• A Continuing Montana Love Story
  • Montana Cowboys
  • Franklin Jarvis' hands
  • Hereford
  • Cowhorse
  • cowboys on round-up

Novel Reviews

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Formal Editorial Review from C. C. Bye, a professional reviewer who reviewed the work for absolutely no compensation.

5.0 out of 5 stars

“An intriguing and heart-felt story about family, values and love.”

Title: To Have and To Hold
Subtitle: A Continuing Montana Love Story
Publisher: D. L. Keur, 14/11/2015
Author: C. J. “Country” James
Kindle Edition
Genre: Contemporary Western/Romance

From the Back of the Book …

IN THIS BOOK I wanted to show the similarities and differences between Jake and Franklin in their way of thinking and doing things. Old Man Jarvis, Franklin’s dad, knows how similar they are. Franklin doesn’t. Doesn’t see it. Jake doesn’t, either. He thinks he can’t ever measure up, not even to handling the ranch and the businesses, never mind holding the whole family together.

Jake’s young. Hasn’t got it quite figured out. Franklin’s an old hand…but, sometimes, he can’t figure it out, either. Despite their similarities, their personal choices and life experiences see their pathways diverge, Franklin’s hopeful and forward-looking, Jake’s murky and embittered.

I also wanted to show Dree and Catherine—Dree’s rebellion, finally, against years of abusive patriarchal domination as well as her suffering the confounding familial issues which her young, fragile psyche found too much to bear, this compared to and contrasted against Catherine’s plight because she rebelled against a matriarchal society and, in consequence, lost everything—her family, her people, her self-respect, her hopes for fulfillment and happiness, and, almost, her life.

The story is one of parallels, of Franklin’s and Jake’s, of Catherine’s and Dree’s—parallels travelling opposite directions, one towards joy and fulfillment, one towards misery.

This is a love story, a continuing Montana love story, about a family who gives a damn and tries very hard to do the right thing. It’s a story about sacrifice, about hurting and healing. It’s a story of change, of caring, and about surviving challenges that can beset us—our responses to them. Mostly, it’s a story about promises—those to be made, those to be kept, and those that are or have to be broken.

The Review …

After having read and reviewed the first book in this ongoing series, I thought I knew what to expect from author C. J. “Country” James. Not! As the author explains in the above passage, Dree’s character goes through a sudden metamorphosis that sends the entire Jarvis clan into a tailspin of epic proportions. No one escapes unscathed, least of all Dree. And yet, amidst the chaos and pain, another romance blooms and reaches for the sun.

But don’t forget: this is a Montana love story. The book is also filled with details of country life, especially life on a working ranch. Details that I suspect come from experience rather than research. They have that kind of authenticity—from how to flush a boss steer from mountainous brush, to teaching someone how to ride, to fixing loose barbed wire on a fence.

I also enjoyed the brevity of the scenes. It keeps the story fresh and moves it along like a galloping horse. Or, perhaps, like an action movie with the frames flashing upon our minds, creating an ever impending sense of closure: to the love affair between Franklin and Catherine, to the life-altering rift between Jake and Dree and to the deep promises each have made—promises that you know will be tested in the next book in this intriguing and heart-felt story about family, values and love.


Through Better & Worse, A Montana Love Story, Book 1 of the Country James NovelsI got a great first review of Through Better & Worse.  Here’s an excerpt.  You can find the whole review here: The Contrary Canadian

This is a big R Romance, so you have an idea of how it turns out. What will surprise the hell out of you is how.

 

Not many books are perfect, but this one’s darned close. Readers who are sticklers for details will be pleased.

 

This is not your bare-chested, sexy cowboy romance (though Jake ain’t bad). Those are mere cotton candy representations of real ranch life and real ranch people. Author C.J. “Country” James knows the people she writes about far better than most.

 

…The pseudonymous James write[s] truly and honestly about the modern west…you can’t go wrong reading or listening to her books.

