Monday, July 4, 2022

Carolyne Aarsen

Book List Incomplete
Aspen Valley Cowboys
Book 1: Western Hearts

Kip Cosgrove has had a lot on his shoulders. After his dad’s death, he quit high school to take over the ranch to provide for his mom and sister. Then his brother moved in with his twin boys. Now, his brother is dead, and the boys are his responsibility.

Nicole Williams is headed to Aspen Valley to retrieve the nephews she never knew she had. They had found out recently that her adopted sister was dead, but she has twin boys. What seemed like a straightforward mission turns into so much more.

An excellent story on how we can only depend on God’s love, a love given and not earned. Compared to feeling as if you have to earn someone’s love, as was Nicole’s case. The beginning of another series that has me looking forward to the next book.

Book 2:  Western Wishes

Tanner Fortier carries a load of guilt and sadness. He went from a happy life on the Circle C Ranch and being engaged to his childhood friend. Then his dad died, and everything changed, including losing the love of his life.

Keira Bannister was glad to return to Refuge Ranch, her home. Her life hadn’t been easy, but now she was back around family and friends. But then Tanner showed up wanting them to repair a saddle.

Tanner and Keira had both thought that they had moved on from six years ago, but being in close contact showed them both that they were wrong. They only had to get through a few days before Tanner left again. But you can’t fight nature, literally, as in a snowstorm. I loved this story and this series.

Book 3:  Western Romance

John Argall worked for Monty Bannister, his dad before him. He’d grown up on this ranch. Grew up with the Bannister and Fortier kids. Fell in love with Heather Bannister. She left, he married, and now he’s a widower with a toddler. And now, Heather is back for a short while, and then she’ll be gone again. His old feelings are back, too, though.

Heather Bannister was adopted into this family as a ten-year-old. Yet many of the fears and low self-esteem from those earlier years still haunt her. Run her life. The fear that she may be just like her biological mother. On her way to an interview, she’s stopping at Refuge Ranch for a few days. Only circumstances have her stranded there longer.

Heather finds it hard to keep her secrets to herself at the ranch. She’s also finding freedom she hadn’t had in years. The fashion and modeling world couldn’t compare to flying across the fields on her horse. Will the past rule her life and her decisions forever? Loved it. May need tissues around if you cry easily.

Book 4: Western Kisses
Lee Bannister has been gone from Aspen Valley for too long. First, in prison, then working offshore rigs to pay his dad back. Finally, with his sister Keira’s wedding and Refuge Ranch’s hundred and fiftieth anniversary, he’s heading back. Facing the shame of his past.

Abby Newton was so tired of the bitterness and anger she kept against Lee Bannister. He single-handedly ruined her family. Her life. And yet, as she sees clearly how bitter her mom is, she doesn’t want to keep carrying that around.

After a chance meeting, Lee gets past his first meeting with Abby. Neither of them expected that she’d be interviewing for the anniversary of the ranch, but it fell on her. She learns to see a different side of Lee and struggles with the past and present. A page-turner and inspirational read.
Book 5: Western Vows

Drake Prins has returned to Aspen Valley. After spending over a decade of his life in the army, he’s not sure of his future. However, he does have one promise to fulfill before he moves on…he promised his dying friend to visit his parents and watch over his wife and the child she’d soon have. And Drake was a man of his word.

Beth Carruthers was making her plans. At almost eight months pregnant, she figured she could get moved and ready for the baby. But she couldn’t stay here with Jim’s parents. Life had other plans for her.

Drake feels the guilt of living when his friend is dead. Leaving a pregnant wife behind. He feels even guiltier when he starts to fall for the beautiful widow. A beautiful story.

Book 6: Western Blessings

Aspen Valley Homecoming Series
Book 1: The Way Back Home
Book 2: The Way Back to Faith
Book 3: The Way Back to Hope

Shelby Prins had lost a lot in her life. First, she sent away the only man she ever really loved. Then, her parents died in a car accident. Finally, she gave up her apartment, moved back home to raise her younger siblings, and kept the family welding business going…alone. Losing more because no man wanted to take on a woman with so many responsibilities.

