#Harlequin Heartwarming Series Book Review | “The Rancher’s Twins” (Book One: Return of the Blackwell Brothers) by Carol Ross [of a five book series!]

Posted Saturday, 15 September, 2018 by jorielov , , , , , 1 Comment

Book Review badge created by Jorie in Canva using Unsplash.com photography (Creative Commons Zero).

Acquired Book By: I started hosting with Prism Book Tours at the end of [2017], having noticed the badge on Tressa’s blog (Wishful Endings) whilst I was visiting as we would partake in the same blog tours and/or book blogosphere memes. I had to put the memes on hold for several months (until I started to resume them (with Top Ten Tuesday) in January 2018). When I enquiried about hosting for Prism, I found I liked the niche of authors and stories they were featuring regularly. I am unsure how many books I’ll review for them as most are offered digitally rather than in print but this happily marks one of the blog tours where I could receive a print book for review purposes. Oft-times you’ll find Prism Book Tours alighting on my blog through the series of guest features and spotlights with notes I’ll be hosting on behalf of their authors.

This particular review is slightly different from my regular blog tours and hosting features for Prism Book Tours – as an opportunity came along this Summer to secure a spot on a ‘review tour’ rather than a ‘blog tour’ for a five-book series from Harlequin Heartwarming entitled “Return of the Blackwell Brothers”. This differs as each of the reviewers and book bloggers who are committing to this review tour are posting at different intervals as each of the five novels release which is also co-dependent on the format we are signed on to review. As you know, I can only review books released into print and/or audiobook formats (as due to my chronic migraines I am unable to read books in ebook formats) – therefore, I am happily signed on to read four of the five novels in paperback. I am going to attempt to secure a copy of the one book I won’t be sent but I am unsure if I can therefore, I’m thankful to receive four out of five for this special review tour.

My reviews will be showcased from August through December 2018 beginning with this first novel by Carol Ross. Only this first novel will showcase the book synopsis, author photograph and her biography as the rest of the tour will only feature the serial information which is also seen on this post. Each of us had the flexibility to choose when we are posting our reviews which was another added bonus to this particular review tour. I elected to post mine on Saturdays, as for the past four years Saturdays have been happily focused on Romances (previously strictly by ChocLit) and I am going to continue to expand this featured part of the week encompassing more Romances by both ChocLit and different publishers.

I received a complimentary copy of “The Rancher’s Twins” direct from the author Carol Ross in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

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Why Jorie was wicked thrilled about #amreading this particular installment:

Reading this synopsis reminded me of “The Nanny Express” on Hallmark Channel? You might have seen it – where Dean Stockwell is terminally ill and his daughter is trying to get through University by working as a nanny for hire? She rides the bus whilst reading (never without a book in hand!) whilst the main caregiver for her critically ill father and still finds the time to turn around the lives of two grieving children who lost their Mum prematurely! They were rascals!! They found every which way to Sunday to upturnt the apple cart on each of their ‘nannies’ until they met her of course! Where not even a rat would make her blink or shrink away!!

I honestly can’t wait to read what these two cheeky girls will attempt to do to their new ‘nanny’!! Meanwhile, the other tv movie it brought happy memories of was from Fox Family but the titles are eluding me! It was a series of three films, where the children can’t believe how attached they become to their new nanny and truly find happiness with her in their lives for the first time! Speaking of which, ‘The Nanny Express’ stars Brennan Elliott, of whom I happily have admired since his days on ‘Strong Medicine’ whilst he is now a leading man on Hallmark Channel for the movie series ‘All of my Heart’ as the third ‘All of My Heart: the Wedding’ is in production! (you might have seen me tweeting tonight!) (you might have also caught his REPLY!)

-quoted from my Waiting on Wednesday for ‘Return of the Blackwell Brothers’

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Return of the Blackwell Brothers Collage Badge provided by Prism Book Tours

Converse via: #Contemporary #Romance & #Harlequin

& #ReturnOfTheBlackwellBrothers

The Rancher's Twins
by Carol Ross
Source: Author via Prism Book Tours

She’s not the country nanny he advertised for

But she could be perfect for him…

Jon Blackwell needs a woman ready to tackle the duties of a cattle ranch and two lively, take-no-prisoners twin girls. But ever since Lydia Newbury showed up at his six-generation Montana spread, the frazzled single father is rethinking, well, everything. The Philadelphia dazzler is a marvel. What he doesn’t know is the secret that has Lydia on the run…

Genres: Contemporary (Modern) Fiction (post 1945), Contemporary Romance, Heartland Fiction, Ranches & Cowboys, Western Fiction, Western Romance

Places to find the book:

