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Tuesday, March 11, 2014

COUNTRY ROADS BY NANCY HERKNESS- REVIEW+ SPOTLIGHT+GIVEAWAY!






Country Roads


by Nancy Herkness

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BLURB:

When sheltered artist Julia Castillo flees her hometown, she has one goal: to prove to her overbearing family she can make it on her own. She knows they only want the best for her, but when they question her artistic vision, it’s time to break free. Julia’s search for independence carries her to the small town of Sanctuary, West Virginia. There, her courage is tested as never before—by her love for a handsome country lawyer, her bond with a dangerous black stallion, and a secret she is desperate to keep…

Paul Taggart abandoned his high-powered legal career to return to Sanctuary, giving up his own dreams to care for his troubled brother. Then Julia Castillo blows into town like a fresh mountain breeze, changing his staid, predictable life forever. Has Paul earned his second chance at happiness? Or does loving Julia mean having the strength to let her go?
Excerpt Two:

Sharon, the owner of Healing Springs Stables, kept up a running commentary as she led them through one barn, out to the paddocks, and back into another barn. The stable hands all greeted Paul by name.

"No wonder you got elected mayor. You know everyone!" Julia said.

"I kissed a lot of babies too." He gave her hair a teasing little tug that sent shivers of pleasure waltzing down her spine.

She was so caught up in the deliciousness of the sensation that she paid no attention to the black horse with its head thrust over the stall door. A blur of motion made her turn her head, just as the horse bared its teeth and lunged for her arm. Paul’s hand went from her hair to her shoulder in a split second as he clamped her hard against his side and yanked her out of range of the snapping jaws.

"Now who the hell forgot to shut Darkside’s cage?" Sharon exclaimed, dodging the vicious teeth as she shoved the horse’s head back inside the stall and swung a barred half door closed over the opening. "I’m sorry he nearly tore a strip off your hide. He is the orneriest SOB I have ever met."

Julia stared at the horse through the bars. This was the dark, menacing creature she had been painting over and over again. Excitement shivered through her. "He’s my Night Mare," she whispered, Sharon kept up a running commentary as she led them through one barn, out to the paddocks, and back into another barn. The stable hands all greeted Paul by name.

"No wonder you got elected mayor. You know everyone!" Julia said.

"I kissed a lot of babies too." He gave her hair a teasing little tug that sent shivers of pleasure waltzing down her spine.

She was so caught up in the deliciousness of the sensation that she paid no attention to the black horse with its head thrust over the stall door. A blur of motion made her turn her head, just as the horse bared its teeth and lunged for her arm. Paul’s hand went from her hair to her shoulder in a split second as he clamped her hard against his side and yanked her out of range of the snapping jaws.

"Now who the hell forgot to shut Darkside’s cage?" Sharon exclaimed, dodging the vicious teeth as she shoved the horse’s head back inside the stall and swung a barred half door closed over the opening. "I’m sorry he nearly tore a strip off your hide. He is the orneriest SOB I have ever met."

Julia stared at the horse through the bars. This was the dark, menacing creature she had been painting over and over again. Excitement shivered through her as she tried to make out the black shape in the shadows of his stall. "He’s my Night Mare," she whispered.

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Excerpt:

Waiting for her, he felt ease soak deep into his body. With Julia, he didn’t have to be the responsible brother or the respectable mayor or the do-good lawyer. It was a welcome respite, if a brief one. He couldn’t expect someone like Julia Castillo to hang around Sanctuary for long.

She walked back in, already flipping the pages of her pad. Turning the book around, she held it in front of her body as she came across the bed on her knees.

He reached out to take it from her, but she drew back. "Nope. You have to look from the right distance."

"But you’re covering up my favorite sculpture."

She blushed adorably. It always surprised him that he could embarrass her. She was so fiercely sure of herself in some ways, and so vulnerable in others. He focused on the drawing, and felt both awe and laughter expanding in his chest.

He was nude all right, shedding water as he strode out of the shallow water. He didn’t know how she managed to give his skin the sheen of wetness with just some shading of her pencil. She had idealized his body, making him look like a male model, but the face was definitely his. He wasn’t sure he liked the tilt of his head; it held a touch of arrogance. True to her word, she had given him a nice big fish to cover his private parts.

"Is it a bass or a trout?" he asked.

She smacked his shoulder lightly. "Careful, or the drawing will go to the auction."

A moment’s recklessness tempted him to tell her to go ahead. Then he thought of the ripples of shock and disapproval that would run through the crowd at the gala. It just wasn’t worth it.

 
 
 

