late (hey that rhymed!). When she goes to have a meeting with her new matchmaker, she encounters a man to her utter shock. Despite her initial panic she decides to give him a chance and what ensues is a fantastic romantic comedy.

I enjoyed reading this novel and found it to be of similar humor to Kristan Higgins, one of my favorite authors from a previous post. Also similarly, this story made me laugh out loud as well as brought me to tears, a telltale mark of an enjoyable book for me. I will definitely be reading more by this author in the future.

Link to author website: http://www.janegraves.com/

Link to Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Heartstrings-Diamond-Rings-Jane-Graves/dp/0446568481/ref=la_B001H9VXT0_1_8?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1394554583&sr=1-8