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Plots and Pans by Kelly Eileen Hake
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Plots and Pans

by Kelly Eileen Hake

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Showing 5 of 5
5 * stars out of 5

I loved this book! A story of parental love, misunderstandings, with siblings - brothers, no less -mixed into the equation. With a touch of humor to offset the angst that comes to young women as they grapple with life questions, I found this to be an amazing novel. I related best to Jessie, and felt her insecurities as clearly as if they were my own. So many times I tend to forget that those characters I read about in the fiction novels are just fiction, and the emotions and thoughts are realistic to life, but the people did not in fact go through those trials in precisely that way. What fun it is to pretend with them though, and to be carried into another country and lifestyle, away from your own troubles. Kelly Eileen does this very well in this book. Seeing the scenery, hearing the cattle and all that brings everything to life, including heartfelt humor the reader is immersed in it.
I received this book free from Fred at The Book Club Network and Shiloh Run (Barbour) Publishers in exchange for an honest review. A positive critique was not required. The opinions are my own ( )
  mbarkman | Aug 7, 2014 |
Jessalyn was bold and independent enough to take risks, such as the risk of breaking her neck climbing down stealthily out of dorm room windows to rendezvous with her horse Morning Glory in early mornings or afternoons. She was bold and rebellious enough to eschew four different boarding schools in seven years, and brash and daring enough to board a ship crossing the ocean to American from an English port--alone. She was bold and foolish enough to take a train and eventually a stagecoach, alone, to Texas and the Bar None ranch, her home. To top it off, she was bold and skilled enough on her horse, dressed in split skirts that looked like chaps, a Stetson and common duster and a scarf over her face to approach the ranch and pass for an itinerant hand, given a job, a bunk and a meal by the ranch boss, Tucker Carmichael.

Tucker Carmichael was not only the foreman for Carson Culpepper's Bar None ranch, he was part owner. Before his death, Carson charged his son Ed, and Tucker with Jess's care. Tucker took that job to heart, perhaps a bit too much, especially after he had seen her. What happens when spunk and impulsive meets responsible, stubborn and controlling?

I loved the author's attention to detail, especially in her description of the round-up, the preparations the women had to make for the drive, and the meals cooked for these events. I could easily picture all of it in my mind from her detailed accounts. It gave this book a unique point of view, from the cook's perspective.

Another thing I appreciated about this story is the relationship between Aunt Desta and Jess that developed in the short span of time this book covers. The author skillfully conveys the warmth of understanding between the more mature woman and young Jess, who needs Desta for spiritual guidance as well as her friendship and the sense of family she was deprived of for so many years. It was Desta who ferreted out that under her bold and brash exterior Jess was insecure and in need of stability and a sense of belonging. And it was Desta who realized that Jess's attitude toward God reflected her feelings of anger and abandonment from her father because he sent her away to school. Through the hardships of the cattle drive, Desta played an important role in helping Jess resolve these issues.

Thirdly, I enjoyed see the evolving relationship between Jess and Tucker. Both needed to dig deeply inside themselves to find compromises they could live with. Their journey toward a romance was filled with potholes, but endearing nevertheless. I enjoyed how the author used humor to help iron out some of those wrinkles. Overall, this was a fun book to read and I can heartily recommend it.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received a complimentary review copy of this book from NetGalley on behalf of Barbour Publishing, Inc. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.” ( )
  Beverlylynnt | Aug 1, 2014 |
Title: Plots and Pans
Author: Kelly Eileen Hake
Pages: 313
Year: 2014
Publisher: Shiloh Run Press
Jessalyn Culpepper is finished with finishing school! Her father sent her to England to become a lady seven years ago and she’s been at five different schools over that time period, being dismissed from each one for her behavior. When she discovers her father is dead, she cashes in her tuition money for a ticket back to Texas. She has outgrown school and needs to prove she belongs home on the Bar None. Her father sent her away and now she feels like she has to earn a place to belong on the ranch and in her family. She meets an aunt she had no knowledge of before upon her return home. She definitely benefits from having an older female influence. However, Jess can do without all the talk of God that her aunt, her brother and Tucker bring into almost every conversation. Jess and God aren’t on speaking terms as He never answered her prayers to come home or to save her mother from dying.
Tucker Carmichael is the ranch foreman. After Simon Culpepper dies, Tucker is now part owner of the Bar None Ranch. He knows Jess will be coming home sometime soon, but hopes it is later rather than sooner. She was a handful when she left and Tucker doubts she has changed much since she has been gone. He is in charge and likes to run a clean, efficient operation. Jess is impulsive and makes rash decisions, a style which doesn’t mesh with Tucker’s way of doing things. Once Jess arrives, they are at loggerheads a lot. He admires her spunk and her know-how around the ranch, but he promised her dad he would keep her safe. The decisions she makes keep Tucker hopping to ensure her safety. Maybe he should sell his part of the ranch and take a job as foreman somewhere else.
I’ve read all of Kelly’s other books, so when this one came out I knew I was going to read it. As with her other books, there are humorous scenes and dialogue sprinkled throughout the story, but this story for me was just average. The round up where some action actually occurs isn’t until late in the book and everything up to that point is very ho-hum and drags a bit. I just couldn’t connect with the characters. Hopefully, her next book will be back up to par with her prior ones. This book isn’t terrible by any means, but it just isn’t as good as her others.
My rating is 3 stars.
Amazon Link: http://www.amazon.com/Plots-Pans-Kelly-Eileen-Hake/dp/1620299585/ref=sr_1_1?s=bo...
Note: I received a complimentary copy for an honest review of this book. The opinions shared in this review are solely my responsibility. Other reviews can be read at http://seekingwithallyurheart.blogspot.com/. Also follow me on Twitter @lcjohnson1988, FaceBook at https://www.facebook.com/lisa.johnson.75457 ( )
  lcjohnson1988 | May 9, 2014 |
What Might Have Been...

