New Blog Awards!!!

I'm behind yet again on posting a couple of new Blog Awards I've received recently.  I'm so sorry!

First of all, compliments of Joyful @ Joyful Journey, I've been awarded The Fabulous Sugar Doll Blogger Award.  Thank you so much, Joyful!  I love it!  This is the first time I've ever seen this award, and I can't wait to pass it along to other deserving bloggers.  =)

Isn't it pretty?

For receiving this award, I'm supposed to list 10 random things about myself...as well as, pass it along to 10 other bloggers.  Okay...here we go:

10 random things about me:

1.  I have dark brown hair.
2.  I have brown eyes.
3.  I'm the oldest of 4 girls.
4.  June 17th of this year, Allen & I will celebrate our 10th wedding anniversary!  <3
5.  Growing up, I loved to play with Hot Wheels.
6.  I have over 30 pairs of flip-flops.
7.  My favorite food in the whole world is CHICKEN!  Chicken fingers, Chicken salad, Poppyseed Chicken...
8. I have a Boxer/Pit mix puppy, Deezel.
9. I am completely addicted to swapping books @ PBS.

It's always so hard for me to choose ONLY a certain # of blogger to pass along awards to, but I'm gonna try my best to stick to 10.  If you're not on my list, please don't feel bad!  Just grab the award for yourself and post it on your blog.  I'm sure you deserve it, too!

1.  Angie @ Never a Dull Moment
2.  Ashley @ After All...Tomorrow is Another Day
3.  Christy @ Southern Sassy Things
4.  Lee @ Butterfly Blessings
5.  Renee @ Black 'n Gold Girl's Book Spot
6.  Jacki @ Random Thoughts of a Blessed Mommy
7.  Carrie @ In the Hammock
8.  Katy @ A Few More Pages
9.  MJ @ Creative Madness
10.  Carman @ A Sequence of Continuous Delights

The second award I received is the Bliss (Happy 101) Award from Katy @ A Few More Pages AND Renee @ Black 'n Gold Girl's Book Spot.  Y'all are real "sweeties"!  Thank you so much for passing along this YUMMY looking award to me.  =)


I LOVE cupcakes!  YUM-mmm!

Recipients of this award are required to do the same as the award above.  I won't bore you with listing 10 more random things about me, but I will pass it along to 10 different bloggers.  Here they are:

1.  Mimi @ Woven By Words
3.  Cym @ Cym Lowell
4.  Joyful @ Joyful Journey
5.  Hannah @ Project Journal
6.  CeeCee @ Book Splurge
7.  Sadie (Cerella Sechrist) @ Sadie's Sweet Life
9.  Ruth @ Booktalk and More
10.  Bella (Janice Thompson) @ Weddings by Bella

Waiting on Wednesday

It's official!!  The cover for Julie Lessman's, A Hope Undaunted, has been released by Revell!  It's absolutely gorgeous, and I don't know how I'm gonna wait until October/November to read it!

Without further ado....here it is....

The 1920s are drawing to a close, and feisty Katie O'Connor is the epitome of the new woman--smart and sassy with goals for her future that include the perfect husband and a challenging career in law. Her boyfriend Jake fits all of her criteria for a husband--good-looking, well-connected, wealthy, and head-over-heels in love with her. But when she is forced to spend the summer of 1929 with Luke McGee, the bane of her childhood existence, Katie comes face to face with a choice.

Will she follow her well-laid plans to marry Jake? Or will she fall for the man she swore to despise forever?

A Hope Undaunted is the engrossing first book in the Winds of Change series from popular author Julie Lessman. Readers will thrill at the highly charged romance in this passionate story.

Isn't it just beautiful???
Great job, Julie!

Another book that I can't wait to read, that's also set to be released in October/November is book 2 of Sharon Gillenwater's new series, The Callahans of Texas.....Emily's Chance.

This cover is simply to die for!  I'm in love with Chance already!  *sigh*

Emily Rose may be in the tiny West Texas town of Callahan Crossing for the moment, but it's just a rung on her ladder to success. Her work at the Callahan Crossing historical society will look good on her ever-growing resume as she attempts to break into the prestigious world of a big city museum curator. Little does she know cowboy and contractor Chance Callahan has decided that he can convince her to stay--both with the town and with him. As he helps Emily restore the town's history after a devastating fire, he also helps her uncover her own hidden worth and the value of love.