Add to LibraryThing

Find on Book Browse

ISBN: 978-1-335-63373-6

Also by this author: Mountains Apart, A Case for Forgiveness, If Not for a Bee, A Family Like Hannah's, Bachelor Remedy, In the Doctor's Arms, Keeping Her Close, Second Chance for the Single Dad, Series Spotlight w/ Notes: Return of the Blackwell Brothers, Catching Mr Right, The Secret Santa Project, His Hometown Yuletide Vow

Also in this series: Series Spotlight w/ Notes: Return of the Blackwell Brothers, The Rancher's Rescue, The Rancher's Redemption, The Rancher's Fake Fiancee, The Rancher's Homecoming, Series Spotlight w/ Notes: Return of the Blackwell Brothers

Published by Harlequin Heartwarming

on 1 August, 2018

Format: Larger Print (Mass Market Paperback)

Pages: 368

Published by: Harlequin Heartwarming (@HarlequinBooks) | imprint of Harlequin

Return of the #BlackwellBrothers:

The Rancher’s Twins by Carol Ross → August 1st
The Rancher’s Rescue by Cari Lynn Webb → September 1st
The Rancher’s Redemption by Melinda Curtis → October 1st
The Rancher’s Fake Fiancée by Amy Vastine → November 1st
The Rancher’s Homecoming by Anna J. Stewart → December 1st

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About Carol Ross

Carol Ross

USA Today bestselling author Carol Ross grew up in small town America right between the Pacific Ocean and the Cascade Mountains, in a place where you can go deep sea fishing in the morning and then hit the ski slopes the same afternoon. The daughter of what is now known as free range parents, she developed a love of the outdoors at a very early age.

As a writer, Carol loves to breathe the life she has lived into the characters she creates, grateful for the “research material” that every questionable decision, adrenaline-charged misstep, and near-death experience has provided.

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my review of the rancher’s twins:

You can’t help but smile your way through the opening paragraphs of this novel, as Ms Ross has all but guaranteed you will have a heartily pleasant reaction to Jonathan Blackwell’s spiralling anxiety over his shopping spree to benefit the arrival of his new ‘nanny’ for his five year old twins! The hilarity of it though is seeing how unprepared he is to make simple choices (for women or men in-tune with running a household; a la ‘Mr Mom’s’) for the pending nanny as well as how difficult he seems to struggle to accept she’s welcoming one into his life and home.

Whilst Jonathan was up to his eyeballs in last minute preparations for a Nanny he wasn’t entirely sure would warm up to his daughters, the Nanny in question had her own surge of issues troubling her as she made her way westward across the state of Montana. I recognised her route – once you move West of Billings, the scenery grows a bit familiar and the irony was how she ended up lost on the side of the road, despite having the road atlas. I loved observing the Rockies through her eyes, as a person who was newly in apt appreciation for their glory as a former East Coaster were the ground was flatter than nails.

Lydia had a past she was not especially keen to reveal – the kind of past you need to put half a country behind you in order to outrun or at least, have a semblance of normalcy to believe you can move forward even if half of the reasons you left were not yet resolved. I was smiling into a burst of laughter hearing the ‘directions’ she was given by the Deputy who pulled over to ensure she was safe and alright on the highway! There are moments in every road traveller’s life where you take wrong turns, end up further afield due to shoddy directions and/or simply run out of ideas of how to find where you’re meant to be – this is a lovely classic take on how sometimes locals forget when your brand-new to an area, you might not fully understand all the twists, turns and quirky road angles which make up their country road systems! Ms Ross definitely gave a spotlight of confusion on how hard it is to understand ‘local directions’ and not feel as if you’ve driven yourself onto a new planet!

You can’t help but laugh at Lydia’s predicament as she arrives on the ranch! The mix-up in the ages, the disdained expressions coming from the father and the lightness of joy emitting from Sofie – it was quite a lot to take in for a woman who was dearly trying to outrun her past! Definitely in that one moment, I knew my instincts to think this was similar to The Nanny Express were quite bang-on!

Lydia might have gained more than she feared she could handle but her natural instincts on how to interact with young girls’ endeared her straight into Abby and Gen’s heart(s)! And, into my own – as I loved watching her first night with the girls – she even knew they might get into mischief whilst she sorted out hot to detangle their hair without having it hurt through the brushing stage! I must admit, most fathers are a bit clueless when it comes to hair and how best to avoid the tangles that can be the worst anguish of a young girl’s life!

Ross gives you such a firm grounding of centre – she introduces us to the Blackwells in such a way as it doesn’t feel like we’re meeting them for the first time (an echo of the style I am used to from Karen Rock and her Rocky Mountain Cowboys). We are getting into the back-histories of the family lore, the angst of having your grandfather go missing without notice and the issues of running a ranch when the grandfather left no forward notice of where to find him should he be unreachable. If you stop to consider everything on Blackwell’s mind, it is understandable why he’s uncertain how to approach Lydia.

