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In Firefly Valley: A Novel (Texas…
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In Firefly Valley: A Novel (Texas Crossroads)

by Amanda Cabot

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"In Firefly Valley" is the second book of the Texas Crossroads series by Amanda Cabot. Between the first two books we get acquainted with a trio of men and two close friends. The men were college buddies who kept in touch with each other for years after their graduation. In book one we met Greg Vange and Kate. In this second book, we meet Drew Carroll and Blake Kendall, Greg's friends who came to Texas from California to attend Greg and Kate's wedding. Lauren and Marisa were childhood friends who had grown up in Dupree, Texas. Marisa moved to Atlanta and became an accountant at a large city firm. She has returned now after being scammed by a man posing as a private detective, who had been her boyfriend until he disappeared with her money. Her mother, Carmen St. George, got her a job working as an office manager at Rainbow's End in Dupree. Drew met Lauren at the wedding. Blake met Marisa at the resort where he was staying. Dupree would be forever changed by these seemingly casual encounters.

The main plot involves Blake and Marisa. The moment they met, they felt an attraction. But Blake had a secret that eventually strained their budding relationship, while Marisa was dealing with past issues of trust and anger. Reacting to each other's past nearly destroyed their relationship before it had a chance to get off the ground. Intersected with this storyline are two subplots: Lauren was being courted by Drew whom Marisa believed to be all wrong for her best friend and 7-year-old daughter; and Marisa's father has suddenly returned to his family after he had deserted them eight years ago. While Eric began the process of proving his recovery from alcoholism to his wife and daughter, Marisa is resistant to reconciling with him. She doesn't believe he has changed. This becomes a stumbling block in her relationship with Blake as well as her family. There are also several threads running throughout the book which makes the reader wonder if a satisfactory resolution is possible. It all works together to keep the reader's interest until the conclusion of the story.

After reading both the first and second books of this series, I realized this author has a talent for creating living, breathing, well-rounded, easily relate-able characters. It didn't take long before I felt connected to the main players. Lauren is a widow whose young husband died of leukemia a year before. Fiona, Lauren's daughter, wants a new daddy. Drew, who'd made it big as Greg Vange's business partner, suddenly finds himself at loose ends. Greg sold his business and Drew is without work. He takes a good look at himself and doesn't like what he sees. When he seeks out God, together they get his life turned around. Then he meets Lauren, falls in love and realizes he has a way to put his new resolves into action. Blake is an author. His books have hit the best seller list repeatedly. At the opening of the book, he has a contract for another book. But for the first time ever, he has writer's block. Seeking a change of location in an attempt to stimulate his creative juices brings him to Rainbow's End. But meeting Marisa, becoming aware of her "daddy" issues, creates a crisis for him in more ways than one.

I could go on, but I hope you see my point. Amanda Cabot's characters make mistakes, refuse to admit when they are wrong, need help from their friends, realize flaws in their beliefs and thinking, seek out God's aid, make attempts at changes, are not perfect, and so on. These are all some of the dynamics that good character-based books use to draw us back to read the story a number of times. This author is a master at writing characters with flaws and heart. This particular "flavor" of weaknesses and strengths, conflict and resolution, is what I like to read. I believe many other readers enjoy this combination of traits too.

Second, besides great characterization, the author introduces a subtle underlying theme that may make the readers pause and ponder. Can people change who they are, fundamentally? The answer is complex--not an easy yes or no. How a person believes about that question depends on their worldview of humanity. Some use the old idiom that "leopards do not change their spots." Others believe change and even transformation is possible. This demonstrates an excellent use of a theme that drives a storyline forward toward some type of conclusion. In this case, it helps bring about a satisfactory ending. It worked so well I read the book twice before writing this review.

