Friday, December 20, 2019

SERIES REVIEW - Montana Strong by R.C. Ryan


Meet the wonderful Monroe family in this western romance trilogy by R.C. Ryan.



Title:   Cowboy on My Mind
Publisher:  Forever
Format:  Kindle
No. of Pages:   496
Date of Publication:   June 26, 2018
My Rating:   4 Stars

DESCRIPTION:

A heartwarming western romance about a cowboy who gets a second chance with the first love he couldn't forget in the rugged beauty of the Montana mountains. . .

Don't miss this special 2-in-1 edition that includes a bonus western romance novella by Sara Richardson!

Once a bad boy...

Ben Monroe was the ultimate bad boy-and everyone in Haller Creek knew it. But now as a sheriff's deputy, Ben spends his time breaking up bar fights rather than starting them, and staying away from trouble...until Becca Henderson comes back into town. She's just as beautiful as Ben remembers-and just as far out of his reach.

Coming home is exactly what Becca Henderson needed. A place of her own, a successful new business, and a chance to reconnect with the sexy cowboy she had a crush on in school. Ben has always blazed his own path and never let anyone stand in his way. It excites-and scares-her. But when an unexpected threat surfaces, Becca will see just how far Ben will go to protect the woman he loves-and fight for their chance at forever.


MY THOUGHTS:

Cowboy on My Mind is the first book in the Montana Strong series by R.C. Ryan. This book (as well as books two and three of the series) is a story of family, love, trust, growth and future happiness. 

Labeled a bad boy after landing in the foster care system is a name Ben Monroe had for years. As a child, he had very little choice but to become as tough as he could get. After all, he not only had to look out for himself, but he also had to look out for his younger brothers Sam and Finn.

The boys had made a pact to run away and they eventually took refuge in the home of Mackenzie Monroe. Instead of turning them over to the authorities, Mac took them in and soon adopted them.

As an adult, Ben still wore the label as bad boy. Nonetheless, out of necessity (and trust), the sheriff in the town of Haller Creek made him a deputy. So no more fighting and rebelliousness for Ben. Instead he became a man of the law and carved a nice path for his future.

Ben's previous reputation stands in the way of him wanting to reacquaint himself with Becca Henderson, the woman from his past who once snagged his heart. Meanwhile, newly back in town, Becca wants a fresh start. Discovering the old feelings she had for Ben are just as intense as ever gives Becca hope. With their past, her father's reluctance to accept Ben, and a current threat all create roadblocks while the pair try and find the joy that comes from being together. It doesn't take Ben and Becca long to realize that they have something worth fighting for. 

This book wonderful first start to a great series. I eagerly read the next two books in the series.


Title:   The Cowboy Next Door
Publisher:  Forever
Format:  Kindle ARC
No. of Pages:   464
Date of Publication:   February 26, 2019
My Rating:   3.5 Stars

DESCRIPTION:

From New York Times bestselling author who "delivers it all with page-turning romance" (Nora Roberts) comes a story about a down-on-her-luck teacher, a carefree cowboy, and finding second chances in the most unlikely places.

After weeks on the trail, Sam Monroe is looking forward to a hot bath, a home-cooked meal, and a real bed. In that order. But he's greeted by something even better when he opens the door to his family's ranch house. Seems the new housekeeper is a gorgeous young woman who cooks like an angel and wrangles his family like a pro. If only she didn't dislike him so much...

Penny Cash is down on her luck, and the last thing she needs is a flirtation with a wild, carefree cowboy. Sure, he's funny and sexy, but they're as different as whiskey and tea. And she'll be leaving town as soon as she finds a full-time teaching position. But when trouble comes calling, Penny will find out how serious Sam can be when it comes to protecting the woman he loves...

Also includes the bonus novella Saved by the Cowboy by A.J. Pine!

Olivia Belle has always believed in fairy tales...until the moment her boyfriend dropped to one knee. When Olivia speeds into Cash Hawkins' town like a modern-day Cinderella in a ball gown and glass slippers, Cash's careful existence is thrown for a loop. Olivia could be his happily ever after... if this runaway bridesmaid doesn't run off with his heart.