Klint Nelson is back in Aspen Valley. Moving away for college and then marrying and living in the city. After his wife’s death, the town was calling him back. He didn’t expect to see Shelby so soon, but he was an accountant…and she was a client. He didn’t expect to feel the same as he did all those years ago before she sent him packing.

Love all these stories. And if you cry easily, you may want to keep tissues nearby. Wonderful characters, the twins Roxie and RayAnn, are very humorous. The emotions of the characters jumped out to grab my heart.

Book 4: The Way Back to Love

Burke Prins has returned home to Aspen Valley. Because of money troubles, he had to go on the road, trucking to be able to make money to send home to his family. Now he was going to help Shelby with the family business and their three younger siblings. Their parents had died three years ago and left them all with debt and burdens.

Karissa McMann had debt and burdens as well. She had everything growing up. Including the snobby better-than-you attitude to go with it. No, she just carries the shame of her past. But she constantly reminds herself what Aunt Deb taught her, that she is worthy as a child of God.

Burke had been in love with Karissa and never forgot her. Or the broken heart she left him with. And yet, one look at her, and all those feelings came rushing back. Could this time be different? Or was he destined for the rest of his heart to be shattered? Great story and series.

Love in Millars Crossing Series
Book 1: A Family's Christmas

Sarah Westerveld’s life was never fantastic, but it took a turn for the worst when her sister died. It was no secret that her dad’s favorite daughter died. So Sarah left Millars Crossing and never returned...until now.

 Logan Carleton has been struggling with anger and bitterness for some time. There had never been any love lost between the Carletons and the Westervelds, but that hadn’t stopped him from falling for Sarah all those years ago. And then she broke up and left. And they both moved on... Now, he was just trying to keep his business going and help his little brother to escape Millars Crossing...since he was never able to do so himself.

 Sarah has returned after her father asked her to. When she left, she had left her faith behind. Now, as Sarah and Logan face the past, it seems God is opening His Word to them and revealing to both of them what they need in their lives. Mostly, to forgive others. Wonderful story.

Book  2: A Family's Blessing
Book 3: A Family's Hope

Luke Harris flipped houses but didn't have a home himself. He wanted a place to call home and a family. Something he never had as a child. Never knowing his father and his mother never cared about him. Being in foster care with a caring man was his only taste of what he had missed. And now, he could almost see his dream here in Millars Crossing.

 Janie Corbett was a control freak. She had to be. A single mom, deep in debt thanks to her deceased ex-husband, and a business to run to help support the four of them. No time for her handsome temporary neighbor and his overly peppy puppy.

 A wonderful story of forgiveness and second chances.

Book 4: A Family's Promise

Cam Morgan had left Millars Crossing a few months after his father died. Never to return. But now, his stepmother, Kelly, had asked him to come home. And his band had just finished a tour. So, a few weeks here and then to Mexico for some time away before the next tour. He couldn’t imagine what the woman who always hated him could want.

Dodie Westerveld Morgan had a business to run, and yet, Kelly, her late husband’s mother, expected her to drop everything and take care of her once she was released from the hospital. On top of that, Cam was back. The man she had loved…and who had broken her heart and left. She had ended up marrying Greg…Cam’s stepbrother.

So many hidden secrets or unsaid truths can mess with people’s lives. Cam not telling Dodie why he left. Kelly clinging to her dead son’s memory. Wonderful story!

Millars Crossing Series
Book 1: Country Romance
Wyatt Sutton has been through a lot of sorrow. Loss of family members. Loss of his marriage. Raising his twin daughters on his own. Soon, one of his three siblings would be returning to the ranch again. He was looking forward to that. What he didn't expect was the beautiful woman who came to his ranch with a little boy in tow.

Adele Marten was so torn. Her best friend had died, and now, she had to bring Sally's son to his father. A father who never met him...never knew about him. And then Adele would move into her future where she had control of her life. But leaving Dean behind was so much harder than she ever thought.

Two precocious twin girls and an adorable, well-mannered little boy add so much to this story as well as a hero and heroine that are so easy to like. A beautiful story that flowed from page to page. Looking forward to the stories of the rest of the siblings.
Book 2: Country Courtship
Reuben Sutton has returned home to Millar's Crossing. He left after his wife's death over a year ago. His brother Wyatt needs his help on the ranch,'s time. What he doesn't expect is to be roped into creating a memorial garden for his late wife. And especially not working with Katrina.