In regards to Lydia, I agreed with her about the dream gourmet kitchen! Ross certainly knows the kind of aesthetic which befits a ranch house like this one! The kitchen has all the necessary bits in it for cooking, canning and baking whilst it remains open to the rest of the house and in easy distance of the dining room. The curious bit is how Blackwell is insisting on judging Lydia out of hand without even giving her brownie points for how well she is doing with Gen and Abby! I could understand his hesitations (at first) in regards to his girls’ but if you saw someone you hired was getting on with such an ease as Lydia is with the girls’ you’d think his heart would warm to the idea that perhaps ‘judging persons out of hand and context’ is a bit as unethical as judging a book by the cover art? Seriously – you just want this guy to get over himself and give Lydia a break already!!

Take one impossible rancher and one determined nanny and you have a plot boiling over with the kind of drama I am loving! He basically threw the gauntlet down and required an impossible list of challenging tasks for Lydia to accomplish in a mere fortnight! I felt just like Lydia – really? You don’t think someone could manage all of that and then some?! Let me prove you wrong! Just wait! I love the fire in Lydia but also the uncertainty in Blackwell! He thought this was going to be a cake walk – fire one nanny, re-hire another but no! Lydia has natural moxie and has a champion’s spirit! You really rally behind her and wonder, if only I could send her some links on YouTube!! (smirks) OR at the very least, some links for ranching bloggers? I definitely could hook her up with the home school resources as there are some incredible ones out there right now!! (HUGE smiles)

The only thing I do envy is her skills with hair styles – I admired the abilities of my classmates in school who could create the most intricate of braids! My own hair braided well but I was all thumbs trying to get the hair do the patterns those girls’ could maneuver in theirs and their friends’! Lydia has the same kind of styling genes as my old classmates and I loved reading about the different techniques shes was using even if I’m much better at knitting than styling hair! Laughs with mirth.

Finding Blackwell caught off-guard by Lydia each time he tries to check-up on her and verify if she’s doing what he bids her to do is absolutely the best bits of the story-line! Almost like he can’t get over himself that he’s meeting someone who is the exact opposite of Ava even if she’s city raised! I love how his inner circle is trying to tell him the same thing – of how you can’t box people in and expect them to disappoint you – you have to give people room to breathe and grow. Lydia took to her new life so dearly well – she thrived on the challenges and she liked feeling like she was accomplishing something outside of herself, too. You can see it in how she shines and glows throughout the tasks she’s doing at the house.

Meanwhile, Blackwell loves to be a Mr Grumpy Bear, brooding around the property, wearing himself right thin into the ground and feeling as if he’s the only one whose been trampled on in love and romance! You’d think the evidence of the changes taking place would be enough to slightly warm his frosted heart but of course, he’s stubborn worse than a mule and I’m not entirely certain what it will take to change his fiercely convicted opinions!

Ahh, who’d think it was possible? Bears can be tamed!! Life on the ranch is not just idyllic it is a place where you can nurture your heart, restore your soul and find yourself happily contented with the animals who reside there! For Lydia though the best bit is all those crazy jobs she’s had throughout her life are as handy as the jobs Lacey Chabert had in that other Hallmark movie I love dearly! [Elevator Girl (2010)] The key takeaway is we never know which parts of our experiences throughout our lives are necessary for our future(s), sometimes we’re keenly surprised by how something from our past fits into our present in a wholly new and original way! You have to keep living forward even if you have to overcome obstacles but one thing Blackwell hasn’t quite learnt is how to make peace with your past and not allow it to cloud your future in such a way you can’t see anything past what you’ve already experienced.

One of the more interesting bits to this series is how the patriarch is constantly out of scene and out of touch with his relatives! You have a lovely undercurrent of suspense in regards to where the Big E is during the entire story – even as everything starts to play out, your still rather curious – why is this person hiding or being difficult to reach? What’s his end game!? And, then, before you can even contemplate that further the main plot points swing back into focus and you feel wicked wonderful for having spent your time on the ranch with Blackwell, Lydia and the twins!! It’s the kind of ending you want to re-read and savour – whilst happily having a small preview of what is coming up next for Ethan Blackwell in the Appendix leaves you wicked satisfied for finding how the authors of this limited series have maintained continuity! Eek. You won’t be disappointed!!

on the contemporary rom styling of carol ross:

I wasn’t entirely sure what I was expecting to find in the segue between the Rancher who needed a Nanny and the Nanny who needed a second chance – at life, at romance – at everything to be honest! Lydia was running towards a place she could re-start her life, even if the one she’s left behind was still looming over her shoulders. What I appreciated about the ways in which Carol Ross introduce the elements of Romantic Suspense into her narrative is the unexpected nature of it – your thinking your settling into one kind of story, whilst being giving elements of surprise suspense where you become dearly concerned over the welfare of a character.