Finally, this is a faith filled story, something I thoroughly enjoy reading. There is no preaching here, just people who naturally include God in their daily lives. They pray and talk about Him as if He is a friend that walks with them daily. None of it is hard hitting or forced. God is just there. When people want to include Him, they do. When they don't want to include Him, they don't. The author demonstrates faith that's as natural as breathing. This is a factor that's important to me, so that's what I read. For all these reasons above, I highly recommend this book and the series. A third book is to be released soon. I am looking forward to reading and reviewing it as much as I plan to enjoy other books from this author.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received a complimentary review copy of this book from Revell Reads (a division of Baker Publishing). 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, Part255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.” ( )
  Beverlylynnt | Oct 3, 2015 |
In the second book in Texas Cross Roads you find love blooming all over the place. This is a sweet little Christian Romance novel. The setting is in a small town in Texas. There you find a group of sweet, down to Earth people. Each going through different times in their life. I love how it all unfolds and comes together so nicely.
Marisa moves from the city back home with her mother. She is able to get a job at Rainbow End resort, where her mother is a cook. Blake come to Rainbow end for his friend's wedding, as well as, hoping to fight his writer's block. Blake sees Marisa and the two both feel a spark. As the story goes on you find out more about each character. The secondary characters are just as interesting Amanda Cabot does a good job of making you feel like you are really there with them. You feel like you know each one as you would a friend.
Overall, a sweet and gentle romance novel. I would recommend it to any Christian Romance fan. Also this is the second book in a series. I never read the first and had no troubles following the story.
Thank you Revell for a free copy of In Firefly Valley for my honest review. ( )
  JamieFuentes | Jun 9, 2015 |
We are back at Bluebonnet Lake and the Firefly Valley for another visit through the eyes and mind of Author Amanda Cabot. Like the previous book this one holds your attention to the end, in fact there is a lot of action up the final page.
We actually have two romance stories in this book, one of a young mother of a seven year old. She has lost her husband and high school sweetheart, and her daughter wants siblings and a new daddy. Might be to soon, but a child doesn’t have that concept.
The other is Marisa St. George, she is reluctantly moving back to her hometown, having just lost her dream job. Arriving at the same time is Blake Kendall, looking for anything that will help him relieve his writer’s block. He is a well know successful author, writing under a pseudonym, but it seems his secret is in jeopardy.
There are some tough subjects dealt with here, like alcoholism and bullying and one of the hardest things forgiveness. Not only do you have to forgive others their mistakes when they have asked for forgiveness, but you have to be able to forgive yourself.
We get a picturesque view of this beautiful valley and hills, and enjoy it from different venues, boat, bikes, and car. The story line is amazing, and you will be waiting for something to go wrong, ah you are about to find out! I really hated for this enjoyable book to end!

I received this book through Revell Reads Blogger Tour, and was not required to give a positive review ( )
  alekee | May 22, 2015 |
Title: In Firefly Valley (Texas Crossroads Book #2)
Author: Amanda Cabot
Website: https://www.sff.net/people/amanda.cabot/
Pages: 368
Year: 2105
Publisher: Revell
My rating is 4 stars out of 5.
When I started reading In Firefly Valley, I wasn’t sure whether I liked it or not. At first, it seemed to be uneventful with a lack of adventure or excitement. I pressed through till the end and I am glad I did as the plot began to thicken along with some adventure and suspense. While romantic novels aren’t usually my first choice, every now and again I look into one to discover what is behind the cover.
Amanda Cabot’s series allows readers to peek inside the heart and lives of the fictional characters and town in the Texas Crossroads series. When I started book two, I hadn’t read the first book in the series, which at times would handicap a reader’s appreciation for the story. However, this book was an exception. Amanda includes enough information about the prior events in the characters’ lives to help readers move along to the current setting.
Much of what the story brings is how forgiveness and moving forward takes time. Another theme is focusing on how to help others and the fact that it takes more than one to accomplish the follow through of taking a dream and making it a reality. I think too it shows clearly that money isn’t the answer to what our hearts desire, but really what we do want is a close walk with the Lord. I also liked the one character who remained faithful to her husband even when he left her years prior as we as her continual prayer for him.
The novel is one that is good for a couple afternoons or evenings to serve as a relaxing escape. It points to the Lord consistently as the One we really need above anyone. I think the challenge some may face is looking at their relationships or marriage and comparing it with this or any work of fiction. If any reader sees a character quality or a reflection in the book or what they desire to be their reality, pray and leave it with the Lord.
Like the book reflects in a fictional way, we all have a part or job to carry that God has for us. It is what brings Him glory and us ultimate fulfillment. Thanks to Amanda Cabot readers can put their feet up and enjoy a Christian work of fiction.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received one or more of the products or services mentioned above for free in the hope that I would mention it on my blog. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. 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.”
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 20, 2015 |
As I started this book, I hoped that it would continue the story started in At Bluebonnet Lane and I was not disappointed. While you don't have to have read the first book to love the second one, they are both enjoyable. I liked how the author focused on two of the characters and how their relationship progressed, but also had a second story going about the romance of two more characters. I liked that I won't have to wait to see how things are starting.
The author tackles issues that couples can have when trying to get to know each other and how being honest can help them to work out those issues.
I received this book free from the publisher to review. ( )
  polarmath | May 17, 2015 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0800734351, Paperback)

Marisa St. George is devastated when she is a victim of downsizing and has no choice but to return to the small Texas town where she grew up. Though it's a giant step backward, she accepts a position as business manager at the struggling Rainbow's End resort. The only silver lining is Blake Kendall, a new guest who is making her believe in love at first sight. But will her dreams of happily-ever-after be turned upside down when she discovers who he really is?

Romance readers will love this warm and witty story of mistaken identity and second chances from bestselling author Amanda Cabot.

(retrieved from Amazon Fri, 03 Jul 2015 03:23:34 -0400)

Marisa St. George accepts a position as business manager at the struggling Rainbow's End resort. The only silver lining is Blake Kendall, a new guest who is making her believe in love at first sight. But will her dreams of happily-ever-after be turned upside down when she discovers who he really is?… (more)

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