Review: Wyoming Winter

I received this book for free from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Review: Wyoming WinterWyoming Winter (Wyoming Men, #7) by Diana Palmer
Series: Wyoming Men #7
Published by Harlequin Books on October 31st 2017
Genres: Contemporary
Pages: 416
Goodreads
four-stars

FINAL DECISION: A more complex version of Palmer’s standard formula which I enjoyed with the exception of the too quick resolution of the problems between the hero and heroine.

THE STORY: Colie Jackson falls hard for her brother’s friend J.C. Calhoun. Colie ignores, however, J.C.’s differing values and his distrust of women. While the two get close, J.C.’s past keeps him waiting to be betrayed. When he is told that Colie has been cheating on him and is pregnant, J.C. rejects Colie. Years later, Colie returns to town and again sees J.C. The two have to work through their past while Colie is in danger from a criminal gang because of secrets only she knows.

OPINION: This book has Palmer’s standard formula: innocent woman misjudged by man angry and mistrusting because of lies and a past woman’s actions; he breaks her heart and then realizes he was wrong and they reconcile. One thing I really liked about his book was the time it took in J.C. in reforming himself. That was different than what I have seen in Palmer’s books in the past.

Longtime readers of Palmer will recognize one of her enduring formulas. These characters are what you might expect except that Colie has more determination and self-reliance than I expected.  J.C. is the expected jerk as the book begins, but he also goes through a three year struggle to change himself.

I am also a big fan of how the story works out through both J.C. and Colie working through their own faith struggles. (Readers who don’t want to read about characters who have religious backgrounds and struggle through life and try and connect it to their faith and God should probably skip this one).

The problem that kept this book from being rated higher was that, for me, the resolution between J.C. and Colie was too quick. There needed to be more time or more discussion or more groveling. Everything between them seemed to be fixed within only a few pages and I needed more to resolve the years that these two spent apart and the magnitude of what occurred.

Despite this, I enjoyed this book as a whole.

WORTH MENTIONING: I enjoyed seeing characters from prior books.

CONNECTED BOOKS: WYOMING WINTER is the seventh book in the Wyoming Men series but can be read as a standalone. The book is also connected with the Long, Tall Texans series if you have read the series otherwise the connection is slight.

STAR RATING: I give this book 4 stars.

NOTE: I received an ARC of this book via Netgalley in order to provide a review. I was not required to write a review or to write a positive review. All opinions contained herein are my own.

four-stars

Review: Undaunted

I received this book for free from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Review: UndauntedUndaunted: A Western Romance Novel by Diana Palmer
Series: ,
Published by Harlequin Books on June 27th 2017
Genres: Contemporary
Goodreads
three-half-stars

FINAL DECISION:  I enjoyed this book as a one time read.  There are some extreme moments in this book that make the hero hard to like, but that is not unfamiliar for Palmer readers.  My complaint is that I think the hero needed to grovel more because of his horrendous behavior.

THE STORY:  Kate Martin has done something terrible. She accidentally hit the jet ski of the local billionaire, Garrett Carlton, with her employers speedboat.  As a result, Garrett was injured and is now blind.  Kate feels a tremendous amount of guilt and secretly takes on the role of Garrett’s assistant in order to help him.  Garrett is very bitter and coldhearted, distrusting women but finds himself drawn to the sweet young woman who he meets.  The problem is that sooner or later he will find out about Kate’s deception.

OPINION:  Diana Palmer has a certain type of story that she tells.  There is often a young, innocent woman who falls for a bitter older man.  The man believes that the woman is more sexually experienced and eventually treats her poorly.  This book has a variation on that story, but the bones remain intact.  I’ve been reading Palmer for 30 years and I enjoy her stories.  This book is good, but I had two problems with it that reduced my rating somewhat.

Kate is a nice person but incredibly naive.  I understand that she comes from a conservative and sheltered background, but it is impossible for me to believe that someone could be so silly in modern America.  She is a nice person but too naive for me.  That, however, didn’t lower my rating.  What did was Kate’s reaction to injuring Garrett.  She is a liar and is in fact deceiving him. She is also guilty of a crime and hiding out.  If anyone doubts that, consider that hit and run would be obvious if she were driving a car instead of a boat.  That bothered me throughout the whole book.  Her behavior didn’t match with her character.  This was too big a problem for me to set aside.

Garrett is a man with a soft heart who has been battered so much that it has made him bitter and hard.  While he longs for belonging and love, he has convinced himself that he doesn’t want it because he has been hurt and disappointed.  My complaint about him is that he is incredibly cruel to Kate because he is attracted to her.  He is the one who hired her.  He could have her leave if he doesn’t want to have her around.  Instead, he treats her terribly.