Ross knits in a lot of humour into her stories – even the kind of humour where it isn’t entirely meant to be funny, as it is awkward circumstances of two people trying to come together but who feel they have nothing in common with each other, so why attempt civility? Except in this case, it is the bloke who is at odds over his hired nanny (on first meeting) who makes soaking into this story quite enjoyable due to the natural high levels of tension erupting through the opening chapters! You truly feel you want to invest in reading this story if only to see if Lydia can succeed in making a positive impact on the twin girls’ lives or if she can even soften their father’s heart a small bit or if he will forever remain judgemental of everyone who doesn’t fit the image he has for a woman to be in hie life on his ranch. On that level, I was thinking about a second Hallmark Channel film which was Straight from the Heart (2003) (starring Teri Polo) where a city girl fell in love with a rancher!

I’ve mentioned Hallmark Channel quite a heap on this review because what I loved about reading The Rancher’s Twins is the fact it has the same kind of uplifting heart I love finding in certain Hallmark Channel movies – let’s face it, sometimes they have a few duds amongst the gems, but overall, what I love most about the ones which truly wick out a love of joy for me to be watching (esp the latest series All of my Heart) is how you feel pulled into the story-lines in such an organic way of alighting straight into the shoes of the characters! You can’t wait to see if they will get a happy ever after (even if mostly its a given but how will it pan out is always the critical mystery!) – and this same feeling is tucked inside the very first Return of the #BlackwellBrothers!

I am overjoyed I am able to participate in my first serial review tour! What a wonderful start to a series I am super excited to continue reading! I have not received the second book in the series The Rancher’s Rescue but I am dearly anticipating it now!! If I dare say – this particular one I’ve just read ought to be considered for Hallmark! It would fit well with their series of Western Romances – they haven’t put together a new Cowboy / Ranch Romance in awhile… hmm,… (*nudge, nudge*)

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Do you get equally as giddy as I do over limited series?

Do you *love!* #amreading Contemporary Westerns & Cowboy/Ranch narratives?

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This review tour is courtesy of: Prism Book Tours

Prism Book Tours

This review is cross-posted to LibraryThing.

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{SOURCES: Cover art of “The Rancher’s Twins”, “The Rancher’s Rescue” & “The Rancher’s Redemption”, “The Rancher’s Fake Finaceé” and “The Rancher’s Homecoming” as well as the synopsis for “The Rancher’s Twins”, the author photo of Carol Ross and her biography; the promo badge for the Return of the Blackwell Brothers series and the Prism Book Tours badge were all provided by Prism Book Tours and used with permission. Post dividers by Fun Stuff for Your Blog via Pure Imagination. Tweets embedded by codes provided by Twitter. Blog graphics created by Jorie via Canva: Book Review Banner using Unsplash.com (Creative Commons Zero) Photography by Frank McKenna and the Comment Box Banner.}

Copyright © Jorie Loves A Story, 2018.

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About jorielov

I am self-educated through local libraries and alternative education opportunities. I am a writer by trade and I cured a ten-year writer’s block by the discovery of Nanowrimo in November 2008. The event changed my life by re-establishing my muse and solidifying my path. Five years later whilst exploring the bookish blogosphere I decided to become a book blogger. I am a champion of wordsmiths who evoke a visceral experience in narrative. I write comprehensive book showcases electing to get into the heart of my reading observations. I dance through genres seeking literary enlightenment and enchantment. Starting in Autumn 2013 I became a blog book tour hostess featuring books and authors. I joined The Classics Club in January 2014 to seek out appreciators of the timeless works of literature whose breadth of scope and voice resonate with us all.

"I write my heart out and own my writing after it has spilt out of the pen." - self quote (Jorie of Jorie Loves A Story)

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Posted Saturday, 15 September, 2018 by jorielov in Blog Tour Host, Book Review (non-blog tour), Contemporary Romance, Farm and Ranching on the Frontier, Indie Author, Prism Book Tours, Romance Fiction, Western Fiction, Western Romance

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One response to “#Harlequin Heartwarming Series Book Review | “The Rancher’s Twins” (Book One: Return of the Blackwell Brothers) by Carol Ross [of a five book series!]

  1. This sounds like such a cute series! I’ve always been a huge fan of the Nanny romance trope, ever since I watched Sound of Music and read Jane Eyre (my two favorite examples). Always love reading your in-depth reviews, Jorie! Thanks for sharing this series :)

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