The second book in The Callahans of Texas series, Emily's Chance is a heartwarming story of letting love take the lead. Readers will come away wishing they lived in Callahan Crossing.

Oh my!  Isn't he just gorgeous?
I can't decide who I'm more in love with...Chance or Nate!
Who do you love more?


My Review: The Silent Governess by Julie Klassen

by Julie Klassen

Christian Fiction / Historical / Regency / Romance

Publisher:  Bethany House
Copyright 2010
Pages:  448
ISBN:  9780764207075

Olivia Keene is fleeing her own secret. She never intended to overhear his.
But now that she has, what is Lord Bradley to do with her? He cannot let her go, for were the truth to get out, he would lose everything--his reputation, his inheritance, his very home.

He gives Miss Keene little choice but to accept a post at Brightwell Court, where he can make certain she does not spread what she heard. Keeping an eye on the young woman as she cares for the children, he finds himself drawn to her, even as he struggles against the growing attraction. The clever Miss Keene is definitely hiding something. 

Moving, mysterious, and romantic, The Silent Governess takes readers inside the intriguing life of a nineteenth-century governess in an English manor house where all is not as it appears.

My Thoughts:

This was my first time reading Julie Klassen's work, but there will be more to come, as I have her first two novels sitting on my shelf just waiting to be read.  I don't know why I've waited so long to give her books a try, because I absolutely fell in love with her characters in The Silent Governess.

Olivia Keene is running for her life when we first meet her, and she's harboring a very self-incriminating secret that could very well cause harm to befall both her and her mother if it's ever made public.  As Olivia is on the run, she overhears another secret, and it lands her in lockup.  Fortunately, Lord Bradley sees fit to have her released and brings her to Brightwell Court, he hires her as an under nurse for his niece and nephews.  Olivia quickly falls in love with her charges, and makes quite a few new friends during her employment.

Lord Bradley, Edward, knows that Olivia is hiding something, and he has his suspicions as to what it might be.  However, he has enough problems trying to find out the particulars of his own potentially life-changing secret, while doing his best to keep it under wraps.  Edward's father, Lord Brightwell, isn't very cooperative with sharing what he knows, so Edward decides to find out what he can on his own.

The Silent Governess revolves around multiple mysteries...family secrets, mysterious blackmail letters, and missing family members are just the beginning.  I thoroughly enjoyed the fast-paced flow of the story.  The characters were really easy to get to know, and I fell in love with Olivia right from the beginning.  Audrey and Andrew are real sweethearts.  Edward was a little hard to get close to, but he was one of my favorite characters by the end.  If you love Regency Romance, then you will really enjoy this book.  Regencies aren't something I normally read, but I'm glad I took the time to read Olivia's story.

To find out more about Julie Klassen, or her books, be sure to visit:
Her website

***I would like to say "thank you" to Jim @ Bethany House for my complimentary review copy.***



My Review: Love Finds You in Hershey Pennsylvania by Cerella D. Sechrist

by Cerella D. Sechrist

Christian Fiction / Contemporary / Romance

Publisher:  Summerside Press
Copyright 2010
Pages:  347
ISBN:  9781935416647

Back cover:

Chef Sadie Spencer has learned that in life, as well as in food, sour balances sweet. After returning to her deliciously charming hometown of Hershey with a young daughter in tow, Sadie has managed to rise from the ashes following the death of her husband, the passing of her mother, and the dissolution of her career as a TV chef. With the help and encouragement of her best friend, Jasper, she opens a restaurant and looks forward to savoring the sweet side of life. That is, until a handsome Russian entrepreneur arrives in town, apparently intent on opening up his own restaurant in direct competition to hers. Sadie becomes obsessed with honing the one skill she’s never had – creating desserts – to keep up with her adversary, and in the process, she finds a love that’s simply icing on the cake.

