Pairie Moon by Maggie Osborne
Living on a rundown farm at the edge of a small Texas town, Della Ward is haunted by the bittersweet life she once lived with an adoring husband who died too soon. Once a laughing, carefree soul, Della is now a widow with only guilty memories for company. Until the day she sees a rugged stranger riding across the prairie toward her house. His presence awakens Della’s heart, but she can never imagine the ways this man will forever change her life.
Lawman James Cameron believes in settling debts and living by honor. It may have taken him ten years to arrive at Della’s door, but he’s finally here and is determined to tell her the truth about the day her husband died. But one look at the woman whose picture he has carried with him for years and he knows that the truth may destroy them both. For Cameron will have to face the past and force Della to do the same before either of them can have a future . . . or each other.
Prarie Moon is a poignant story of two lost people finding each other. It’s also a slow-paced story that follows Della and James on their way to Atlanta where Della wants to look for her daughter whom she had to leave behind when she came west several years before.
I loved the first two thirds of the novel. I loved how Della slowly fell for James, how they had time to get to know each other, and how their attraction grew stronger and stronger. And as an added bonus, James had been halfway in love with Della for years just based on a photograph he had of her. So when he realizes that Della is actually attracted to him, too, he nearly can’t believe it. Only of course, there is a big obstacle on the way to their HEA, one that seems unsurmountable. Knowing you could have what you longed for for many years and knowing if you tell the truth, it won’t happen…lots of angst.
But I only liked the last few chapters. I don’t know, I just had the impression that the story fizzled out and the way Della’s quest for her daughter ended left me feeling “huh?” I thought it more a deux-ex-machina device than really part of the story. I guess I needed more explanation there to really buy it. (4/5)
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Dime Store Magic by Kelley Armstrong
Paige Winterbourne was always either too young or too rebellious to succeed her mother as leader of one of the world’s most powerful elite organizations–the American Coven of Witches. Now that she is twenty-three and her mother is dead, the Elders can no longer deny her. But even Paige’s wildest antics can’t hold a candle to those of her new charge–an orphan who is all too willing to use her budding powers for evil…and evil is all too willing to claim her. For this girl is being pursued by a dark faction of the supernatural underworld. They are a vicious group who will do anything to woo the young, malleable, and extremely powerful neophyte, including commit murder–and frame Paige for the crime. It’s an initiation into adulthood, womanhood, and the brutal side of magic that Paige will have to do everything within her power to make sure they both survive.
I’m rather sure this is my favorite novel in the Women of the Otherworld series so far. I liked the bigger world in this novel and thought the characters interesting. Paige’s life is losing track fast and most of the time, all she can do is react but there is one thing she’s determined to keep at all costs: Savannah. I thought her brave that she didn’t just roll over and gave Savannah up. Savannah seemed like a fairly typical teenager although at times she seemed to have more of a clue than Paige. And Lucas…I really liked him. A nice difference from most male characters in romance novels. And I love that Armstrong’s characters sound different from each other.
Two problems: the way the Coven is represented in this story…I just can’t see it as “the world’s most powerful elite organizations” and I don’t understand why it’s so important to Paige to be its leader expect maybe because she inherited the position from her mother. Second, the romance between Paige and Lucas – talk about undeveloped. There’s nothing and then one evening, they jump into the laundry and that’s it. I was surprised because based on what went before I actually thought there would be no romance in this story, maybe in a later novel. And it actually was not a realy problem because I don’t read this series looking for a romance but now that it was there, I was bothered by the the lack of build-up (there’s one small hint that Lucas might be interested). (4/5)
PS: I’m already halfway through Armstrong’s Industrial Magic.