Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Blog tour: At Wolf Ranch and When It's Right by Jennifer Ryan

At Wolf Ranch & When It’s Right
Montana Men Series 
Releasing Feb 24th and March 31st, 2015
By: Jennifer Ryan 

At Wolf Ranch: Montana Men # 1

After years on the rodeo circuit, Gabe Bowden wants nothing more than land of his own and a woman who will claim his heart for more than one night. When he has the chance to buy the enormous Wolf Ranch spread, he snaps up the incredible deal. Everything is set, until Gabe rescues a woman on the deserted, snowy road leading to the property, and the half-frozen beauty changes everything.

Ella Wolf rushes to her family’s abandoned Montana ranch after her twin sister is murdered. She knows she’s next…unless she can uncover a secret hidden somewhere at Wolf Ranch. The last thing Ella expects is to be rescued by a rugged rancher with his own agenda. A man who almost makes her forget how dangerous love can be…

As an unlikely partnership sparks into something so much more, and a killer closes in, can Ella and Gabe learn to trust one another before it’s too late?

At Wolf Ranch

Three long days without a word. No call. Not even a text. Ella stared at her phone, willing it to ring. She tapped her finger on the screen and stifled the urge to call Lela for the hundredth time that morning.
The coffee shop buzzed with activity. People headed off to work with their lattes and scones. She sipped at her caramel macchiato, reading over the newest projections for the cosmetics line debuting in March on her laptop. The numbers looked promising.
Ella jumped when her phone vibrated on the table. She snatched it up and read the caller ID.
“Finally.” She swiped the screen to accept the call. “Lela—”
“Where have you been?” Uncle Phillip’s demand surprised her.
Why did Uncle Phillip have Lela's phone?
Ella opened her mouth to answer her uncle's question, but he spoke first.
“I oversee the estate. You answer to me.”
“Twisting the truth again, Uncle. Ella and I sign off on everything,” Lela said, her tone unusually sharp. “You’re just a watchdog, there to ensure we adhere to the terms of the will. You have no real power, but you’ll do anything to steal it away, won’t you?”
What? Ella had never heard her sister talk to their uncle in such a disrespectful and spiteful way, or anyone for that matter. Why did her sister call and not say anything to her? Maybe she'd pocket dialed?
“Lela, it's me. What is going on?” Ella got no response. Uncle Phillip continued to speak over her.
“You have no idea what you’re talking about, my dear.” Uncle Phillip’s soft voice belied the steel in his words. “Don’t make me ask again. Be a good girl and tell me where you’ve been?”
This time, her sister answered, but didn’t explain a damn thing. “Uncovering your dirty secret. I know what you did,” her sister accused.
Butterflies in Ella's stomach fluttered like a flock of birds taking flight. The uneasy feeling she’d carried with her these last days intensified.
Ella gathered up her laptop and notebook, stuffing them into her oversized tote. She dumped the dregs of her coffee in the trash on her way out the door. The apartment was only a block up from her favorite café she had breakfast at every Tuesday when the house staff had the day off. She kept the phone to her ear and headed home to find out what the hell was going on.
 “You won’t get away with this,” Lela’s voice raised in pitch. It took a lot to rile her sister. Whatever Uncle Phillip had done touched a nerve.
“Whatever you think you know doesn’t amount to anything without proof.” Her uncle used that chilling, yet utterly calm voice.
Ella picked up her pace, sensing the escalation of the situation into something more than just an argument about company business. She pulled her bag close to her side under her arm and ran for her building, knocking elbows and shoulders with other pedestrians. No time to apologize, she ignored their outraged remarks.
“Oh, I have the proof.”
Proof of what?
“You’re lying.” Uncle Phillip let out a nervous laugh.
“You wish.”
Ella past her building's doorman and ran for the elevator, pushing the button three times, frantic for the doors to open.
“Where is it? Show me.”
Come on. Come on. The elevator doors finally opened and she rushed inside and pressed the button for the penthouse. Ella prayed she didn't lose the cell signal and drop the call. She only ever got one bar in the elevators.
“You think I’d be fool enough to bring it here. To you? I’ll see you in jail before this day is over.”
“I’ll see you in a grave first.”
The ice in her uncle’s tone frosted Ella’s heart. The evil laced there erased all trace of the man she knew. He meant those ominous words. 
Lela gasped and let out a startled shriek. Ella didn't want to believe her uncle actually struck Lela, but that’s what it sounded like.

