I’ve been going through a bit of a reading funk lately. Work is busy, free time is rare, so nothing has really caught my attention for the last couple of weeks. When a recent road trip came up, though, I knew I needed something good. So I went to this one on my TBR list. Because Chris Bohjalian hasn’t disappointed me yet.
The story starts off with a bang with Cassie, aka the flight attendant, waking up in a strange hotel room in Dubai. But wait…there’s more. *See what I did there?* There’s also a very dead man next to her. She knows who he is, sure. And she even knows how she ended up in his room. Beyond that? It’s all lost in an alcohol-induced blackout. So she does what any logical person would do. She cleans up any evidence of her presence and flees back to her hotel just in time to board her next flight and get out of Dodge.
Of course the story can’t end there. Once back in the states, Cassie finds herself in deeper than she could ever have imagined. And her erratic behavior combined with a dependency on drinking make matters so much worse. She’s in trouble on all fronts. Everything is at stake-her career, her freedom, even her life.
This was definitely one of those books I just couldn’t put down. From the very beginning until the last page, I was completely hooked. It has everything. Family drama, Russian spies, suspense, a few nice little twists…
Trust me when I say this one needs to be on your summer reading list!
Just a few days ago I was talking with some bookish friends about genres I love, genres I don’t love so much. And as it always does, romance found its way to the top of my “least favorite genre” list. And then here I find myself giving a five star review to, you guessed it, a romance. Not a psychological thriller with some romance thrown in. Not historical fiction with an underlying romantic tone. Nope, just a romance. Go figure.
Juliet and Declan are both suffering the recent loss of a parent although in very different ways. Still, this common thread is what brings them together. The only way Juliet has been able to cope with her mom’s death is by spending hours at the cemetery, writing letters that her mother will never be able to read.
But somebody does read them. Declan finds himself at the mercy of the court after a big screw up. Community service, mowing lawns at the cemetery it is. When he comes across Juliet’s letters curiosity gets the best of him. And then he writes back. And she answers. Thus begins an unconventional relationship. Their letters fill a hole in each one of them, though. They find comfort in words. But when real life begins to interfere, is it better or worse to keep their true identities hidden from each other?
Romance aside, this is a good story. It pulled on my heartstrings, imagining the pain that each one of these young people must be going through. A few little twists thrown in towards the end keep it interesting up until the last page. A great, safe read for young adults as well!
Sigh. I wanted to love this book. I liked some of it, like the romance, the realistic struggles of Libby and Sam, and the changes happening at the ranch.
But Libby’s relationship with her mom and sisters needed more development. I would have preferred more of that subplot than about Libby’s ex-boyfriend and her stalker-ish behavior. Reading about Libby’s obsession and Ryan’s pathological lies was just depressing. I wanted to skip the downhearted ramblings. I know depression is real, as is alcoholism and PTSD… I just didn’t expect them all to be subplots in a romance novel!
If you loved Pine River #1, and you’re okay with real life struggles making up a big part of a romance novel, you really will enjoy Return to Homecoming Ranch. As for me, I like my happily ever afters preceded by predictable solutions to the small problems in life. 🙂