My thoughts:

As this is Cerella's debut novel, this was my first time reading her work; however, it will not be my last.  She has quickly been added to my "must read" author list.  YAY!  Her book is easily my favorite Contemporary Romance so far for 2010.  It would be nice to see a sequel, because I would love to find out what happens to some of her secondary characters.  Though I'm not a huge fan of cooking or baking myself, for some reason, I love reading about characters who enjoy it.

We meet Sadie after she has returned to her childhood home of Hershey, Pennsylvania, and opened her very own restaurant, Suncatchers. She has hired a great bunch of employees, and is doing an excellent job bringing in customers.  She does have a couple of problems though.  One, she can't make a decent dessert to save her life, and second, rumor has it that someone has purchased the building across the street and is planning to open a restaurant.  Sadie finds out that this someone is Dmitri Velichko, and he has been dining at Suncatchers at least 2-3 times a week.  She thinks he's scoping out what she (the competition) has to offer, and finds it really hard to put up a nice facade whenever Dmitri drops by for a meal.

Sadie's daughter, Kylie, is my favorite character.  She had me laughing so hard at times that my hubby would ask me what in the world was so funny!  I would try to read an excerpt to him, but couldn't see for the tears rolling down my face.  I would love to see Love Finds You in Hershey, Pennsylvania released as a movie, just so I could see Kylie and her antics "in person".  I'm telling you, she's a real hoot!  =D

Jasper has been Sadie's friend since forever.  He bends over backwards to help her out anytime, anywhere.  He's a teacher at Kylie's school and babysits her a couple of hours every afternoon until Sadie gets home.  They have lots of fun together: playing Barbies, drawing pictures, and the stories Kylie tells about Mount Thousand Flushes will have you in stitches.  I love how she refers to herself in the third-person!  LOL

Sadie's dad, Mac, comes back into her life after deserting her and her Mom years ago.  Sadie has a really hard time working towards forgiving him, and treats him pretty badly at first.  I felt sorry for Mac, but could kinda understand why Sadie feels the way she does.  Kylie falls in love with her Grandpa right away, and loves to spend time with him.

If you've read and enjoyed any of the other Love Finds You in... books, then you definitely need to get your hands on a copy of Cerella's story that takes place in Hershey, Pennsylvania.  It's an absolute treat!  To find out more about Cerella and her book, please drop by and visit her at:
Her website
Sadie's blog

***I would like to say "thank you" to Cerella Sechrist for providing me with a copy of her book.  In no way did her generosity reflect on my personal review.***



My Review: Swinging on a Star (Weddings by Bella, #2) by Janice Thompson

(Weddings by Bella, #2)
by Janice Thompson

Christian Fiction / Contemporary / Romance

Publisher:  Revell
Copyright 2010
Pages:  328
ISBN:  9780800733438

Bella Rossi's life is nearing perfection. She's got the perfect guy, she's running a successful business, and she's about to plan her most ambitious wedding yet, a Renaissance-themed fairy tale come true, complete with period costumes and foods, horse-drawn carriages, and even a castle. There's just one hitch. The best man just happens to be Brock Benson, Hollywood's hottest and most eligible bachelor. Oh, and did we mention he's staying at the Rossi house to avoid the paparazzi?

My thoughts:

I fell in love with the Rossi clan back in book one, Fools Rush In (my review), so I couldn't wait to get my hands on Swinging on a Star.  I was very excited to find out what everyone's been up to.  Well, as I discovered, total chaos has broken out at the Rossi home.  Whew-weeee!  There is so much going on, that I had to stay on my toes just to keep up!

Bella is in the midst of planning her second "themed" wedding, medieval this time, while Aunt Rosa is getting ready to be featured on Italian Chefs from Coast to Coast, hosted by her favorite cooking channel, the Food Network.  Bella's worried that TV cameras are gonna be all over the place during the wedding rehearsal, and she doesn't want her bride to be even more stressed out right before her big day.  She's trying her best to coordinate everything perfectly, in order to avoid another disastrous wedding mishap.  Marian, the bride-to-be, doesn't help matters any when she calls to let Bella in on a secret concerning Rob's best man.  This is where Janice's trademark hilarity comes into play!  I was laughing out loud at everything the Rossi's have to go through in order to help Bella keep this BIG secret from the rest of the neighborhood.