At Wolf Ranch

I love cowboys. Then again, who doesn't? There's something about that Stetson hat that makes half the women (myself included) turn all dreamy-eyed, wishing to be swept off our feet and ride into the sunset toward a happy ending.
Having read and loved Jennifer Ryan's "Dylan's Redemption" I was looking forward to reading more from her, even though these two books belong to a different series.
I have to admit that I'm torn about this book and the rating because some parts were great, while some others made me wonder if it was the same author who wrote Dylan's Redemption. I will start with the parts I liked.
The first part of the book is intriguing and the first pages hooked me. The building tension in the first chapter grips the reader's attention and won't let go. As Ella reaches Montana and more angst enters the story, I thought I wouldn't be able to make it through the next chapter. Yes, the tension was that strong.
Plus, I love small town settings and Wolf Ranch is in the middle of nowhere, which makes it an even more perfect setting for two people to be snowed in together. 
When Gabe enters the story, I immediately liked him and his brother, and I was looking forward to read how his and Ella's paths would cross. I didn't have to wait long, and when he rescued her from the road, I liked him even more. I love a good Prince Charming! :)
I'm not always a fan of insta-love, but I liked the chemistry that sparked between them almost at first sight. I liked how Ella, in spite of her condition, still tried to make it on her own without Gabe's help, and how he didn't let the stubborn woman out of his sight. I like a protective hero who takes care of women and treats them right; the fact that he's a cowboy is definitely a bonus.
I liked the way Gabe decided to help her solve the crime and prove her innocence, and how he went out of his way for her. He was adorable through most of the book.
What I didn't particularly like about him was his constant mantra "she's out of my league, we can't be together but I love her." At first it made sense that he would think it, but after a while it became too much too often. He sounded a little too whiny for the rough and tough cowboy I'd thought he was, and it became a little repetitive.
Another thing that didn't work too well for me was that it was a little too easy for Ella to solve the crime and get back to her uncle for what he'd done. After the way the tension built from the beginning, I'd expected things to be a little harder for her, but maybe it's just me.
Lastly, I felt that, even though this will sound a little prudish, there were too many and too descriptive sex scenes that after a while became a little annoying. At some point I felt the story dragged a little and these scenes only made it slower for me, instead of more enticing. This is just my personal preference, though, as I don't particularly like graphic scenes, so if you don't have a problem with that, you'll enjoy them all. 
Anyway, despite my personal opinion on some things, I enjoyed this book, and if you like stories with hot cowboys, a bit of suspense and steam, you should definitely pick up a copy. 


When It’s Right: Montana Men #2

Gillian‘s turbulent life has never been easy, but nothing prepared her for the moment of violence that sends her and her little brother running from San Francisco to her grandfather’s ranch in Montana. A man she’s never met. She learned long ago not to trust anyone, but she’ll do anything to keep her brother safe and give him the happy childhood she never had. When she meets Blake Bowden, a strong, silent, gorgeous cowboy who teaches her about the ranch and rescued horses-animals who have been through hell and back, just as she has-Gillian begins to feel at ease for the first time in memory. In fact, she even starts to feel happy. But in her world happiness has always been fleeting, and she’s not sure she can believe in it or the man who has quickly found his way into her heart.

Blake has everything he’s ever wanted: a partnership on a ranch that allows him to spend his day in the saddle training racehorses. His life is good, steady, uncomplicated…until the most beautiful, haunted looking woman arrives at Three Peaks Ranch. If he wants to keep his ideal life, his partner’s granddaughter is entirely off limits, but Gillian awakens a protective instinct in Blake that he can’t ignore…and ignites a passion he shouldn’t feel. But as Gillian heals and finds her way back into the world, Blake knows that he’s found the one thing that he never knew he was missing. And when danger comes close, he will do anything he must to keep Gillian safe…even if it means risking his life’s dream.

