Review: Return to Homecoming Ranch by Julia London

return to homecoming ranchReviewed by Shelly

So lately, I’ve been on a kick and reading a lot of new to me authors – Julia London fell right into that. This story is Book 2 in her Pine River series and I didn’t read the first one so I’m not sure how this measures up. Once I started reading, it seems that this series is going to be about the 3 daughters of Grant Tyler. Unfortunately, not all the sisters are well known to each other, nor are all the sisters interested in being a sister, creating a nice juxtapose for sibling personality. In Book 2, happy go-lucky Libby Tyler gets her heart broken by her live-in boyfriend. After kicking her out of his home, Ryan Spangler does what not a lot of men will do – take out a restraining order again his ex-girlfriend Libby. Sheriff Deputy Sam Winters is the unlucky guy who gets to rein Libby back in when she knowingly breaks the law.

Twenty-six year old Libby has been looking for her own family for a long time and Ryan Spangler gave her the perfect opportunity when he invited her into his and his children’s lives. It turns out that Ryan wasn’t that nice or giving of a guy and was interested in Libby for his own personal and selfish reasons. On the other hand, Libby was really only interesting in Ryan for her own personal reasons and it had little to do with love for Ryan. It had more to do with her love for Ryan’s children and her need to be needed. Libby’s character continuously unfolded in this story. Her need to be needed didn’t manifest only in her relationships with Ryan or his children. It showed in her constant and unwavering need to volunteer for everything under the sun.

Libby was a stalker. When Ryan told her he no longer wanted her in his home, in his life, in his kids’ lives, Libby decided that she wasn’t hearing that and continued to go to his home, park and watch his house. She even went to his kids games. I understood his reason for putting a restraining order on Libby. Unfortunately, Libby’s actions didn’t change after he did that. Instead of listening to Ryan when he said no, she decided that she wasn’t finished. Had the roles been reversed and Libby was a man and Ryan was a woman – I doubt this would be a romance. Now that I’ve said all that about the stalker issue, I’ll move on.

Once I accepted Libby’s piss-poor decision making skills (there’s a plethora) and her one-sided relationship with Ryan and his kids, and focused on her and Sam, I became a much happier reader because that was a good story. Kudos to London for keeping me interested and not having two typical personalities in this romance. Both of these characters had their demons. Thirty-two year old Sam was an up and coming member of the Sheriff’s department until the monkey on his back took him down and took him down hard – he almost lost everything. Were it not for a kind and understanding boss, he would have sunken off the edge of the world with no-one the wiser. I really liked Sam, much more than I did Libby actually. It’s rare to read a story where the hero is willing to stick to what makes him happy. I actually agreed with Sam and his choices with Libby. I don’t think that he did anything that was either unwarranted or spiteful.

The character development for both Libby and Sam were fun for this reader. I enjoyed Libby’s ‘aha’ moment and her full acceptance of her actions. The relationships with her sisters, especially Emma, were also enjoyable. Emma is a not a nice person from what I’ve read so far. She better have something big to explain why she acts the way she does and let me be clear – there’s no amount of cuteness or sexy that would justify the way that she’s intentionally not nice. The other sister, Madeline’s story was told in Book 1 and I have to go back and find that one because this one was good enough to make me curious for London’s other works. Madeline seems to be the thinker in the family and I’m curious about her and Luke Kendrick’s story. Speaking of the Kendricks – narrator Leo is something else. It was his voice that captured my attention in chapter 1.

Happy Reading folks!

Rating: B

*ARC provided by publisher via NetGalley

Click to purchase: Amazon

Return to Homecoming Ranch
by Julia London
Release Date: July 22, 2014
Publisher: Montlake Romance

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