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Number of Pages: 368
Publication Date: 2015
|Dimensions: 8.50 X 5.50 (inches)|
Series: Texas Crossroads
GazpachoClare, MIAge: 55-65Gender: female5 Stars Out Of 5A beautifully written character-based book, part of a series, but still indepenfentOctober 3, 2015GazpachoClare, MIAge: 55-65Gender: femaleQuality: 5Value: 5Meets Expectations: 4"In Firefly Valley" is the second book of the Texas Crossroads series by Amanda Cabot. Between the first two books we get acquainted with a trio of men and two close friends. The men were college buddies who kept in touch with each other for years after their graduation. In book one we met Greg Vange and Kate. In this second book, we meet Drew Carroll and Blake Kendall, Greg's friends who came to Texas from California to attend Greg and Kate's wedding. Lauren and Marisa were childhood friends who had grown up in Dupree, Texas. Marisa moved to Atlanta and became an accountant at a large city firm. She has returned now after being scammed by a man posing as a private detective, who had been her boyfriend until he disappeared with her money. Her mother, Carmen St. George, got her a job working as an office manager at Rainbow's End in Dupree. Drew met Lauren at the wedding. Blake met Marisa at the resort where he was staying. Dupree would be forever changed by these seemingly casual encounters.
The main plot involves Blake and Marisa. The moment they met, they felt an attraction. But Blake had a secret that eventually strained their budding relationship, while Marisa was dealing with past issues of trust and anger. Reacting to each other's past nearly destroyed their relationship before it had a chance to get off the ground. Intersected with this storyline are two subplots: Lauren was being courted by Drew whom Marisa believed to be all wrong for her best friend and 7-year-old daughter; and Marisa's father has suddenly returned to his family after he had deserted them eight years ago. While Eric began the process of proving his recovery from alcoholism to his wife and daughter, Marisa is resistant to reconciling with him. She doesn't believe he has changed. This becomes a stumbling block in her relationship with Blake as well as her family. There are also several threads running throughout the book which makes the reader wonder if a satisfactory resolution is possible. It all works together to keep the reader's interest until the conclusion of the story.
After reading both the first and second books of this series, I realized this author has a talent for creating living, breathing, well-rounded, easily relate-able characters. It didn't take long before I felt connected to the main players. Lauren is a widow whose young husband died of leukemia a year before. Fiona, Lauren's daughter, wants a new daddy. Drew, who'd made it big as Greg Vange's business partner, suddenly finds himself at loose ends. Greg sold his business and Drew is without work. He takes a good look at himself and doesn't like what he sees. When he seeks out God, together they get his life turned around. Then he meets Lauren, falls in love and realizes he has a way to put his new resolves into action. Blake is an author. His books have hit the best seller list repeatedly. At the opening of the book, he has a contract for another book. But for the first time ever, he has writer's block. Seeking a change of location in an attempt to stimulate his creative juices brings him to Rainbow's End. But meeting Marisa, becoming aware of her "daddy" issues, creates a crisis for him in more ways than one.
I could go on, but I hope you see my point. Amanda Cabot's characters make mistakes, refuse to admit when they are wrong, need help from their friends, realize flaws in their beliefs and thinking, seek out God's aid, make attempts at changes, are not perfect, and so on. These are all some of the dynamics that good character-based books use to draw us back to read the story a number of times. This author is a master at writing characters with flaws and heart. This particular "flavor" of weaknesses and strengths, conflict and resolution, is what I like to read. I believe many other readers enjoy this combination of traits too.
Second, besides great characterization, the author introduces a subtle underlying theme that may make the readers pause and ponder. Can people change who they are, fundamentally? The answer is complex--not an easy yes or no. How a person believes about that question depends on their worldview of humanity. Some use the old idiom that "leopards do not change their spots." Others believe change and even transformation is possible. This demonstrates an excellent use of a theme that drives a storyline forward toward some type of conclusion. In this case, it helps bring about a satisfactory ending. It worked so well I read the book twice before writing this review.
Finally, this is a faith filled story, something I thoroughly enjoy reading. There is no preaching here, just people who naturally include God in their daily lives. They pray and talk about Him as if He is a friend that walks with them daily. None of it is hard hitting or forced. God is just there. When people want to include Him, they do. When they don't want to include Him, they don't. The author demonstrates faith that's as natural as breathing. This is a factor that's important to me, so that's what I read. For all these reasons above, I highly recommend this book and the series. A third book is to be released soon. I am looking forward to reading and reviewing it as much as I plan to enjoy other books from this author.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received a complimentary review copy of this book from Revell Reads (a division of Baker Publishing). I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commissions 16 CFR, Part255: Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.
