Ransom Canyon by Jodi Thomas

Jodi Thomas has a brand-new book out called Ransom Canyon that I absolutely loved.

The characters are gritty, funny, sarcastic, real and kept me turning page after page.

jodi cover“Compelling and beautifully written, it is exactly the kind of heart-wrenching, emotional story one has come to expect from Jodi Thomas.”

—Debbie Macomber, #1 New York Times bestselling author

The official synopsis from the publisher:

“Long ago, four families of ranchers settled along the canyon walls of a bleak Western frontier to forge better lives for future generations. Now, well over a hundred years later, on that same treacherous gorge, their scattered descendants are set to converge once more, ready to face the deadliest test of their lives. Welcome to Crossroads, Texas. From New York Times and USA TODAY bestselling author Jodi Thomas comes RANSOM CANYON, the first offering in a six-book series featuring enthralling family dramas, rugged heroes and the beautiful Texan landscape.

Following the deaths of his wife and only child, wealthy and prominent rancher Staten Kirkland swore he would never love again. All that keeps him going are his ranch and the grief he shares with his deceased wife’s best friend, Quinn O’Grady—his rainy-day woman. But after years of shared misery, something suddenly changes with the reclusive Quinn. Wallowing in the past is no longer enough. Now Staten—a man who thought his life was over—must decide if a future exists for him with a woman he’s long known but, until now, never really seen.

To everyone at his high school, Lucas Reyes seems like a regular kid who likes to keep to himself. But after one harrowing night together, his classmate Lauren Brigman realizes there’s much more to the brave, unassuming ranch hand’s son than anyone suspects. For instance, the quiet and mature Lucas has big plans for his future. But when danger threatens the town from nearby Ransom Canyon, the bright future Lucas envisioned with the girl of his dreams is suddenly very much in doubt.

After five long years in prison and with nothing left to lose, ex-convict Yancy Grey has come to Crossroads, Texas, looking to take whatever he can by any means necessary. While scoping the community, Yancy takes a job, hoping to blend in with the locals. But before he knows it, he suddenly finds himself caring about the same folks he was planning to rob. So, when Yancy’s crooked past suddenly catches up and presents him with the score of a lifetime, he knows he has a difficult choice to make—between the crook he’s been in order to survive and the man he strives to be in order to truly live…

Against a landscape as deadly as it is beautiful, the lives of these people are about to intersect in a way that none of them ever imagined. And like their ancestors who settled the land long before them—nothing about Ransom Canyon has changed—they must survive together or die alone…the decision is theirs.”

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I loved the way Quinn accepted Staten without conditions. She knew who he was, what was in his heart, and loved him  anyway (or maybe because of it). Watching their relationship develop and evolve was probably the thing I enjoyed most about the book.

Lucas is one of those responsible, good kids you just cheer for from the start. You want him to win, to succeed, to claim Lauren’s heart.

Yancy was such a fun addition to the cast of  characters, especially with his interest in a rather bookish wannabe nurse. The senior citizens that end up in his care (or did he end up in theirs) added  to the entertainment value for this reader.

I can’t wait for the next release in the series.

And I would be completely remiss not to point out Winter’s Camp. It’s a prequel to Ransom Canyon and last I checked, you could download it free on Amazon.

“A wanderer’s life was all James Randall Kirkland had known since he was an orphaned boy in San Antonio. And while years of adventure had satisfied his younger self, now he’s longing to put down roots of his own and is prepared to go it alone. But when he sees the Apache slave woman with the startling blue eyes, the course of his journey is changed forever.

Ever since the Comanche raided her village and took her for their own, Millie hasn’t known any kind of freedom. After years of being outcast, beaten and traded from tribe to tribe, she’s unprepared for James’s patient tone and gentle ways. Still, as her handsome savior slowly earns her trust, Millie struggles between desire and fear, sure it’s just a matter of time before James tires of her and her burgeoning feelings are nothing but another wasted memory.”

Even at the beginning of this story, the tenderness in James Kirkland’s heart and spirit is evident when he trades a watch of sentimental value for an Indian captive covered in mud.  Their love story, like the setting of the Ransom Canyon, holds beauty and triumph along with danger and loss.

I highly recommend both books.  And please note, they aren’t “sweet and clean,” although I would probably give them a PG rating for mild cussing and intimate encounters.

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RANSOM CANYON is available wherever books are sold and at www.HQNBooks.com. (HQN Books, September 2015, $7.99 U.S./$8.99 CAN.)

Jodi Thomas

Jodi ThomasA fifth-generation Texan, New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Jodi Thomas chooses to set the majority of her novels in her home state, where her grandmother was born in a covered wagon. A former teacher, Thomas traces the beginning of her storytelling career to the days when her twin sisters were young and impressionable.

With a degree in family studies, Thomas is a marriage and family counselor by education, a background that enables her to write about family dynamics. Honored in 2002 as a Distinguished Alumni by Texas Tech University in Lubbock, Thomas enjoys interacting with students on the West Texas A&M University campus, where she currently serves as Writer in Residence.

Commenting on her contribution to the arts, Thomas said, “When I was teaching classes full-time, I thought I was making the world a better place. Now I think of a teacher or nurse or mother settling back and relaxing with one of my books. I want to take her away on an adventure that will entertain her. Maybe, in a small way, I’m still making the world a better place.”

When not working on a novel or inspiring students to pursue a writing career, Thomas enjoys traveling with her husband, renovating a historic home they bought in Amarillo and “checking up” on their two grown sons.

For more information, please visit Jodi’s website at www.jodithomas.com.

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