One of the biggest complaints about Garrett in online reviews is what happens when he finds out about Kate causing his accident.  Actually that I didn’t mind as much because at least there was a reason for his anger and behavior.  My biggest complaint was that I thought that Garrett needed to grovel a big more because of his actions.  I think he deserved it.

There was, however, something I really enjoyed about this book.  I thought that the characters were well constructed and I felt their intense longing for connection. I also enjoyed the construction of the conflict between these two.  I am definitely not disappointed that I read this book and especially for fans of Diana Palmer, this is a good read.

WORTH MENTIONING:  This book has a large age difference between the hero and heroine. He is 38 and she is 23.  While this is not that unusual in historicals, it is not as common in contemporary books these days.

CONNECTED BOOKS:  UNDAUNTED takes place in the Long,Tall Texans world.  At this point it is difficult to determine which book in the series this is, but several characters will be familiar to readers of that series.  For new readers, however, the prior book in the series are not necessary.  This book acts as a standalone.

STAR RATING:  I give this book 3.5 stars.

NOTE:  I received an ARC of this book via Netgalley in order to provide a review.  I was not required to write a positive review.  All opinions contained herein are my own.

three-half-stars

Review: Wyoming Brave

Review: Wyoming BraveWyoming Brave (Wyoming Men #6) by Diana Palmer
Series: Wyoming Men #6
Published by HQN Books on December 27th 2016
Genres: Contemporary
Pages: 384
Goodreads
three-stars

FINAL DECISION:  A typical Palmer romance with an experienced hero who misjudges the sweet innocent heroine and then regrets it.  I liked this book but it doesn’t elevate Palmer’s formula but rather stays strictly within its boundaries.

THE STORY:  Ren Colter has closed himself off after his fiancee’s betrayal. Everyone is therefore surprised — even Ren — that he allows Meredith Grayling to stay at his ranch. Meredith is hiding from a stalker. Nervous and afraid, Meredith is dealing not only with her current threat but past abuse as well.  The alpha male feels his protective instincts go in overdrive over the innocent Meredith and her gentleness might soothe Ren’s battered soul.

OPINION:  I’ve read Palmer’s books for over thirty years. Her readers know that she has a formula for her books. Her characters often — and almost always in recent years — live in small western towns.  There is usually an experienced but romantically betrayed man who meets up with an inexperienced woman.  He mistakes her for experienced, treats her poorly, finds out the truth and then spends the rest of the book groveling.

I know what I’m getting in one of her novels and sometimes the characters make the story fantastic.  This book was just okay for me. The characters were nice — and even the hero wasn’t too jerky — but I didn’t feel that the characters expanded the formula nor were they so compelling that I thought — “wow!  I’m like to read this again”.

Enjoyable for the time I spent reading it and ultimately forgettable as a book.

WORTH MENTIONING:  This book actually is a crossover book with Palmer’s Long, Tall Texans series with appearance by characters from that series.  Seeing characters that I’ve

CONNECTED BOOKS:  WYOMING BRAVE is the sixth book in the Wyoming Men series.  It can be read as a standalone although pretty much all of Palmer’s books are connected these days with characters appearing from different books and series.  This book is most closely connected with DEFENDER.

STAR RATING:  I give this book 3 stars.

three-stars

Review: Calamity Mom

Review: Calamity MomCalamity Mom by Diana Palmer
Published by Harlequin Books on April 25th 2016
Genres: Contemporary
Goodreads
two-half-stars

FINAL DECISION:  This is a sweet story but fairly forgettable.  I read it once and thought it was fine, but I didn’t see anything special about the story or the characters.

THE STORY:  Faulkner Scott’s twelve year old son wants a mom and has set his eyes on Shelly Aster.  Although Faulkner believes Shelly is too young, too poor and too inexperienced for him, he can’t seem to stop spending time with her.  As both Faulker and his son fall for Shelly, she has secrets of her own which might make her perfect match for them both.

OPINION:  This is a straightforward and sweet story.  For a story like this, to be a really good story, I think that there have to be memorable characters.  For me, the story was nice, light and easy to read and enjoy, but there was nothing special about it or its characters.  I like Diana Palmer’s books, but this story isn’t one of the best.  Nice one time read but nothing about it was lasting for me.

WORTH MENTIONING: This novella was originally published in 1993.

CONNECTED BOOKS:  CALAMITY MOM is a standalone.

STAR RATING:  I give this book 2.5 stars.

two-half-stars