 

Hint: Also look for E.J. Ruek’s books “Old Hickory Lane” and “To Inherit a Murderer.” A few more books are in the works.

 

–Marva Dasef , published 8-8-2015 by The Contrary Canadian

https://thecontrarycanadian.wordpress.com/2015/08/08/the-contrary-canadian-49/


Full Review

Originally published on The Contrary Canadian, (https://thecontrarycanadian.wordpress.com/2015/08/08/the-contrary-canadian-49/) here’s the full review by Marva Dasef.

Through Better & Worse, a Montana Love Story novel coverSeries: A Country James Novel
Book #1
Title: Through Better & Worse
Subtitle: A Montana Love Story
Author: D.L. Keur writing as C.J “Country” James
Kindle Select Exclusive Release eBook ASIN: B013AUZTCK
Print: ISBN-13: 978-0692491751
Print: ISBN-10: 0692491759
420 pages
Genre: Contemporary Western Romance (Semi-Sweet)

LINKS:
US  http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B013AUZTCK
UK http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B013AUZTCK
CA http://www.amazon.ca/gp/product/B013AUZTCK
AU http://www.amazon.com.au/gp/product/B013AUZTCK

The first encounter between Dree Blake and Jake Jarvis couldn’t have been worse. Jake has a teenage mind inside a man’s body. Driving his fancy pickup too fast, he wants to get around the old clunker pulling a horse trailer. But there isn’t room to pass. Narrowly missing Dree’s horse trailer by a hair, he yells insults at the girl driving the rig.

Dree certainly didn’t want a confrontation with the rude cowboy. Jake sure as hell didn’t want to see her anywhere anytime soon. Both go about their business.

But the Fates are fond of creating coincidental meetings. Dree is heading to the Jarvis ranch to help teach the hands a new, more humane method of castrating bull calves. After a demo, Dree and the two men from the Montana Department of Agriculture are asked to stay around for the upcoming roundup of the calves. Just as she’s putting her mule, Cougar, into the stable, who should come driving in all la-di-da except the man who nearly drove her off the road.

Jake figures Dree is at the ranch to rat on him. He waits nervously for the blow up from his grandfather, Franklin. But nothing happens. Relieved, Jake is grateful the blocky little lady has kept her peace about the encounter.

Dree recognizes Jake all right, and figures out he’s the heir to the Jarvis Ranch. It wouldn’t be in her best interests to cause a ruckus. Besides, Dree does not like confrontation…at all. An incident from her childhood, violent beyond measure, gives her horrible anxiety attacks. The result is Dree is too quiet and too easily dismissed.

With this inauspicious beginning, Jake and Dree are forced to learn more about each other. They each find the other isn’t quite as horrible as they first thought.

As the story progresses, a lot happens, but that’d all be spoiler material. However, this is a big R Romance, so you have an idea of how it turns out. What will surprise the hell out of you is how.

Not many books are perfect, but this one’s darned close. The details of cattle ranching and division of property I know to be accurate, however it might be a bit more information than the reader would like. Get on with the kissing! Nevertheless, I very much appreciate a book that doesn’t slide by the setting and circumstances with no more than a howdy along the way. Readers who are sticklers for details will be pleased.

This is not your bare-chested, sexy cowboy romance (though Jake ain’t bad). Those are mere cotton candy representations of real ranch life and real ranch people. Author, C.J. “Country” James, knows the people she writes about far better than most. She’s taken a pen name for the Country series, of which this book is the first.

Not only does the pseudonymous James write truly and honestly about the modern west, but is also an artist and has recorded her own audio versions of the book. With a woman that talented, you can’t go wrong reading or listening to her books.

Hint: Also look for E.J. Ruek’s books “Old Hickory Lane” and “To Inherit a Murderer.” A few more books are in the works.

Find the author at: http://www.ejruek.com/  and http://www.countryjames.com/

About the Reviewer: Marva Dasef has authored a number of young adult fantasies, along with a couple of books in western settings. She was given an Advance Review Copy by the author in return for an unbiased review.


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