When It's Right

“Help me!”
Home late from her shift washing dishes at the Jade Palace, Gillian pounded up the two flights of stairs as fast as her legs allowed. She hit the landing and turned right, racing down the hallway past her apartment’s open door to Mrs. Wicks's unit at the end of the hall. She’d heard the screams from outside. Not the first time she’d answered that call, but so help her God, if her father touched one hair on Justin’s head, she’d kill him.
“I’m calling the police,” the babysitter, Mrs. Wicks, threatened loud enough for her voice to carry down the hall.
“Damnit, woman, he’s my blood,” her father bellowed.
Gillian rushed into the apartment, spotted Justin holding his arm, tears shimmering in his eyes, but otherwise appearing unharmed. She looked her father up and down assessing the situation in a glance and the odds on talking him down from whatever ludicrous idea had taken root in his shadowed mind. Dressed in the same clothes he’d left in four days ago, his hair an oily mass hanging lank to his shoulders, he reeked of whiskey, cigarette and pot smoke, and acrid body odor. The wild look in his bloodshot eyes told her he hadn’t slept in a good long while. Riding a meth high, he’d probably binged for days. Soon, he’d lose all sense of reality and need more of the drug that wouldn’t give him the high he needed, since he’d overloaded his system. He’d crash, his body shutting down and putting him into a deep sleep for a day, or two, or three before he woke up miserable, needing more of what put him in this psychotic state in the first place.
Frustrated and angry, but resigned to this same worn-out routine, she shored up her resolve to get through this night, like she’d done too many times in the past, trapped raising a child with little money and even fewer choices. None of them good.
Her father paced, his movements jerky. He scratched at his arm, his legs, the back of his neck with his grime filled nails. He slapped at his thigh, then bit at the tips of his fingers. A hint to how far he’d fallen down the rabbit hole. Not good.
“Dad, come on. Let’s go home. I’ll make you something to eat,” she coaxed, keeping her voice calm.
A powder keg of roiling rage, you never knew what would set him off.
Justin cowered in the corner of the couch, his eyes wide and watchful. He didn’t move, afraid of drawing her father’s attention. Even at six, he knew the rules of this twisted game.
Mrs. Wicks moved into the kitchen, leaving Gillian to handle getting her father out of there and back to their place. She’d done it before. Usually, he’d come looking for her. She’d been held up at work, and he’d found little Justin alone. She never left Justin with him if she could help it, especially over the last year when her father spent more time strung-out and paranoid on meth than comfortably numb with booze and pot, like he’d been every day of her life.
The last two weeks had been hell. Her patience had worn thin days ago. If she could hold on, get him out of Mrs. Wicks’s apartment and into theirs, she could take Justin and crash somewhere else for a few days until her father came down and leveled off.
Then, joy, they could start this whole thing over again.
I wish Justin and I were anywhere else.
Inside, the pressure built. How good it would feel to open her mouth and unleash a string of curses, insults, and blame for what her father put her and Justin through day in and day out. She hated him for spending his life drowning in a bottle and doing drugs, his life going up in smoke. Her life went up with it. Justin’s too. She wanted it to end. One way or another, just end.
Her father swatted at some imaginary bird, or butterfly, or dragon for all she knew. Only he saw the tormenting hallucinations. If he was this far gone, he was even more volatile and dangerous than usual.
“Dad, come on. I’ll make you a burger and get you a beer.”
“We have to go.” His words came out rushed. He swatted at the air again, this time spinning around to the right before he stopped and turned the other way again, tracking his imaginary flying devils, waving his arms over his head to swat them away.
She shook her head, frustrated and tired of dealing with him. This. Everything. She wanted to run away, but where would she go? It was all she could do now to keep a roof over Justin’s head and food in his belly with the diminishing help her father supplied. Out on the streets, or in a shelter, they’d be vulnerable to even more horrors. What kind of life would that be for Justin? Better than this one? Maybe. Maybe not. Still, she needed to find a way to give Justin better than she’d had growing up with a volatile drunk, who could barely keep a bartending job and supplemented his income selling drugs to support his own habits.
“We have to go. We have to go. We have to go,” her father chanted, getting agitated, hitting the side of his head with one hand and scratching at the imaginary bugs crawling under his skin on his leg with the other.
Fed up, she stepped toward him to grab his arm and lead him back to their place. He jumped out of her reach and laughed. The sound held no humor, but a touch of hysteria in the odd shriek. Her father pointed at her, shaking his head side to side. “No. No. No. No. No.” Again, his ominous giggle sent a chill up her spine.