We also find out what DJ's family, the Neely's, have been up to; especially his brother, Bubba, with his excellent singing abilities.  Bubba's relationship with Bella's best friend, Jenna, is still going strong.  Uncle Laz and Aunt Rosa are still fighting with each other, although the other family members are starting to realize that there's more to it than just fighting, per say.  Bella's sister, Sophia, has another love-interest, even though Tony is still hanging around trying to catch her attention.  As you'll find out, there's never a dull moment when the Rossi's are around!

As I said in the beginning, there is quite a bit going on with the Rossi family.  At times, it was a little hard for me to keep up with what everyone was doing, but it was a lot of fun.  In order to not give anything away, let me just say that you're in for lots of exciting twists, such as, a couple of characters have to spend the night locked up; there are a couple of wedding proposals; Guido may be heading home soon; and of course, those crazy ladies Twila, Jolene, and Bobbie Sue are back again!  Believe me, you don't want to miss out on the fun in this one!  :)

If you haven't had a chance to read Fools Rush In, don't let that stop you from grabbing a copy of Swinging on a Star.  It can actually be read as a stand-alone, in my opinion, and those of you who know me well, know that I very rarely recommend reading series books out of order!

To find out more about Janice Thompson, and/or her books, please visit:
Her website:  Janice Hanna Thompson
Her blog:  Weddings by Bella

“Available January 2010 at your favorite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group.”

**Thank you so much to Donna @ Revell (Bakers Publishing Group) for providing me with a review copy.**



We have a winner................

............and the winner is..............


You're in for an absolute treat!  Enjoy!


HAPPY BIRTHDAY..............

...............to my Mom!!!


She doesn't blog, but I still wanted to wish her a Happy Birthday...publicly!  :)

Author Interview / Book Giveaway: Love Finds You in Hershey Pennsylvania by Cerella Sechrist

I would like to welcome y' all to my very first Author Interview/Book Giveaway!!  I hope you're as excited as I am! :)

Today, my guest is Cerella Sechrist, a brand new Christian Fiction author. We will be discussing her debut novel, Love Finds You in Hershey Pennsylvania. Her book is my favorite Contemporary romance so far for 2010. Yes! It's THAT good!

LAS: Tell us a little about yourself, Cerella...are you single, married, any kids?

This is the part where I get to sound like a Match.com ad! LOL! I’m 30 and single. I live in southern Pennsylvania – under an hour’s drive from my book’s setting of Hershey. I’m a bit of a foodie though not the best cook you’ve ever met by far. I love the Food Network and BBC, and I’m totally addicted to coffee.

I work full-time in the office of my dad’s general construction business. It’s a family business that was started by my grandfather (my mom’s dad) over forty-five years ago. At 15, my dad began working for my grandfather. He eventually fell in love with my mom, and they married, taking over the construction business some years later. (Which I think is a sorta romantic story!) My mom is also legally deaf (she only has 4% hearing in each ear), so I help her out a lot with phone calls and errands. She’s still super independent, though, for her handicap. Her perseverance has taught me a lot about not letting anything hold you back from what you want to do.

Awww!  What a "sweet" story!  *wink*

LAS: How do you choose your characters names/book titles?

As far as character names – I used to be so picky about those! I have a set of baby name books as well as a list of names I’ve picked up over the years, and I would spend ages trying to find names that I really liked. Eventually, I learned it was less about the names I liked and more about the names that fit. I began focusing more on the character themselves – getting to know their personality, their quirks, their likes and dislikes…and I suddenly realized the names were finding me. It wasn’t such a struggle anymore. Naming has always been one of my favorite parts of the writing process, but I’ve come to find an intense satisfaction when a character speaks enough for herself (or himself) to say, “This is me.”

The title of the book is often one of the very first things that comes to me. I nearly always have the title in mind before writing. Of course, I’ve discovered the title a writer chooses often changes when the book goes to press – publishers have a better sense of titles that way. Writers may pick a title they like, but it doesn’t mean it will work as a draw for readers. Love Finds You in Hershey was obviously changed to fit the series. My working title was Just Desserts.