Country Roads (Whisper Horse, #2)Country Roads by Nancy Herkness
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Country Roads by Nancy Herkness is a 2013 Montlake Publication. I was provided a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
Julia Castillo is headed for Santuary, West Virginia to show her paintings to the owner of the art gallery that purchased her first works. Traveling in a rusted out old automobile, Julia has a flat tire. Luckily a gentleman stops to help her who turns out to be an attorney and the mayor of Santurary.
Paul, had bigger dreams for himself than living in Santuary. Family obligations have kept him here and it looks like he's in for the long haul. He can't believe it when he stops to help the beautiful lady with a flat tire and she turns out to be Julia Castillo, the famous artist. Why on earth would she be coming to Sanctuary?
Well, the truth is Julia is seeking to escape her uncle and hopefully find a market for her new paintings. For years, Julia has been under the watchful eye of her uncle who has kept her from experiencing any kind of stress. It is his opinion that the new direction Julia's paintings have taken will open her up to some harsh critisism and that could effect her health.
Now that she has some space away from everyone that is knowledgable about her health condition, Julia experiences love with Paul, swimming in a river, riding a motorcycle, and a high spirited horse she has fallen in love with.
Naturally, there are problems. One is that Paul has put her so high up on a pedestal he refuses to ask her to stay in his small hometown and live a rather ordinary life. Julia's uncle is still trying to maintain control over her professional life and her personal life, and Paul's brother has serious issues and Paul feels obligated to keep an eye on him and his nephew, Eric. These family problems are one of the reasons Paul has found himself chained to Sanctuary and has had to put some personal goals on the back burner for the foreseeable future.
This contemporary romance takes the reader on a journey with Julia Castillo as she emerges from behind the protective confines her life has been up to this point. This is a new world for Julia and she is relishing the freedom of making her own decisions and dealing with the fallout as a stable, healthy, mature adult. Her fervent wish is for Paul to think of her as a strong, normal woman and not the fragile, naive woman her uncle would have everyone think she is. The irony of this is Paul does see her that way and has no reason not to. This works against Julia when push comes to shove and a decision has to be made about the future of the relationship.
The author brings up some interesting topics that requires a bit of thinking on the part of the reader. If you have a family member or friend that is dealing with an illness or disease and stress reduction could make a difference, it might be natural to smother them with concern and protectiveness. But, did Uncle Carlo really help Julia by being so controlling and yes, in my opinion, manipulative? Sooner or later a person in that type of situation will long to be free from it. Other issues concern family obligations and how far we really should go when as an adult we have a sibling that has major problems. Paul has his own dreams and hopes, but because of his brother he had to put those ideas on hold. Is Paul really that obligated to his brother and nephew? Also, Paul makes choices on Julia's behalf by making a decision regarding the future of their relationship without thinking about what Julia might want or what might make her happy. Sure, he has her best interest at heart, but so did Uncle Carlo in many ways. So, poor Julia has to step up and prove herself and not only that she has to let Paul see the vulernable side of herself she tried so hard to keep from him.
I was really absorbed in this drama and all the family dynamics involved. The romance between Paul and Julia is hot and heavy, but also burdened with the issues they are having to face. I loved how everything came together in the end as everyone faces the errors they have made in life and works to put those mistakes behind them and proceed toward a fruitful and successful future.
This novel is steamy and that is fine since the physical relationship for Julia especially is a sexual awakening for her, but there were maybe a few too many sex scenes and for me personally, I start to skip over them after awhile so I can get back to the story. That would be my only complaint and that's just a personal thing and not any real critisism of the author or story.
This one gets an A.

AUTHOR Bio and Links:

Born and raised in the mountains of West Virginia, Nancy Herkness’s passion for writing romance began the day her grandmother gave her a Georgette Heyer novel. After graduating from Princeton University with honors in English literature and creative writing, she had successful careers in retail, computer programming, and marketing before finally returning to her first love: writing. The author of Take Me Home and three other contemporary romances, Herkness was named one of 2003’s Best Up and Coming Authors in the Affaire de Coeur’s readers’ poll. She is also a winner of the Golden Leaf Award, the Aspen Gold Award, and the Gayle Wilson Award of Excellence. She currently resides in New Jersey with her husband and two mismatched dogs.

Links:

Website: www.NancyHerkness.com

Blogs: http://fromthegarret.wordpress.com/ and http://sistertowns.wordpress.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/nancyherkness

Twitter: @NancyHerkness

Buy links: Kindle: http://amzn.to/17FKFFx



Amamzon Print: http://amzn.to/15GulD9


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16 comments:

  1. It's a lovely cover and really makes me think about a happy carefree spring afternoon. I haven't read the book so I don't know how much that works with the whole of it but from what I understood of the plot it could actually well express Julia's desire for freedom.

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    1. Elisa, I think both of your comments about the cover are right on target. It evokes a lovely, warm feeling AND it speaks to throwing off your constraints and living fully. Perfect!

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  2. It gives me the feeling of spring and new beginnings.

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    1. Winnie, exactly! I think it's such a beautiful cover too. Thanks for commenting!

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  3. Really loved the review and blurb and excerpt. Sounds fascinating and fun.

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    1. MomJane, I hope you'll pick it up and see if you like the book! Thanks for visiting with me here.

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  4. Thank you so much for hosting me on your blog and for the fabulous review of COUNTRY ROADS! I love that you found the issues in the book thought-provoking. I really appreciate the time and effort you took to write about my book!

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  5. I'll be checking in here all day, so if anyone has any questions they'd like to ask, please feel free to do so. I love chatting with readers!

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  6. If you'd like to chance to win another prize, sign up for my New Book Alert newsletter on the Home page of my website. Everyone on my mailing list is automatically entered in a drawing for a special prize every time I send out a newsletter. The next one will be in June! www.NancyHerkness.com .

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  7. I love Nancy's Whisper Horse novels! I had a whisper horse when I was growing up, though I sure didn't call my mare that back then. She knew all about my crushes and drama. :0)

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    1. Barbara, I didn't know you had a whisper horse too! That is so cool. I didn't call my pony Papoose a whisper horse either, but I certainly used him as one. He knew more about my life than my parents did!

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  8. What a lovely review~ you've definitely encouraged me to read Country Roads. Nancy, I hope your blog tour was a rousing success and that you have fgained a great many new fans. Thanks for sharing ladies

    ilookfamous(at)yahoo(dot)com

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    1. Elise-Maria, I hope you enjoy the book! Please let me know what you think when you finish it! I am having great fun on my blog tour and appreciate everyone who comes to visit with me like you!

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  9. What a great review. Sounds like a wonderful book.

    Kit3247(at)aol(dot)com

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    1. Thanks, Rita! I think it's a terrific review too; very in-depth and with great sensitivity. Let me know if you decide to read COUNTRY ROADS! I'd love to know what you think of it.

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