I picked up and read Twistedby DiAn Gates without having read her first novel in the series, called Roped. I was instantly hooked into the mystery and drama that permeates every page.
Told from the perspective of a young woman named Crissy Crosby, we see the world of danger and intrigue unfolding around her. There is a complicated relationship between her family and another known as Fairgate. Choices Crissy made with good intentions have had a ripple effect that she could never have foreseen.
This is not a sweet story but one filled with past evils and deeply buried secrets. Crissy struggles to understand this when the adults around her are being evasive. For her own protection of course. But Crissy wants to know and is inquisitive and bold. A great young heroine.
And horses. Oh, I love horses. My mom is allergic to them which is why she has me instead of a horse, well, that and we live in the city. The story takes place after a nasty rodeo competition and involves a ring of horse thieves. It’s a difficult book to put down once you start reading it.
I can see pre-teens loving this but also adults because of the way DiAne Gates weaves her complicated tale, leaving the reader wondering and waiting along with Crissy to discover just what is all going on and why the adults in her life are acting so strange.
I give this book five bones for suspense and the ability to keep the reader engaged in the unfolding story. It makes me want to go back and read Roped to learn more about what happened in that book, but this book stands alone well enough on its own.
Spatzle Baganz, book reviewer for the silygoos blog because that’s how we roll.
I was disappointed that I couldn’t snag a free copy of Becky Wade’s Undeniably Yours to review, but there’s always the library! Yay! I loved Becky’s writing in My Stubborn Heart and she has been nominated for some pretty awesome awards for that novel. Just rising to that level of awareness in this industry is an achievement in and of itself. The thing is, Becky deserves it. She writes phenomenal contemporary romances.
Undeniably Yours is totally different from My Stubborn Heart. It is not a sequel but an entirely new story in its own right and written with just as much compelling drama and romance. Meg Cole had no desire to run her father’s oil business and had an agreement that for ten years she could do her own thing. His death shortened that dream and put her at the helm of a business she had no skills or knowledge about. With the advice of her many staff members, she starts by cutting costs and one of those cuts was the Thoroughbred racehorse farm that was her father’s pet indulgence.
Bo Porter had worked hard in partnership Whispering Creek Ranch to make the Thoroughbred Farm a profitable venture and he’s just about to break even when the blow comes. He’s been fired and he has to terminate everyone, sell the horses and close the farm. Something about Mr. Cole’s daughter intrigues him though and he refuses her termination. He negotiates for six months in hopes that maybe she’ll change her mind.
The last thing either of them anticipated was falling in love and the complexities that would ensue. Throw a sociopathic ex-husband into the mix and Oil “royalty” and you have one major adventure! With Bo’s job on the line and their relationship hanging in the balance, Meg seeks God’s guidance as to how to juggle the career she despises with the opportunities it provides. Danger lurks as Meg pursues her passions and finds that helping others puts her at risk.
Undeniably Yours is a well-crafted romance with beautifully drawn out characters will keep you reading and rooting for Meg and Bo and Becky Wade doesn’t leave you wanting with her happy ending. This is a book I hope to read again.
To Whisper Her Name is as Post-Civil War Southern fictional story that takes place on a very real to life Belle Meade Plantation. That location is the star of the novel and a character in it’s own right.
Olivia Aberdeen has suffered the humiliation of her brutal husband being branded a traitor to the South and publicly disgraced and murdered. Although ignorant of his misdeeds she is branded with the tint of scandal. Turned from her home she finds refuge at Belle Meade Plantation where her mother’s dearest friend lives. Unfortunately it is also a horse stud farm and Olivia is deathly afraid of horses.
Nothing goes quite as planned when Ridley Cooper comes to Belle Meade to learn about horses from Bob Greene, a man he met during the war while fighting for the North. Having to keep his part in the war a secret while working with the stud farm and for a General for the Southern Army is a challenge for the strong-willed Ridley. But he hasn’t met strong until he’s run into the prim and proper widow, Olivia. As days turn into weeks and months, Ridley’s dreams of heading West are put on hold while Olivia fears she will once again be “sold” to another husband to help benefit the Belle Meade plantation.
This is a story rich in details and slow in laying out the story and it’s conflicts. It is well and beautifully written. The biggest boldest faith comes from the Negroes on the plantation, the rest is not quite as deep. It is a great look at how some white people, even after the war was lost in the south, were willing to start treating black people more as equals in some ways, but they had a long road to hoe to overcome years of racism.
I loved the characters of Ridley and Olivia. The book is long. It has a slow start. I’m horribly allergic to horses (not matter how beautiful I believe them to be), although I appreciate the painstaking parallels between the training of the thoroughbreds and the gentling of Olivia’s fears that Ridley undertook. The character of Grady and his threats was a plot thread that was left hanging unresolved. When the end finally came it felt like it wound up too fast and I almost wished less time was spent earlier on to be able to more fully enjoy the way Ridley and Olivia finally connect. I felt a bit shortchanged in that regard after all the work in getting there.
If you want to live in the South, right after the civil war and see what life was like back then, this historical will do the job. Even though this reviewer is from the North, I do have to agree that much of what happened to decimate the South as part of that war was over and beyond what was necessary to win freedom from the slaves. This novel illustrates that suffering to a certain degree although taking place within the two years after the war I suspect the relationships illustrated between Negroes and Whites in this novel is an ideal and did not reflect reality (equal pay for a job?). Poetic, fictional license but it aided the story and the dignity that the former slaves deserved.