That's great!  I like the idea of your characters naming themselves.  Too bad you couldn't keep your working title...it's a perfect fit.

LAS: Do you have other published works? If so, please tell us about them.

Not yet but hopefully more will follow soon. =)

I can't wait to see what you come up with next!  Maybe you should finish the "story" you started over on Ashley's blog??  *hint, hint*  It was awesome!

LAS: What do you currently have in the works?

I’ve finished the first novel in a contemporary women’s series about three sisters – my agent is currently shopping it around for the right publishing house. I have a wealth of stories I want to tell, so it becomes a bit of a dilemma when trying to decide what to work on next! I drive my sister nuts with this. She’s my sounding board, and so she frequently has to sit and listen to me debate which story is the next one to tackle. God bless sisters and their infinite patience.

Sisters are the best!  I have 3 younger sisters, and enjoy reading sister themed books, to see what we might have in common.  :)

LAS: Do you have any pets? If so, how many? What are they...their names? If not, what would you choose?

I have a pug dog, named Bronte after the classical authors – Charlotte and Emily Bronte. She’s 13 years old and sweet as they come. My family’s always had a thing for pugs – my mom had one growing up and my sister recently got another. Her name’s Lulu, and she was the runt of the litter. She’s four puppy pounds of cuteness!!! She had all of us wrapped around her paw at the first meeting.

She sounds like a sweetheart!

LAS: What is your all-time favorite movie? Why?

Wow, I wouldn’t know where to begin! LOL! I just have waaaay too many favorite films.

Today, I’m in a pirate mood, though, so I’ll have to highlight my love of the Pirates of the Caribbean trilogy. Ever since I was a little girl, this has been my all-time favorite Disney ride. I’ve ridden it so many times in my life that I’ve completely lost count. I’ve got to be nearing one hundred rides.

In fact, one of my (unpublished) historicals is a pirate novel. I like to think I loved pirates before pirates were cool. =)

Several years ago, when I first found out a Pirates of the Caribbean movie was being made, I was excited but also wary – how could they do justice to the swashbucklers I had loved since childhood? But from the opening segment of Curse of the Black Pearl, I was hooked. The films have it all: cursed treasure, villains you hate and love at the same time, a soundtrack to get your blood pumping and who isn’t fascinated by Jack Sparrow???

The Pirates trilogy is definitely in my top ten.

Believe it or not, but I've never see all 3 movies completely thru, just bits and pieces.

LAS: When did you realize you wanted to become a writer?
When I was ten years old. (Twenty long years ago!) I loved books so much as a child – my book wish lists were pages and pages long. I read everything I could get my hands on, but it never occurred to me that stories started with an author. Then, at ten years of age, I watched a movie in which the heroine was a novelist. That’s when it hit me – maybe I could be writing stories, too!

From that day on, I never wanted to be anything else. I kept reading, and I began learning how the publishing industry works and the craft of a writer, etc. When I was sixteen, I wrote my first historical novel, and I started trying to sell it at the age of seventeen. Several manuscripts and thirteen years later, I’m finally seeing a debut novel in print.

LAS: How did you come to know the Lord?

Being raised in a Christian home, I came to know the Lord at an early age. I was five years old when my mom prayed the salvation prayer with me. Even though I was very young, the one thing I was so aware of was the love Jesus had for me. My parents did an excellent job of instilling this – that God loved me so much, he would (and did) do anything for me. The knowledge of that kind of love carries more impact than the most engaging theological reasoning.

LAS: What book(s) are you currently reading?

I’m usually reading more than one book at a time. Right now, I have two going: Rumors by Anna Godbersen as well as Into the Wilderness by Sara Donati. I love Sophie Kinsella, so I’m eager to pick up her latest: Twenties Girl. Recently, I read two of the books in Nancy Moser’s Ladies of History series, so I acquired the first one in that series, Just Jane, after hearing great things about it. I can’t wait to see how Moser handles Jane Austen. She did a terrific job on Martha Washington – I love her historical detail!