MY THOUGHTS:

When Sam Monroe gets back after weeks on the trail, the all-male household he lives in has a decidedly female presence. For years, the family has had live-in help, besides the fact that the family works well together, but now there is someone new. Living there. Sam must try and figure out this new person in his family's life, and that is Penny Cash, the new housekeeper, and an absolutely fantastic cook. 

Sam is drawn to Penny immediately. However, she does not feel the same way about him. Penny is far too serious right now. She had an opportunity that slipped through her fingers, but now working for the Monroes should give her enough time and money to figure out the next step in her life. Flirting with Sam is definitely very low on her list. 

Sam is a very good rancher, but an even better pool hustler and rancher. This turns Penny off, and that is in large part due to her own past. Coming home to Penny's scrumptious meals is a huge bonus for Sam. Now, if she could like him just a little...

This yummy western romance has a bigger spin when it comes to mystery. This took a large part of the story, thus my lowered rating. Nonetheless, The Cowboy Next Door is a great addition to the Montana Strong series, and I am happy to have been able to see Sam find love. As a matter of fact, considering the past the three Monroe brothers experienced make each book in this series a delightful read.

Many thanks to Forever for this ARC to review. This is my honest opinion.


Title:   Born to Be a Cowboy
Publisher:  Forever
Format:  Kindle ARC
No. of Pages:   464
Date of Publication:   November 26, 2019
My Rating:   4 Stars

DESCRIPTION:

This New York Times bestselling author delivers a “page-turning romance” (Nora Roberts) about a woman in jeopardy who finds protection–and love–in the arms of a small-town cowboy.

After running wild in his youth, Finn Monroe is now on the other side of the law as the local attorney. Between his practice and working at his family’s ranch, his days aren’t as exciting as they used to be–until Jessica Blair steps into his office. Gorgeous and determined, Jessie has a hunch her aunt is in trouble, and Finn is her last hope. As someone who relies on facts rather than feelings, Finn is skeptical. But it can’t hurt to do a little digging.

Jessie knows her aunt, and there is no way she would disappear on an “extended honeymoon” after hastily marrying a smooth-talking cowboy. Something is wrong, and Jessie is going to find out what. As soon as she and Finn start poking around, it becomes clear someone is willing to go to great lengths to keep them from the truth. But as the danger grows, so does their attraction. With both their lives on the line, Finn will discover just how far he’ll go to keep Jessie safe.

Includes Cowboy to the Rescue, a bonus novella by A.J. Pine!


MY THOUGHTS:

In my favorite of the Montana Strong trilogy, Finn Monroe gets his happily ever after.

Finn's story was more sensitive to me because, although a fantastic attorney, as well as doing more than his fair share at his family's ranch, there is a piece of him that remains broken. As a child, Finn and his brothers Ben and Sam led difficult lives and had experienced abuse. Mac Monroe not only took the boys in, but gave them his name, his love and his legacy.

His most recent case is with new client Jessica Blair. Her appeal is that her aunt is in trouble and that no one believes her or will assist her. Finn is a bit skeptical himself, but is willing to at least look into things. It doesn't take very long until something happens to Jessica and it soon proves that danger is close on Jessica's heels.

Meanwhile sparks begin to fly between Finn and Jessica. At first Finn is very reluctant to act on his feelings. If not for his own reluctance to believe that he could actually find the bliss his brothers have, his professionalism is very important to him.

This final story in the trilogy has the same level of suspense that the first two books have, and I enjoyed finding out what happened to Jessica's aunt. I also loved reading the "Aha" moment when Finn and Jessica "knew". To me, when reading a romance that is key.

I think any reader picking up this book should grab the first two books in the series, Cowboy on My Mind and The Cowboy Next Door and read them all in order. I recommend all three of these books and have found them to be a great reading experience and a nice escape on a cold winter day.

Many thanks to Forever and to NetGalley for this ARC to review. This is my honest opinion.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

New York Times bestselling author Ruth Ryan Langan (also writing as R.C. Ryan) has written over a hundred novels, both contemporary and historical. For a complete list, see 

Ruth has appeared on Good Morning America, and CNN, as well as dozens of radio and TV shows across the country, and has been quoted in such diverse publications as The Wall Street Journal, Cosmopolitan, and the Detroit Free Press.

Ruth is a charter member of Romance Writers of America, as well as a member of the Detroit Working Writers.


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