Review + Giveaway: Just Not Ready Yet

justnotreadybanner (1)I know this falls more in line with the September Sizzlers, but here it is anyway!

Title: Just Not Ready Yet
Author: Brooklyn James
Publisher: Arena Books
Release Date: November 2014
Length: 286 pages
Series?: no
Genre: Contemporary Romance

Find the book: Goodreads | Amazon | B&N

JustNotReadyYet-1-662x1024Charlize ‘Charlie’ McCloud, widow and mother of two young children, is agonizingly content living in the past. Her secluded life on a sprawling central Texas ranch provides the perfect dreamscape to obsessively reconnect and reminisce about her college sweetheart—her first and only love—Cash McCloud.
When intern, Hunter Bowie, arrives on the ranch to work for the summer, his handsome and engaging ingress into her world threatens the safekeeping of her treasured reliving. Her interest in moving on as departed as her late husband, Hunter’s youthful exuberance revives dreams she once laid to rest.
Hunter’s presence stirs up everyone around the ranch, including her late husband’s older brother, Cage McCloud. Charlie continuously pushes him away. A near replica of Cash, Cage’s very existence is a painstaking reminder of how much she has lost.
Unintentionally revealing the truth about Cash’s death, Cage sets off a firestorm of emotions, ultimately propelling Charlie to face her future—hopefully one that includes him.

***** Review *****

This book is set in my own part of the world: Austin, Texas. From the descriptions used, it is before a lot of the modernization and urban growth that has happened in the last 20 or so years.

I adored the characters. There wasn’t one I didn’t like. They all had a role to play in progressing the plot. Charlie, the main character, is a woman continuing her husband’s legacy three years after his death. She’s raising their two kids on their ranch outside of Austin, with the help of her husband’s mom, affectionately called Glamma Libby.

“Privacy is a forfeited virtue in this house.” She considers her children and their desire to be right in the thick of things.

Cage, her husband’s older brother, tries to do what he can to help Charlie, but she rarely calls on him for help. Instead, this summer she’s hired an extra ranch hand, young A&M student Hunter Bowie.

“How long’s it been?”

“Three years.” 

“You don’t date? Move on?” he inquires gently.

She looks up at him, a cynical eyebrow arched. “It’s pointless. How do you move on once you’ve had the best?”

Hunter takes quite a bit of heat for being an Aggie coming into prime Longhorn territory. He’s an all-around good guy about it, though, which speaks to his character. He also has some insight into how Charlie’s kids feel, having grown up without a father as well.

Charlie also owns a music store in downtown Austin. She has three musician employees running the show there, and she reigns in Hunter to do a show after hearing his musical talent. Charlie used to write songs – she used to sing – although that is long in the past…until Hunter comes.

The title of the novel comes from a song that Charlie finally agrees to write with Hunter. There are several sessions of their songwriting throughout the book, and it is interesting to see how the song develops. However, Charlie’s time with Hunter is developing into another issue entirely between her and Cage.

Ultimately Cage shares a bombshell secret about Cash’s death, which devastates both Charlie and Glamma Libby, and causes Charlie to really examine her future, what she wants and how she’s going to get it.

I enjoyed the flashback memories Charlie had about certain moments about her life with Cash: their first date, meeting his family for the first time, flying to New York to invite her parents to their wedding. These moments starkly contrast the differences between their families, and solidify how Charlie became and will always be a McCloud. She gave up her New York life long ago.

There is something nostalgic about riding in the cab of a pickup with an attractive man.

This novel was a wonderful read, and I could relate to it very well. The characters all served their specific roles and filled those shoes well. The setting couldn’t be any more beautiful than the Texas Hill Country, and the story was absolutely beautiful. Hunter Bowie is not the focus of the novel, but he is the pivotal character that is the catalyst for change in the story and in everyone’s lives.

“Love’s a theif, the worst kind.”

***** About the Author *****

WAM BS CropBrooklyn James is an author/singer/songwriter inspired by life in the Live Music Capital of Austin, Texas. Her first novel, The Boots My Mother Gave Me, has an original music soundtrack and was chosen as a Quarter Finalist in the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Awards. This book has ranked in Kindle’s Top 100 Coming of Age and Women’s Fiction.
When she is not writing books, she can be found playing live music around Austin as part of an acoustic duo. Like most everyone, she treasures her time spent with family and friends. She and her husband welcomed their first child this past Christmas. Brooklyn has been in a Weezer video, met Harry Connick Jr. as an extra on the set of When Angels Sing, and she was Mira Sorvino’s stand-in on Jerry Bruckheimer’s Trooper pilot for TNT. She enjoys reading, dancing, working out, fishing with her hubby, and a good glass of kombucha.
Brooklyn holds an M.A. in Communication, and a B.S. in both Nursing and Animal Science. Her nursing career has seen specialties in the areas of Intensive Care and Postpartum. She serves as a guest speaker with a focus on awareness and prevention of domestic violence and suicide.

Find the author: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

***** Giveaway *****

There is a $15 Amazon gift card in the giveaway. Contest ends December 10.

Click here to enter the Rafflecopter giveaway!

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6 thoughts on “Review + Giveaway: Just Not Ready Yet

  1. […] Just Not Ready Yet is set in my corner of the world: Austin, Texas! Charlie McCloud mans her Hill Country ranch while raising the two children she and her beloved and dearly departed husband Cash made together. However, she is perfectly content to relive the love they had. When a new young intern arrives, everything changes, including Cash’s older brother’s involvement around the ranch. Charlie loves her husband beyond all compare, but there comes a time for things to change, and change is hard. You can read my review here. […]

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