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On Lone Star Trail # 3 in the Texas Crossroads series, by Amanda Cabot
Gillian Hodge had plans to become a concert painist. A motorcyclist put a stop to that dream. Now another motorcyclist crashes his bike in front of her. TJ Benjamin feeling lost in his life and faith after the death of his wife. He wonders about God's sense of humor when he meets Gillian, his rescuer. Will he learn to forget his past?
Number of Pages: 384
Publication Date: 2016
|Dimensions: 8.50 X 5.50 (inches)|
Series: Texas Crossroads
When TJ Benjamin's wife died, he lost more than his best friend; he lost his faith. He's spent the past year wandering the country on a motorcycle, trying not to think about his future. When he finds himself stranded with a busted bike and a reluctant rescuer, he has to wonder about God's sense of humor.
Can this woman without a future and this man running from his past find romance in the present? Or are they too tied to the way life used to be?
ADFehlArden, NCAge: 25-34Gender: female2 Stars Out Of 5Fun backdrop, bland romanceJune 6, 2016ADFehlArden, NCAge: 25-34Gender: femaleQuality: 4Value: 3Meets Expectations: 3It only takes one fateful moment for Gillian Hodge's whole world to change forever. In that one instance, she is struck down in the street by a motorcyclist, the accident crushing her right hand and effectively ending her career as a concert pianist. After some intensive physical rehabilitation, Gillian is able to regain most of her mobility in that hand, but she soon sees it will never be quite enough to return to the concert stage. So, now what? Needing some time to mentally regroup and reassess her life's direction, Gillian decides to spend some time at her friend's Rainbow's End Resort in Dupree, Texas. And wouldn't you know, just as she's trying to get her mind right again, she witnesses yet another motorcycle crash go down right in front of her! What are the odds?!
The injured cyclist ends up being former preacher / history teacher TJ Benjamin. Not long ago, TJ's wife passed away and now he's on a cross-country trip meant to honor her memory and help him work through his grief. TJ is quick to say he's not injured from the crash, but the bike takes enough damage to require him to stick around Dupree for a few days while repairs are made. But as you might expect, within those few days TJ gets to know the townspeople, and especially Gillian, and finds himself looking for a reason to stick around a little longer.
I was thinking the environment of this story could be fun, what with people living on a campground resort area within the American West, and while that element DID make for a nice backdrop, the plot and character developments fell flat for me. I found the romance very bland and run-of-the-mill. Some of the particulars of the situations these characters get into struck me as slightly unrealistic and many of the characters themselves came off as too goody-goody to be much fun to read about... and dare I say, a wee bit judgmental of those not just like them.
The plot is pretty cliche-laden, complete with a pretty meh love triangle. To be honest, for a romance I didn't feel much heat between anyone. The dialogue sounded too scripted to get the swoons outta me. I didn't feel like Gillian's character or backstory was developed enough for me to understand why these people were so taken with her. Her pianist past is mostly only mentioned in brief passing and there's not much to her or her story in the present that really left me awestruck, there's not even noticeable humor or spunk to her personality. She's just very... cardboard-like. But of course her leading men immediately see her as super-special and "the most amazing woman I've ever met in my life..." as one goes so far to say. One guy even calls her Wonder Woman when she paints a whole room by herself. Not even kidding, that's all she has to do to get this moniker. No saving anyone from drowning or pulling someone from a burning building. Nope. Just the ability to paint four walls a solid color and she gets Wonder Woman. Must be slim pickins in Dupree.
I found myself more interested in the story of TJ's deceased wife. Seemed like there was a cool lady there -- artistic, adventurous, full of life. TJ's inner thoughts reveal how he never met anyone more beautiful than her, how she could so easily pull him out of his shell and get him to try new things. I wanted to know that story! But then cardboard Gillian comes in, sees a picture of the deceased wife and deems her "not beautiful by any standard". M'kay, well after that I was officially done caring about the coupling of Gillian and TJ.
FTC Disclaimer: Revell / Baker Publishing Group kindly provided me a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. The opinions above are entirely my own.
