When Snow Falls (Whiskey Creek, #2)
by Brenda Novak Series: Whiskey Creek #2 Published by MIRA
on October 23, 2012 Genres: Contemporary Pages:
FINAL DECISION: Mixed feelings on this one. I really loved the blue collar romance between Cheyenne and Dylan. I didn’t like almost everything else around the romance. The story of the sister’s drug addiction was over the top. The mystery woman story was only a mystery to Cheyenne so it wasn’t a mystery at all. The friend and other man story wasn’t convincing.
THE STORY: Cheyenne Christensen is struggling caring for her mother who is dying from cancer. Cheyenne also seems to have childhood memories about a caring woman who is not her mother. On top of this, her best friend has decided to ask out the man who Cheyenne has secretly been in love with for years. Determined not to interfere with her friend’s potential romance, Cheyenne finds herself in the company of Dylan Amos, the oldest of the troublemaking brothers. Even the possibility of the man of her dreams can’t seem to get Cheyenne’s mind off the bad boy.
OPINION: This book was made up of so many different plot lines that it felt disjointed to me. I wanted more of the Cheyenne and Dylan romance and less of the 50 other side stories. The first half of the book makes such a big deal of the Cheyenne/Dylan/Joe/Eve plot and then it just dropped.
I really liked the Cheyenne and Dylan romance. It was nice reading a blue collar couple for a change. I really liked how Cheyenne begins to see that Dylan is more than what he did in his past. While I thought the beginning of their romance was strange because it occurred so quickly and without any real connection between the characters, I quickly enjoyed their growing and complicated relationship.
I wanted to like this book more because I liked the romance, but I thought that the book lost focus and kept diverting from a good romance to cover a bunch of other stories that just weren’t that interesting to me.
WORTH MENTIONING: I don’t really like that the heroine keeps secrets from the hero even at the end of the book. It’s not a good start for their marriage.
CONNECTED BOOKS: WHEN SNOW FALLS is the second book in the Whiskey Creek series. Although there are characters from the town in each book, this book can be read as a standalone.
STAR RATING: I give this book 3 stars.
When Lightning Strikes (Whiskey Creek, #1)
by Brenda Novak Series: Whiskey Creek #1 Published by Harlequin MIRA
on August 28, 2012 Genres: Contemporary Pages:
FINAL DECISION: This book grew on me as it progressed. The star here is the growing relationship between Gail and Simon who talk to one another like adults. The book avoids so many of the expected relationship pitfalls that it constantly surprised me.
THE STORY: Gail DeMarco left Whiskey Creek to form her own public relations firm. But she managed to torpedo her own business when she dropped Hollywood superstar actor Simon O’Neal because he is self-destructing after his divorce. Simon’s revenge is using his star power to strip Gail of her clients. Desperate to save her business, Gail decides to sacrifice her pride and apologize to Simon. As part of the plan to help Simon regain custody of his son by improving his image, Simon needs a upright wife — and Gail fits the bill. A marriage of convenience quickly turns into something more as Simon tries to right his life and Gail finds herself caring too much for her difficult client.
OPINION: What I really loved about this book is that even with a bunch of crazy Hollywood tabloid stuff going on, the real center of this book is the time that Gail and Simon spend together talking and relating to one another.
When the book began, I worried that the book would be about the crazy drama and I didn’t like the idea of Simon much. But that is exactly the place the book wants the reader to be in the beginning. Gail begins to learn about Simon as the reader does. The time they spend together gave this book heart. I loved them as they bantered and revealed themselves emotionally to one another. And I especially loved that all the cliches of how they could be pulled apart melted under adult conversation and trust.
WORTH MENTIONING: I love the group of friends that are the basis of this series. The relationships between them add dimension to the characters in the story.
CONNECTED BOOKS: WHEN LIGHTNING STRIKES is the first book in the Whiskey Creek series (although there is a prequel that is not necessary to read).
STAR RATING: I give this book 4 stars.
When We Touch (Whiskey Creek, #0.5)
by Brenda Novak Series: Whiskey Creek #0.5 Published by MIRA
on August 1, 2012 Genres: Contemporary Pages:
FINAL DECISION: An enjoyable novella. I really liked the connection between Olivia and Brandon although I was frustrated by the setup for the story. The execution of the story was well done despite the short length.
THE STORY: Olivia Arnold has returned to Whiskey Creek to plan and attend her sister’s wedding. Unfortunately, the wedding is to Olivia’s ex-boyfriend who ended up getting involved with and impregnating her sister which he wasn’t really her “ex”. Because she owns a wedding planning business, Olivia reluctantly gives in to her parent’s pleas to handle the wedding. While in Whiskey Creek, Olivia runs into her ex’s stepbrother, Brandon who offers her refuge from the family drama.
OPINION: This was an enjoyable novella. The setup is very dramatic and I was really angry at how poorly Olivia is treated by her family. Interestingly, Brandon is also second best in his blended family so the two have something in common. I did think that the dramatic situation with Olivia being forced to organize her sister’s wedding helped focus the story and thus made everything work better. By compressing and pumping up the drama, it allowed Olivia and Brandon’s relationship to work in the compressed time period. Olivia and Brandon’s relationship was sweet and sexy and I was touched by how everything worked together.
WORTH MENTIONING: This novella introduces many of the characters who appear in the Whiskey Creek series.
CONNECTED BOOKS: WHEN WE TOUCH is the prequel novella to the Whiskey Creek series.
STAR RATING: I give this book 3.5 stars.