Katrina had left town years ago. She loved Milton, her stepfather, but her stepsister was just too much. And with Denise marrying Reuben...she couldn't stay. Once she heard Denise had passed away and that a greenhouse was for sale, she returned to let her dreams come true.

A misunderstood past and secrets stood between Reuben and Katrina. Yet, a spark of what they once had was also there. Unless they can get everything out in the open, though, there isn't a future. Another page-turning story that included needing a few tissues for this reader. It's good to know they do end with happily-ever-after.
Book 3: Country Proposal

Finn Sutton is back home after four years of traveling. Pushing the limits until an accident has him rethinking his life. Ranching with his brothers and with his sister returning home...that's where he belongs.

 Etta Caprice is renting a house far from home. She needs to focus on her painting and her future. Leaving her past and its mistakes behind her. Yet, the guilt she has is still dragging her down with its weight.

 I enjoyed both Finn and Etta's sense of humor. It seems they are perfect for each other but Finn has finally come home and plans on staying...and Etta's life is far away and she'll be leaving. That was the plan anyway. Looking forward to the last story in this series, the only sister, Carly.

Book 4: Country Wedding

Carly Sutton has come home to Millars Crossing. After her fiancé broke up with her and ended up in prison, she left. She's done well with avoiding Derek and his brother, but now she needs their company to finish building her event center.

 Derek Gilbert needs the job with Carly. His construction company needs the boost, as not everyone is ready to hire an ex-con. It's tougher than he thought, though, seeing her every day and feeling the same feelings as he did three years ago.

 Loved this story and the characters. It's not all happy, though, so you may want to keep tissues handy.

Family Promises Series
Book 1: Ever Caring
Renee Albertson would soon be leaving town with her mother. Selling her beloved Scrap Happy store and their home. Hoping the treatment would help her mother to walk again. Remove the guilt Renee felt for her mother being hurt in the first place. Renee didn't expect the new lawyer and his daughter that just moved to town.

Tate Truscott's main focus was on his daughter. Addison. After his wife's death a year ago, it was time to leave the big law firm and move to Rockyview and join his father in his practice. He didn't expect this small town to bring his heart back to life...well, maybe not the town as much as a certain shop owner.

The past merges with the future as Tate and Renee's lives are more connected than they realized. But no matter what they were feeling...her mother was her focus. Addison's his. And it didn't seem there'd be anything to bridge their paths. But with God, one never knows what path He'll lead them down. Some of these characters were in previous Rockyview series, and some of those characters are also in this series. Which I love. Looking forward to the next books in this series.
Book 2: Ever After
Evangeline Arsenau runs Shelf Indulgence. It was her grandparents' bookstore, then her mother's. After her death, it was to be hers someday, but her wandering father was yet to sign it over to her. She should be over being disappointed by her father...but every new scheme hurts all over. Especially when he sends a man just like him to stay in the apartment in the store, and then to rent the ranch.

Denny Norquest had lost so much. His parents' deaths wasn't his fault, but his choice of bride had been. He'd failed his three sisters and foster brother. And now...just when he's about to get his life on track again...another surprise comes into his life. Another person to fail.

It's easy to judge people before getting to know them. Evangeline judges Denny because he's a truck driver like her father and he likes her father. Denny assumes Evangeline is too high-class for him. Another wonderful tale from Rockyview. The first book in this series is Every Caring, Renee Albertson is Evangeline's longtime friend. Great series!
Book 3: Ever Loving
Mia Verbeek owns the flower shop in Rockyview. A single mother of four. She was content though. The flower shop was her way of staying independent after her husband left her...and their kids. Until the fire.

Nate Lyster was heading for another competition and a good job in Montana. An accident had him changing his plans...temporarily. He ended up in Rockyview at his foster brother's ranch until his horses healed enough to travel and compete again. He'd been alone and moving around the past few years. He no longer believed that opening his heart would be good. His past had too many tales of how badly that hurt.