Cindy J4 Stars Out Of 5Clean, light-hearted romanceSeptember 13, 2015Cindy JQuality: 4Value: 3Meets Expectations: 4Marisa St. George has been laid off from her job in Atlanta as an accountant. In desperation she accepts a position in her hometown of Dupree, Texas, at the local resort which is reopening soon under new ownership. The position is not her ideal position, but she needs to pay her bills and eat. She can move in with her mom, the cook at the resort, to help save living costs. Blake Kendall is struggling to write his next best-selling book. His magnificent view from his office window overlooking the Golden Gate Bridge is no longer inspiring words to flow. He calls his former college roommate to meet for lunch only to find Greg now lives in Dupree, Texas. Blake thinks a change of scenery may help start ideas flowing, so he decides to take Greg up on his offer of a cabin after Gregs wedding on Saturday.
In Firefly Valley was an easy book to read. There were several themes throughout the book. Alcoholism and its lasting effects on the alcoholics family were addressed. Dishonesty, or incomplete honesty, and uncontrolled anger were also issues the characters faced. The characters were likeable and realistic, and they matured during the story. There were secondary storylines and characters woven throughout the book which added to the books appeal.
This is book two of the Texas Crossroads series, but it is not necessary to read book one first. I followed the story quite well in spite of not having read book one. However, I would enjoy reading book one now, and the short preview of book three also intrigued me. This is a light-hearted novel and could be read by middle teens on up to adult.
I received a copy of this book through The Book Club Network in exchange for my honest review.
CaroljoFarmington, MOAge: Over 65Gender: female4 Stars Out Of 5Forgiveness is a requirementAugust 9, 2015CaroljoFarmington, MOAge: Over 65Gender: femaleQuality: 5Value: 5Meets Expectations: 5Anger keeps Marissa from forgiving her father for things in their past. It also is an obstacle in her relationship with the man she loves. Amanda Cabot has written another winner with In Firefly Valley. The characters learn to turn their lives and problems over to God and to forgive hurts. The story takes place a small town in the beautiful Texas Hill Country. The people are caring, loving people who have been hurt. I've read several of Amanda's books and have enjoyed them all! I recommend this contemporary book!
I received this book from a giveaway by Revell Books through www.BookFun.org
KavRCanadaGender: female5 Stars Out Of 5Loved it!August 5, 2015KavRCanadaGender: femaleQuality: 5Value: 5Meets Expectations: 0This is the second book in the Texas Crossroads series, but no worries if you haven't read At Blue Bonnet Lake because this reads well as a standalone. Mind you, if you have read the first book you'll be pleased to catch up with Greg and Kate and even get to attend their wedding!
A problematic love story that kept me on pins and needles, lamenting over the sheer stubbornness of a certain heroine. Because, really, the whole rocky road to romance part is squarely in the Marisa camp. Honestly, I just wanted to shake some sense into her.
At one point she is so unfair to Blake -- outrageously so -- I just wanted to spit nails. But here's the thing -- Cabot writes realistic fiction with all the grit and foibles that come with real life. Marisa comes with some baggage and as I began to understand the depth of the hurt that scarred her, I could start to really empathize with her. Yes, she over-reacted. Yes, in the grand scheme of things, I really felt she was wrong but I understood the knee-jerk reaction that pushed Blake away. It annoyed me no end that she hung onto her anger; that she was so unreasonable -- even self-righteous. Talk about stirring up a reader's nest of emotions! I really wanted to sock somebody -- preferable this heroine. LOL
A brutally honest love story that was painful to read in places but ultimately filled with hope and forgiveness.
Sidenote: There's also a bonus sweet secondary love story that helps balance the Marisa and Blake angst. Balm to my romance loving soul.
Fitzysmom4 Stars Out Of 5Review from Rambles of a SAHMJuly 16, 2015FitzysmomQuality: 4Value: 4Meets Expectations: 4In Firefly Valley allows us to take another delightful trip to the Rainbow's End resort nestled in the beautiful hill country of Texas. Greg and Kate have made some major renovations to the resort in the months since we left them in At Bluebonnet Lake. As we meet up with them again they are ready to head down the aisle and off to their honeymoon.
One of the changes they made was to hire Marisa St. George as their business manager. The position feels like a step backwards to Marisa but after the downsizing at her current firm left her without a job she doesn't have many other choices.
Greg's friend and investment broker, Blake Kendall, can't believe his friend Greg is getting married and decides to make a trip out for the nuptials. Actually Blake is also hoping the trip will bring some much needed inspiration. Unbeknownst to most, Blake also moonlights as a best-selling author. He uses a pseudonym and never allows interviews or photos. Recently he has run into a bad case of writer's block and he's hoping a change of scenery will bring that to an end.
Since this is a contemporary romance you've probably already figured that sparks are going to fly between Marisa and Blake. You would be right. Amanda Cabot has once again blessed us with a charming tale about two people not likely to be together under normal conditions, but Rainbow's End isn't your normal place. I enjoyed reading their story and catching up with Greg and Kate and the other residents of Dupree, Texas. I'm looking forward to the next installment On Lone Star Trail which is scheduled to release in February 2016.
I received a copy of this book to facilitate my review.
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