In this series by Mindy Obenhaus we meet the Stephens men and their loves. I have enjoyed the first three books in the series and hope we get to read the Jude and Daniel’s stories as well.
Mindy takes us back to Ouray, Colorado, a setting I haven’t visited much in fiction, but I want to visit in real life thanks to vivid descriptions of the area. I think a Jeep tour might be a bit scary, but I would love to do a trail ride! (Lily would very much disagree with me.)
With believable characters, I could find something to relate to in all of the stories. While there are several characters to track between the family and the town, I felt like it fit right with the story, bringing me into town life.
If you’d like to see my thoughts on the individual stories, please click here.
I received a copy of this series from the author. I was not required to post a positive review and all opinions are my own.
Lawman Joe Sheehan is desperate to bond with the daughter he’s just discovered he has. But as a virtual stranger to twelve-year-old Amelia, the task seems impossible. Until Claire Conley moves to town. A social worker renovating a mansion into a foster home, Claire is the first person to get through to Amelia. Falling for the single dad was not on Claire’s to-do list. But with Joe and Amelia around, the house finally starts to feel like home. Claire’s ready to fight to convince Joe that together they’ve done more than fix a house…they’ve built a family.
A Baby for the Doctor
After becoming a foster parent to a young boy, equine therapist Jordan Conley’s life gets turned upside down. Little Levi is in need of an exceptional pediatrician, which means seeking help from Dr. Ash Sheehan—a man that, despite her heart-pounding crush, isn’t her type. Her life is horses and hay, and she can’t imagine the suit-clad doctor in a pair of cowboy boots. As a confirmed bachelor, Ash has never been nervous around women, but there’s something about Jordan that flusters him, and working closely together doesn’t help. The last thing he’s looking for is long-term romance. But the more involved he gets, the more he wishes they could stay together…always.
Their Secret Baby Bond
He wanted roots. She chose career. Can a baby bring them back together?Wynn Sheehan planned to change the world—not return to Alabama alone and pregnant. Her life is in shambles, but at least she can help take care of Latham Grant’s ailing grandpa. Latham isn’t ready to trust the woman who eagerly left him and their small town behind. But can they ignore the spark rekindled by unexpected Family Blessings?
The Marriage Bargain
Family Blessings lead to new beginnings. Jules Sheehan will do anything to keep custody of the two orphaned girls in her care—including a marriage of convenience with their uncle. Cam Quinn crosses the globe as a travel writer, but he’s ready to settle down. Now tough, tender Jules is offering the home he’s secretly longed for. Can this marriage in name only become a family of the heart?
This series by Stephanie Dees focuses a family that has a big heart and passion for loving foster kids who need a home and a Savior.
The Dad Next Door:
I read this book after reading book 2 in the series, so I had already connect with Joe, Claire, and Amelia, but I enjoyed reading about their start as a family. I admire Joe for the way he stepped right into fatherhood, even with some bumbling and learning, he was immediately steadfast and gave it his whole heart. At the end he paints a picture for their future that melted my heart. I promptly sighed and read it to hubs. A foster brood sounds about perfect to us too.
As a former foster mom, I admired the passion that Claire poured into renovating the house with the intention to foster a bunch of kids who needed love and God’s care, despite the hurdles that pop up. Having read the rest of the series, I know we get to see Claire more, and this aspect come out more and more.
A Baby for the Doctor: I LOVED THIS BOOK – by page 2. I connected with Jordan right away. As a former foster mom, I knew just what she was feeling throughout the book: the joy, the heartbreak, the face on the floor prayers. Ms. Dee did a fantastic job bringing the realities of foster parenting while also giving it the positive perspective that often lacks in fiction.
Ash was swoony and steadfast. His heart for kids will make you melt and smile. While I don’t live with diabetes, I do have a chronic illness, so I also connected with Ash, who was in a good place dealing with day in and out of life with a chronic disease while not letting it get the best of him. I appreciated that Ms. Dees also showed the side of him that got fed up, because we all have those days as well, but he didn’t let drag him down.
Their Secret Baby Bond: I already like Latham having read the first two books in the series and was hoping he’d get an HEA! I also knew something was up with Wynn when I met her in the 2nd book. I enjoyed this story about lost and returned loves, broken hearts and dreams, and God’s restoration. Ms. Dees approached a topic that isn’t often told from a faith perspective – that of an out of marriage pregnancy, but she uses the Sheehans and their community to show Wynn that God has not turned his back on her for her choices and that he can bring beautiful things out of them.
Latham shows us how we may have dreams, but when life happens it’s not an abandonment of those dreams, but a changing. He really made me think as I have dreams that haven’t gone as I imagined, but this story reminded me that God can still use those, just in an unexpected way.
The Marriage Bargain: Marriages of convenience are one of my favorite premises, but pulling them off in a contemporary setting can be difficult. I think Ms. Dees did a good job of a plausible story line giving the reasoning and feelings of both the hero and heroine and why they decided to dive in. While I may think it a bit far fetched having experience with the custody courts, if I was in the same position as Jules, I can’t say that I wouldn’t come up with a similar hare brained idea. I’ve also seen the courts make decisions opposite of what you think is best for the kids, but that’s where trusting God’s plan critical. Jules, like all of us do at some point, leaps forward to take the situation into her own hands.
What helped make this marriage of convenience more realistic for me is that there was an instant attraction. While relationships shouldn’t be based all on the physical, you can’t deny that love at first sight exists – it’s just a different type of love. A deeper long lasting love based on friendship has to grow with time and for Jules and Cam this love is show through a slow tantalizing burn.
We also get to visit with all the other characters from the series, which I loved, without feeling like you missed backstory. A satisfying ending to a series.