A fire. A rescue. A young boy and three other children. And a mother who loved her children and put them first. All of those things added together to have Nate wondering if life could be different. Another great series that includes the good and bad of life...but also the difference God can make when you lean on Him.
Book 4: Ever Faithful
Amy Danyluk had been in love with the boy next door most of her young life. The boy that treated her like a pesky little sister. The boy who couldn't wait to move off his parents' ranch. The boy that came home with a new girlfriend when he came back for a visit. So, now as a grown woman, Amy has moved on. She was engaged to Tim. A stable, loving man.

Paul Henderson had reached all the goals he ever went after. Rising from the man who did the grunt work to the man in the office on the fifteenth-floor. Sitting behind a fancy desk in a suit and lots of paperwork. And yet, he was empty until he went back to the ranch for little Amy's engagement party.

Another heartwarming story in this series. This story is a bit different as the characters aren't free to be with each other. Amy had chased Paul, and he'd never let her catch him. And now, she had made a promise to another man. And because of her past...she was determined to be ever faithful in all things.
Family Bonds Series
Book 1: Seeking Home
Tanner Bond is ready to start a new life. He's selling the ranch and going into a business with his former father-in-law. He'll finally be making a lot of money. And yet, as he visits Nana in the home she raised him and his twin brother in...doubts start to creep in. He's selling his legacy. Land that has been in his family for a long time and with a lot of history.

Sabine Radowski had left Rockyview in shame. Her father had lost their legacy. A ranch and land that had been started by her great-grandfather. But her father hadn't kept it up and all was lost. Eventually, even her father. But she's come back to show all those who snickered behind her back and called her names. Sabine was back and had bought a ranch. She'd show them all. Not to mention, give her daughter, Olivia, the childhood Sabine had once enjoyed. Only for Olivia, it would be much better.

Great story-line and characters.
Book 2: Choosing Home
Shannon Deacon is leaving Rockyview. She loved her life growing up there since she was eight. Had loved her time on Nana and Papa's ranch, and loved her nursing job at Rockyview Hospital. But...Rockyview was a small town with a long memory. And when a woman is jilted a week before her sticks with her. Time to start over.

Ben Brouwer is burned out. As an ER doctor, he's seen too much death. As a husband, he had failed his wife. He just feels that he's lost too much. So, he takes time off to help his mother in Rockyview. And, it seems, her new neighbor needs his help too. It's no hardship helping either lady...especially when he gets to see Shannon so often.

Two people who've been hurt by life. Ben had turned his back on God instead of turning to Him. Shannon struggles with men abandoning her...first her father and then Arthur...who happens to be Ben's brother. Wonderful story!
Book 3: Coming Home
Garret Bond left Rockyview ten years ago. He had seen what money and power could do for a person...and he wanted it. And then, he wanted to come back and use his money and power against the person he felt had held it over his family. Only, things didn't turn out quite as he expected.

Larissa Weir loved Hidden Creek Inn. It was her mother's pride and joy. On her mom's deathbed, she asked Larissa to look after it, to keep it going. And she was doing her best to do so. Only, her dad and uncle just didn't care about it the same way and it was slowly falling apart. Until Garret came to town and bought her uncle's share.

Ten years ago, Garret had hoped to marry Larissa. But their stations in life were different, as Jack Weir had pointed out to him. Miscommunication helped tear the young couple apart. Now, older and wiser, they may have their second chance at love. Love this series!
Book 4: Finding Home
Naomi Deacon returns to Rockyview after her fiancé, Billy, passes away. He had cancer and she stayed with him, nursing him until the end. Now she's home again. Before she knows it, she's thrown into close contact with the man she had dated before leaving with Billy. The man who never really left her heart.

Jess Schroder's life is changing. His mom, newly widowed from her second husband, has dropped his stepsister into his lap. A sixteen-year-old pregnant stepsister. And then, as always, his mom left. When Brittany needs help because of bed rest, the one person Jess doesn't want to help his best option.