ShannahAge: 25-34Gender: female4 Stars Out Of 5Welcome back to Rainbow's End!April 26, 2016ShannahAge: 25-34Gender: femaleQuality: 4Value: 4Meets Expectations: 4I love Amanda Cabot's writing style. Her stories flow so steady and smooth. On Lone Star Trail was definitely a nice break from the fast paced, action packed stories I've been reading. I also enjoyed being back at Rainbow's End and Dupree. Catching up with characters from Firefly Valley and At Bluebonnet Lake made me even more happy to read this book.
Gillian and TJ are both fighting their own personal grief battles. I can relate to grief, feelings of guilt, and questioning "why did this happen to me." Amanda Cabot captures those emotions excellently. I love how these characters clicked as friends, but wouldn't allow themselves to surrender to more than that for a while. It was also entertaining that everyone around them (Kate, Greg, Marisa, Sally, the Matchers) recognized their feelings for each other before they did. Sometimes love truly is blind!
Amanda Cabot writes an emotionally challenging story with a clear message: Let go and let God (LGLG). It was so hard for these characters to embrace the concept and I appreciate that. It's not easy to do in real life and it made the story more relevant that the characters struggled to find their paths and finally surrendered their all to God.
Overall, this was an excellent end to the Texas Crossroads trilogy and I look forward to reading more by this fantastic author.
*I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher through the Revell Reads Blogging program in exchange for my honest review.*
Kav5 Stars Out Of 5Soul-stirring and heart-singing readApril 23, 2016KavQuality: 5Value: 5Meets Expectations: 5A strong finale to the Texas Crossroads series. Packs an emotional wallop that knocked the stuffing out of me! Cabot shredded my insides out and made my heart hurt more than a time or two and then, just to keep me on my toes, she'd slap me silly with a startling faith-based truth. Gillian and TJ are two wounded souls trying to navigate their way back from the brink of despair. They have to learn that God can be trusted even in the bad times. Especially in the bad times. But oh my goodness that's a hard lesson to learn. And just as hard to read. And so rewarding when it all comes together in one glorious, soul-stirring, heart-singing read.
MaryAnnORAge: 55-65Gender: Female4 Stars Out Of 5Another winner by Amanda CabotApril 18, 2016MaryAnnORAge: 55-65Gender: FemaleQuality: 5Value: 5Meets Expectations: 5This endearing love story touched my heart. I have enjoyed the Texas Crossroads series and dont want it to end. On Lone Star Trail is Book 3 and could stand alone, but reading the preceding two volumes will enrich the enjoyment of this novel. Gillian Hodge, the injured pianist, returns to join her friend Kate at Rainbow Lodge. On her way there, she encounters a stranded motorcyclist and gives him a ride. Who knows what will happen as their lives entwine. I recommend the whole series and have enjoyed all of the authors books. This is another story of healing and relationshipsso anyone could relate. I received this book from the author in exchange for an honest review.
Laura HiltonHorseshoe Bend, ARAge: 45-54Gender: female3 Stars Out Of 5On Lone Star TrailMarch 18, 2016Laura HiltonHorseshoe Bend, ARAge: 45-54Gender: femaleQuality: 4Value: 3Meets Expectations: 2ON LONE STAR TRAIL isn't Ms. Cabot's best novel. Unlike the first book in this series, especially, the characters in this book were flat, undeveloped and... I couldn't care for them. TJ's wife died and he's living her bucket list for her, but without her. He's very much grieving and very much not ready for a relationship. And along comes Gillian who is recovering from an accident that cost her career and she plays two men along until the end of the book.
I also had some questions about the realistic-ness of a motorcycle accident that rendered TJ stranded in town. I admit I've never been in a motorcycle accident, but I have ridden them back in my teenage, I'm invincible years, and those things are heavy. Not only that but if you were to be flipped over a guard-rail - and tumble down an incline, you'd be hurt more than a bruise or two.
If you love romantic fiction and read the first two in the series, you will want to finish it out with ON LONE STAR TRAIL. The other two books were At Bluebonnet Lake and In Firefly Valley.