Sunday, September 16, 2012

Review: Big Sky Country & Big Sky Mountain by Linda Lael Miller

Linda Lael Miller is a wonderful romance writer.  Every time I read one of her book, I have the deep urge to go live on a ranch, if only I could convince my family to go along with my fantasy!  This year, she has released the first two books of her "Swoon-Worthy Cowboys" series.  Big Sky Mountain and Big Sky Country. Ms. Miller has created a wonderful town full of interesting characters with loose tongues and long memories. 

Big Sky Country (Harlequin May, 2012) is Slade and Josyln's story.  Sheriff Slade Barlow is the unacknowledged illegitimate son of a wealthy rancher in town.  Now that his father has died, Slade finds out that he has been left half of his father's inheritance.  The other half belongs to his half brother Hutch.  The two men don't get along.  While navigating this new relationship with his brother, Slade finds out that Joslyn Kirk is back in town.  Joslyn's step father swindled a lot of the town's people of out millions in a ponzi scheme and Joslyn is back to try to make things right.

While the story was enjoyable, I felt the romance was really secondary to the story. The first half of the book is set up and character building.  At times it dragged a little.  Then when it did pick up, it was over and Slade and Josyln had found their HEA.  While they had known each other for years, I still had a hard time figuring out when they fell in love.  Toward the end of the book, two whole months are skipped over.  I felt a bit cheated.  I would have liked to see more of the romance between Slade and Joslyn.  They barely spend time together that the reader sees.

For the first in the series, it didn't wow me.However, it is worth recommending for the character interactions alone.  I loved the relationship between Slade and his step daughter Shea.  That alone just melted my heart.  I also loved Opal.  She seems like such a warm personality and the kind of woman who would always be ready with a big bear hug if you needed one.   Slade's brother Hutch seems like such a troubled soul and I looked forward to reading his story next in Big Sky Mountain.

Big Sky Mountain (Harlequin, July 2012) is Hutch and Kendra's story. I liked this one more than the first one.  I felt more of a connection with Hutch and Kendra and their relationship.  They have a history and previous relationship, so that may be why I believed their love story more.  I'm not sure either of them ever really fell out of of love with the other.  I was really rooting for their HEA.

Kendra has been out of town for a while and has returned the adoptive mother of a 4 year old daughter.  I admired Kendra for how she fought for Madison and made gave her a home.  I don't think a lot of people would have done what she did.  Madison was a very sweet little girl and I loved how she melted Hutch's heart.

All of the characters that you grew to love in Big Sky Country return in this one.  Opal is as wonderful as ever.  Hutch and Slade's relationship is growing stronger.  The next book in the series, Big Sky River, comes out next year.  I look forward to visiting the town of Parable again!

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