Loved this whole series, but really loved Jess and Naomi and the secondary characters as well. Wonderful stories with flawed characters who need to be reminded of a loving God that they can turn to leave their burdens.
Family Ties Series
 Book 1: Cowboy's Reunion
Kane Tye has had a tough few years. Their mother died. His sister left town, and then his fiancée had left town with his brother...none of them to be heard from again. Not to mention he left his dad high and dry as well. Now he's returned to help get the ranch ready to sell. As if that isn't emotional enough...more emotional dominoes fall.

Faith Howard had made some really bad choices. Those bad choices piled up until the weight had pulled her down. She'd lost her faith. Her family. Her friends. Everything. All while following her As she's heading to a new place...a new job...a new life—God steers her in a different direction, against her will. She ends up in the very place she ran away from.

What a great story. If you cry easily, you may want to keep the tissues handy. I went through a few of them...emotional, but in a way that shows it's a good story. Wonderful characters. It’s sort of a prodigal son story with several prodigals coming home, both to a human father and their Heavenly Father.
Book 2: The Cowboy's Family
Tricia Tye made some terrible decisions in her life. Now, she's trying to get on the right path. To put her kids first and foremost. And to keep them safe. Especially from one of her past mistakes. For now, she's safe at her childhood home, but she can't stay here or she'll never be independent.

Mason Harding's boss got him a great job for six weeks. He's doing what he loves, training horses. And, his boss has him doing some undercover work too. As he gets to know the Tye family...he rethinks his mission.

What a wonderful series! The first book is Cowboy's Reunion. Tricia's story begins in that book. Emotional stories with wonderful characters. Looking forward to the rest of the books in this series.
Book 3: Taming the Cowboy
Elliot Tye isn't sure where he belongs. Kane and him have a distance between them from an incident a few years ago and he feels unneeded at the ranch. He's been torn between his birth father and Zach Tye most of his life, and he keeps pushing himself at the rodeo...thinking if he can go all the way in the championships, he'll find what he's searching for. And yet, he feels empty.

Kinsley Janas is planning her friend's wedding. If she does this solo and can impress Jill, she can get a partnership into a more prestigious business. She'd hoped to do that with Drake, her ex-fiancé, but that didn't work. Now at Tall Timber Ranch, several people had questioned her on her goals...putting doubts into her life plan.

Another story that took me on an emotional ride. And so true to life. It's so easy to see look at another person and see things in their life...when often we are doing the same thing in our life, but are blind to it.
Book 4: The Cowboy's Return
Lucas Groves has finally returned to Rockyview. He doesn't plan on staying though. After his parents died and his grandmother brought him to the Tye family, he never felt like he belonged. Add to that, his girlfriend breaking up with him because he wouldn't leave the army...well, there just wasn't anything worth staying for.

Summer Auger doesn't expect to see Lucas. Especially this way. In his home. Taking care of his grandmother. And worst of have Lucas see Summer at eight months pregnant. On top of all of that—Summer finds that all her feelings for Lucas are still there.

For a guy who doesn't want to stay, he's finding more and more reasons not to leave. I loved this series. So many great characters and such real-life issues. If you cry, this is definitely a tissue alert book.
Holmes Crossing Series 
Book 1: The Only Best Place
Dan and Leslie Vandekeere have moved to Holmes Crossing so Dan can run the family farm.
And so they can hopefully repair their marriage. Then, in one year, they can return to Vancouver and build their dream home. That was the plan.

This is told from Leslie's point of view only. Leslie and her older sister, Terra, had grown up with an alcoholic mother. Dan on the other hand, has family...a lot of family. Leslie is overwhelmed at the acres of nothing but sky and land—and not in a good way. What's worse, Dan seems so at home on the ranch with his controlling mother and his sisters and their families.

Things go from bad to worse for Leslie. Family, church, open land, and her own guilt. Wonderful story. If you cry easily, you may want tissues nearby. I went through plenty of them. Terra's story is in book two; All in One Place.
Book 2: All in One Place
Terra Froese had some big problems and she didn't want to bring them to her sister's she was just going to stop in and see her sister and her family before going back on the run. She was the big sister, and it used to be just her and Leslie...their mother was around but it was Terra who had to be the responsible one.

Now, it's Leslie who is the mature one. Married, a family, a home. And God. Terra felt very out of place. Not to mention her grand entrance into Holmes Crossing was started on the best foot...with the law, or Leslie.