LAS: Name one food that you just can't stand?!?! (For me it would be more like...one food you love...I'm a very picky eater!! LOL)

I have never met a food I didn’t like. LOL! But I’ve maybe met one or two that I’m not overly fond of eating. In the sweets line, I’m not a big fan of caramel. Brussel sprouts are probably my least favorite vegetable, but I even enjoy those on occasion.

I’m pretty adventurous when it comes to food. My mom was a drill sergeant when my brother, sister and I were kids. You ALWAYS ate what she put in front of you. She was fond of the ‘bite/age’ rule. If you were seven years old, you had to eat at least seven bites of the food you didn’t like. If you were twelve, you ate twelve bites, etc. The happy result of this was that I learned to appreciate foods I initially didn’t embrace. So as an adult, I’m fairly open to trying anything that’s put before me.

That being said, I want to let it be known I’m not into the whole insect/reptile/small mammal culinary experience – as in Thailand, where stir-fried bats are often served for dinner. I don’t care how many bites my mom would insist upon – that’s where I draw the adventurous-eating line.

LAS: What is your favorite vacation spot?

Williamsburg, Virginia is one of my all-time favorite places to visit. I go there every autumn with my mom and aunts – we stroll the historical hotspots, do some shopping, and have a lot of girl fun.

The spot I’d most love to return to one day soon is Hawaii. I visited there when I was younger and fell in love with the beauty of the islands. They’re so rich in history and culture and natural wonders. I would love to go back.

My dream trip is to one day visit Scotland, where some of my family originally hails from. My heart’s in the highlands. =D

LAS: Do you have a favorite sitcom/TV series that you just can't stand to miss?

I’m addicted to ABC’s Lost. I’ve been looking forward to the final season, starting in February. And for those who want to know – I can never decide which one I love more: Desmond or Sawyer.

I’m also totally digging TNT’s Leverage – it’s brilliant and so much fun! It has conmen who rob from the rich to give to the poor with high-tech props and over-the-top stunts. What’s not to love?

I never jumped on the Lost band-wagon, nor have I ever seen Leverage.  Maybe I'll give it a try...

LAS: Are you an American Idol fan? If so, who is your favorite contestant/winner thus far (Seasons 1-8)?

Sadly, I’ve never once watched American Idol!  But I do love the band, Daughtry, so I suppose Chris Daughtry would be my favorite by default!

I really like Daughtry, too, I thought he should have won.  My personal favorites would have to be Kelly Clarkson (of course!) and Jordin Sparks.  A lot of great singers have been found via AI, as well as some not so great ones!  LOL

LAS: Where can we find you?

Thanks for giving me the opportunity to let readers get to know me a little bit better! If you’d like to contact me, check out the contact page of my website: www.cerelladsechrist.com

Or head on over to my blog and personal site at www.thecerellalife.com for more random stuff!

Sadie, the main character in my novel: Love Finds You in Hershey, also has her own blog at www.suncatchersadie.blogspot.com

Thanks and have a chocolaty day! =) 


Back cover:

Chef Sadie Spencer has learned that in life, as well as in food, sour balances sweet. After returning to her deliciously charming hometown of Hershey with a young daughter in tow, Sadie has managed to rise from the ashes following the death of her husband, the passing of her mother, and the dissolution of her career as a TV chef. With the help and encouragement of her best friend, Jasper, she opens a restaurant and looks forward to savoring the sweet side of life. That is, until a handsome Russian entrepreneur arrives in town, apparently intent on opening up his own restaurant in direct competition to hers. Sadie becomes obsessed with honing the one skill she’s never had – creating desserts – to keep up with her adversary, and in the process, she finds a love that’s simply icing on the cake.

Click here to read the first chapter!!  You will be totally hooked!  =)

Cerella has been nice enough to offer a copy of her book, Love Finds you in Hershey Pennsylvania, along with a yummy handmade book mark (made by her Mom) that looks just like a Hershey bar!  How cool is that?

Everyone who leaves a comment will be entered for a chance to win.  You have from Feb. 7th thru Feb. 13th to enter.  The winner will be announced/contacted on:

Good Luck!!