Plots and Pans is a book I really looked forward to reading. Set on the Bar None Ranch in Texas during the 1870's, the book is rich in the history of the old Chisholm Trail.

The main characters are Jessalyn (Jess) Culpepper and Tucker Carmichael. Jess is the daughter of the ranch owner. She is sent to Europe and has lived in numerous boarding schools since her mother's death. Her father simply did not know what to do with her.

Tucker is the ranch foreman, but is very close to the Culpepper family. When the Bar None Ranch patriarch dies, Tucker inherits a portion of the ranch, along with Jess and her brother, Ed.

Sparks fly between Jess and Tucker. Tucker is very controlling and expects others to follow his orders. Jess is headstrong and independent. No man will tell her what to do. Regardless of their differences, they are attracted to one another. It was interesting to watch the plot unfold and to find out if Tucker and Jess would finally realize that they had grown to care deeply for each other. Plots and Pans was a good story.

All that being said, I am giving 3 stars to what might have been a 5-Star review. While I liked the story very much, I did not like the author's writing style. As I read the first few chapters, I noticed that the dialogue was repeated as each chapter transitioned into the next.

I found myself stopping to think "Didn't I just read that?" and then wondering "Why?," so I turned back to find out if I had missed something which would explain the repeating text. At first I thought the book was poorly edited, but as I continued through to the end of the novel, I realized it was the author's intent to transition the chapters in this way.

I did not enjoy the book as much because of this. It caused me to lose my focus far too often. To me, that made the book feel "choppy" and disconnected. I've never before seen this issue in a book. It really bothered me.

In conclusion, the storyline would be worth 5 stars had the author written it in an easier to read, more free flowing style. Maybe other readers can overlook the unusual dialogue transitions and enjoy the novel. I could not.

I received this book from the publisher, through The Book Club Network (bookfun.org) in exchange for my honest review. ( )
  PamelaJo | May 8, 2014 |
4 STARS

I like the cover it fits with Jessalyn personality. I like the characters, the plot, not to preachy just how prayer helps in lots of ways. Like the secondary characters too. Clean read.

I was expecting more of the story to be on the cattle drive part of the story. Wanted a little more to their courtship besides fighting. Maybe more long walks and discussions ect.

Love how Jessalyn accepted her Aunt and welcomed her into the family. She just wanted to be loved and accepted. Did not matter the color of her skin.

Jessalyn has been away from home for seven years. She has been sent over to England to become a lady. She just wants to be free and be back home in Texas. She did not like her answers to prayers so stopped praying. She is feisty, brave and sometimes jumps into things before she realizes the dangers.

Tucker is the ranch foreman. He does not want to see Jess hurt and takes his responsibility too heart to protect her. He is a hard worker. Is afraid of Jess getting hurt and causing lots of trouble.

It touches a little on troubles of slavery and acceptance of blacks after the civil war. A little about what woman were expected to be and do for their safety. About ranch life and being on a cattle drives and the problems.

The setting for most of the book is Bar None Ranch 1872- 79.

Full of laughter, drama and action

I would read more from Kelly Eileen Hake in the future.

I was given this ebook to read and in exchange asked to give honest review of it by Netgalley and Barbour books.

publication: April 1st 2014 by Shiloh Run Press Barbour Publishing, Inc. 320 pages ISBN 9781620299586 ( )
  rhonda1111 | Apr 1, 2014 |
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Order dictates Tucker Carmichael's life-- his orders. On a cattle drive, a moment's hesitation can mean death. The Chisholm Trail is dirty, dangerous, and no place for women. After years at school, Jessalyn Culpepper has come home and is determined to show everyone that a woman can manage everything from cooking to cattle--whether they like it or not! Tucker tries to manage his partner's headstrong sister, horrified when she wants to join the cattle drive. But when they need a chuck wagon cook, Jessalyn seems the only solution. Will God stir up love along a trail filled with their Plots and Pans?… (more)

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