And then there was the handsome mountie, Jack DeWindt. All the more reason for Terra to get out of town as soon as she could. She wasn't like these people...or her sister. Great story. Book one is Leslie's story.
Book 3: This Place
Miriam Bristol's life hasn't been an easy one. The closest thing to stability was with the Carpenters. And now, her finally tie to that family has passed away...and taken her deep, dark secret to the grave with them. As she's in Holmes Crossing for the funeral, the past comes back. And hope and longings that she can never have tease her too.

Duncan Tiemstra was dragging his past with him. And his anger at God. At He taken enough from their family without this last tragedy? And Miriam.

Two souls who feel they are too damaged from the past have to find the strength to be more for a little five-year-old girl who's also lost everything. Great story!
Book 4: A Silence in the Heart
Tracy Harris is a vet tech. She has dreams. Such as owning land and her own home. Being raised by an alcoholic mom, she wants her life to be different. Only, even after not seeing her mother for three years—she seems to still hold a power over Tracy. Reminding her how worthless she is. And when something good does come into her life, just as she doesn't stay.

Dr. David Braun is new to Preston. He grabbed the chance at becoming a partner in a veterinary clinic. Something unusual for a man his age to be able to get into. And Tracy, he's attracted to her immediately, but she constantly seems to be putting up walls between them. Until a small injured kitten and a young boy come into their lives.

What a wonderful story. And such real-life truth. Such as, no matter how bad a parent is, children love them because it's all they've known. The next book in this series; Any Man of Mine, is Tracy's best friend's story, Danielle's. I really enjoyed both of these books.
Book 5: Any Man of Mine
Danielle Hemstead has wanted to leave the small town of Preston. And her three brothers where were definitely “guys” not “men” as she categorizes them. The difference? Guys do all those rude, obnoxious guy things while a man, didn't. A man would put a woman first. Her brothers—guys—put themselves first. Danielle could cook, clean, do laundry, and all of that without a thanks. Even though she works too, they still load everything on her.

And if she ever brings a “man” home? Well, her brothers make sure he doesn't come back. They even try to match her up with their idea of the perfect “guy” for her. No thanks. And now that she's finally ready to move to the big city—away from all of this—she might just have found the perfect man. Yes, in her own small town.

This story is told from Danielle's point of view only. I read the older version from Steeple Hill. There is now an updated version. I really enjoyed this story. After reading it nine years ago, I just reread it and enjoyed...and cried...all over again. I didn't realize her friend Tracy's story is in the previous book, A Silence in the Heart, so I'd suggest reading that one first.
Book 6: A Place in Her Heart
Becky Ellison has a very full life and Day-Timer to prove it. Committees, church activities, and her job as editor of Going West magazine. When she meets her new boss, life gets a lot busier. Not to mention he's the same man whose review of her first book sent sales falling and the refusal of her second book. This good-looking man was the bane of her existence, and yet, as a Christian, she had to find a way to forgive him.

Rick Ethier was angry. He loved his job of traveling around the world. Being outdoors. But no, his controlling grandfather has given him an ultimatum. If he runs Going West and turns it around...Grandfather dearest will get off his case about his job. About settling down. About God. He didn't expect what he found in Holmes Crossing.

I love all of Carolyne Aarsen's books. They always leave me with tears in my eyes, a good thing, as they draw you into the lives of the characters. Becky and Rick's story didn't disappoint. I loved it!
Heart of Main Street - Book 2: The Bachelor Baker by Carolyn Aarsen 
An Unlikely Partnership  
Opening a business isn't a piece of cake-something Melissa Sweeney discovers when an anonymous benefactor brings her to Bygones, Kansas. She can't fulfill her longtime dream of starting up her own bakery without help. But with his traditional views of work and family, Brian Montclair is the unlikeliest candidate for the job.Even more surprising is the powerful attraction sprouting up between the rugged mechanic and his fiercely independent new boss. Brian's heart and soul belongs to his hardworking community that is slowly coming back to life. Melissa wants to be part of that transformation...if she can make Brian believe they can be true partners in everything-including love.

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