I received the series from the author but was not required to write a postive review.
The Sheehan brothers slid in in the last week 2018 and right into my heart. There is something about a man and his interactions with kids that make me swoon every time and Joe and Ash are great dads – even before they’re dads.
I have to respect, admire, and swoon over Graham’s steadfastness. No floor is too hard, no sticky fingers too daunting. He pushes Kit to be a better version of herself while also giving her room to grow.
Welcome to the JustRead Publicity Tour’s BLOG TOUR for Christmas with the Cowboy by Tina Radcliffe.
ABOUT THE BOOK
Title: Christmas with the Cowboy Series: Big Heart Ranch, Book 3 Author: Tina Radcliffe Publisher: Love Inspired Release Date: September 18, 2018
Home for the holidays A second chance at love on Big Heart Ranch
Former Navy SEAL Zach Norman has been avoiding his ranching roots—and the woman he couldn’t have. Back to visit his brother’s widow, Emma Maxwell Norman, and her adorable toddler twins, the bah-humbug cowboy is roped into helping prepare the ranch for the holidays. Working side by side, can Emma and Zach overcome their troubled past…and receive the greatest Christmas gift of all—love?
Zach has finally come home! Or so Emma believes. I enjoyed this sweet Christmas read, emphasis on CHRISTMAS. It’s filled with all Christmas all the time with Emma slowly but surely converting the Christmas crumudgeon, and two little cuties help!
One thing I like about this story of a sister-brother -in-law falling in love story is that Zach respected Emma’s and Steve’s relationship- he never tried to convince Emma otherwise at some time in the past and Emma truly loved Steve; her feelings for Zach didn’t morph until in this story. That is something that this troupe in general often annoys me – the whole “I had feelings for you, but I married your brother anyways for whatever reason.” Tina did no that which made me like the characters and connect more. I also respected Zach and admired him even, for choosing to remove himself from the situation. While I don’t agree with avoiding his family, I get it.
The secondary characters are also great. This is the first book in the series I’ve read and I didn’t feel like I missed anything, but I’m definitely going to catch up!
I received a copy of this book from the author. All opinions are my own.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Originally from Western, N.Y., Tina Radcliffe left home for a tour of duty with the Army Security Agency (a branch of the NSA) stationed in Augsburg, Germany and ended up in Tulsa, Oklahoma. While living in Tulsa she spent ten years as a Certified Oncology R.N. Her move to Colorado led to a career as a library cataloger. A freelance writer for over twenty years, Tinamanages Seekerville, 13 author blog which is starting its tenth year. Seekerville is a Writer’s Digest 101 Best Websites for Writers award winner.
Tina is a two-time RWA Golden Heart finalist, a 2012 ACFW Carol Award finalist, a 2014 ACFW Mentor of the Year finalist, a 2014 Golden Quill finalist and a 2014 ACFW Carol Award winner. In 2016 Safe in the Fireman’s Arms was a Holt Medallion Merit Award finalist and a Detroit Bookseller’s Best finalist and a NERFA finalist. She has won first place in over twenty RWA chapter affiliated contests in her career. Tina is also a short story writer and has sold over twenty short stories to Woman’s World Magazine. She currently resides in Arizona where she writes fun, heartwarming romance.
I don’t have enough posts to really do a “Throwback Thursday,” especially since I almost never post on Thursdays. BUT, instead, I thought I would share with you all the very first book I ever won through a blog: Falling for the Hometown Hero. This was a couple years ago, so I don’t even remember whose blog it was, and I had NEVER won anything off of a blog. I decided that I needed to be more diligent about reading blogs about stuff I liked (books and architecture) and saw that the books blogs did giveaways. And I started entering as many as I could, determined and persistent.
And at last, I won!
I wasn’t way into contemporaries then and I had never read a book set in Colorado before, but you know what, I loved it. I don’t remember too much about specific story points since it’s been so long, but I remember really enjoying a story that just plodded along in a satisfactory way, just like life. It wasn’t super exciting, it wasn’t sugary sweet, it wasn’t manufactured drama. It was like real relationships, which may have their exciting points, but are mostly made up of everyday boring stuff. Mindy wrote the everyday stuff in a way that makes you want to keep reading and reading and is, in my opinion, relatable because it’s normal.
Also, I don’t think I’d really read a Love Inspired before…and I fell in love with the book size. It fit in my pocket, it didn’t make my arms ache to hold it up! That might be a lame excuse for liking a book, but it’s about the experience as a whole,. Am I right?
I encourage you to pick up a copy if you haven’t read this little gem.
I set out in late November to try to read as many of the Love Inspired Christmas stories for 2017 as possible. I didn’t succeed in reading them all, and in fact still have a stack that I checked out from the library still not read, but it was a valiant effort. Here’s a list of which ones I did read and putting them into three categories.
My favorite of this set of Love Inspired is a series: Texas Ranger Holidays. I has three books, that while not quite standalone, wrap up enough of the threads in each. I actually started with book two, but didn’t feel like I missed out, and like it so much I went and got the first one, which is technically a Thanksgiving story.
Others I really liked:
These few I just couldn’t get into for whatever reason. As I was reading fast trying to get through them all, if it didn’t really pull me in in the first couple chapters or I didn’t like the characters, I put it down. If it was another time of year, I probably would’ve stuck it out. Some I did finish, but still didn’t intrigue me like the others listed above.
Welcome to another installment of First Line Fridays, hosted by Hoarding Books. I didn’t realize when I picked this off the library shelf that it’s actually #2 in the series, but I don’t feel like I missed anything starting in the middle. That said, I’ll for sure go checkout book #1 and #3!