When It's Right

Having read Ella and Gabe's story, I was a little warier when I started this book, as I didn't know if I would end up feeling the same way about book two.
I have to admit that, even though there were too many too long sex scenes which I could've done without and would've still liked the story, I enjoyed Gillian and Blake's story a little more. There was something about Blake that immediately pulled me in and warmed my heart. As for Gillian, I connected with her straight away, and I loved, loved, loved Justin. He's the cutest kid and I think he's the one who made me love this story so much. It could've been a great romance with only Blake and Gillian, but with little Justin in it, it turned into the perfect story.
What I loved about Blake was the way he immediately warmed up to Justin, how he always spent time with him and treated him as if he’d known him forever. It was super sweet to see a big cowboy playing with a six-year-old, turning into a kid himself at times.
The side characters, Gillian’s Grandpa and Grandma were adorable. I really liked the way they welcomed her and Justin back into their family and went out of their way to make them feel at home and loved. The whole book, or 99% of it anyway, is set at Three Peaks Ranch, Gillian’s grandfather’s ranch as well as where Blake works as a partner, and I thought it was perfect. I enjoyed the family moments, and how it all revolved about home and the need for Gillian and Justin to find their place in their world.
Just like in the previous book, there is a bit of tension (the first chapter is… whoa!) which is used to create a few obstacles on the road to the hero and heroine’s happy ending, but all in all, it’s very easy for Blake and Gillian to fall for each other and be happy together. I enjoyed watching them fall hard and fast for each other, the way Blake became immediately protective of her and Justin, and how Gillian managed to feel at ease with him, even though she was very wary and scared of everyone else. Little by little she learned to trust him and her grandfather, and to open her heart to new possibilities and to love. 
This is not only a romance novel – it’s also a story about finding a way to survive the curveballs and toughest moments in life, about trusting and loving again, about believing that sometimes even the most tragic events can lead to something good, to where we’re meant to be (or whom we’re meant to be with). I really liked seeing Gillian and Justin finally finding their place and feeling at home and loved. 
There is a lot of sex (and very descriptive, too) which, as you may guess, didn’t work too well for me. One scene would have been enough, as I didn’t feel the need to read all the details over and over again. The chemistry was there, and it was easy to feel the need and the attraction they had for each other. All the long, descriptive scenes seemed a little like a repetition. But, again, this is just my personal preference and should in no way influence your judgment - especially if you don’t mind a little steam in your books.
This is book 2 but it works very well as a standalone. So even if you haven’t read At Wolf Ranch, you can enjoy this book without any problems. Ella and Gabe (from At Wolf Ranch) are back, but only as secondary characters, so you don’t really need to know their story to understand what their role is.
If you like cowboys and country romance, this would be a good pick for your next read.


Jennifer Ryan is the New York Times & USA Today bestselling author of The Hunted Series and The McBrides Series. She writes romantic suspense and contemporary small-town romances featuring strong men and equally resilient women. Her stories are filled with love, family, friendship, and the happily-ever-after we all hope to find.
Jennifer lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with her husband and three children. When she isn’t writing a book, she’s reading one. Her obsession with both is often revealed in the state of her home and in how late dinner is to the table. When she finally leaves those fictional worlds, you’ll find her in the garden, playing in the dirt and daydreaming about people who live only in her head, until she puts them on paper.


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1 commenti:

  1. Thank you so much for hosting the MONTANA MEN!!