My Review: The Husband Tree (Montana Marriages, Bk 2) by Mary Connealy


The Husband Tree
(Montana Marriages, Bk 2)
by Mary Connealy

Christian Fiction / Historical / Romance

Publisher:  Barbour
Copyright 2010
Pages:  315
ISBN:  9784602601437

(from Mary's website):

Belle Tanner buries her third worthless husband and makes a vow over his shallow grave. She’s learned her lesson. No more men.

Silas Harden just lost his second ranch because of a woman. The first deserted him when times got tough. Now he’s had to quit the whole state of New Mexico to avoid a trumped-up shotgun wedding and the noose of matrimony. He’s learned his lesson. No more women.

Belle needs hired hands to move a cattle herd late in the season and there’s no one around but seemingly aimless Silas. She hires him reluctantly.

Silas signed on, glad for the work, though worried about a woman doing such a thing as hiring drovers, only to find out he’s the lone man going with five woman, including a baby still in diapers. After the cattle drive is over, he might as well shoot himself to speed up the process of being embarrassed to death.

A fast approaching winter.

The toughest lady rancher you’ve ever seen.

A cynical cowboy who has to convince five women he’s right for their ma. . .and then convince himself.

And one thousand head of the crankiest cattle who have ever been punched across the backbone of the Rockies.

My Thoughts:

As all my family, friends, and followers know...I've been "im"patiently waiting to get my hands on Mary's newest release, The Husband Tree.  Ever since reading Montana Rose (my all-time favorite of Mary's books) I've been eagerly looking forward to reading Belle's story.  Well...let me tell you...it was well worth the wait!!  I would have read it straight through, but my hubby had to be fed.  I could have gladly passed up dinner, just to keep reading!

When we meet back up with Belle Tanner, she's in the process of burying her third, good-for-nothing husband, Anthony Santoni, underneath the Husband Tree with her first two good-for-nothing husbands, William and Gerald.  The only thing good to come out of those three regrettable marriages were her four girls:  Lindsay, Sarah, Emma, and Elizabeth (Betsy).  Belle loves her girls dearly, and will do anything to keep them safe.  She promises them that there will be no more husbands, as they've all had their fill of lazy men who never lift a finger to help out around the Tanner ranch.  Which in turn has caused Belle's girls to grow up to be as tough as she is, and more than willing to pitch in and help their Ma out with anything and everything that needs to be done around the ranch.

Lindsay is the oldest at fifteen, and has already grown taller than Belle.  She seems more like a friend than a daughter, at times, as she's always ready to step in and help with her younger sisters.  Lindsay is always there working along side her Ma.  Sarah is next at twelve.  She usually stays close to the house during the day, working inside, making sure the meals are prepared on time, though she does pull her weight helping with the branding, or any other job that takes all the women working together to get it done.  Emma is the horsewoman of the family.  Though she's only eight, she's the best rider of them all.  Betsy is still a baby and can usually be found attached to either her Ma's back, or one of her sisters.  She's a great baby, who hardly ever cries, and seems to enjoy being outdoors with her family.  I really enjoyed getting to know the Tanner girls better.  They make the story all the more interesting.

Silas Harden has bad luck when it comes to women, and is on the run from yet another one.  This one tried her best, along with her father's help, to trap him into a shotgun wedding!  He heads out of town with nothing but the clothes on his back and his trusty horse (though I found it a little hard to believe that a grown man would just up and leave his ranch behind without even putting up a fight!).  When he reaches the town of Divide, Montana, he ends up signing on as a drover, to help Belle move her thinned-out cattle to Helena before the winter storms start rolling in.

The majority of the story consists of the Tanner girls, and Silas, driving one-third of the Tanner cattle to Helena.  The journey turns out to be pretty uneventful, though a life-changing event happens right before they pull into town that changes the lives of the Tanners forever.  On the trip home, trying to beat the severe winter storms, the excitement level picks up some.  Mary's trademark humor can be seen throughout this book, which is one of the reasons I enjoy her stories so much.

There is a side-story concerning Wade Sawyer, woven into the mix, setting us up to read his story, The Wildflower Bride, releasing in May 2010.  I'm already looking forward to reading it next!

*I obtained my copy of The Husband Tree via PBS*


WINNER!! ~January Giveaway~

The winner of Jenna's Cowboy is...........