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Wednesday, January 6, 2010

A Place to Land by Mary Vine

A Place to Land by Mary Vine
Publisher: Black Lyon Publishing
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Full (173 pages)
Heat: Spicy
Rating: 3.5 Books
Reviewed by Camellia

She isn’t afraid of the big, bad wolf.
But he’s a little concerned about her.

When Uli’s impoverished family left Russia for America, she was only ten years old. From that point on, she’s been determined to make the American dream hers. When Headline Magazine offers the perfect story with which to launch her new writing career, Uli travels across Oregon to find out exactly how wolf and cowboy mix. As she finds her spirit guide in the wolf and her soul mate in the cattle rancher, a mysterious danger seems bent on finding her.

Movie-star handsome, Jackson Holt owns one of the largest ranches in eastern Oregon and like most ranchers, is none too happy with wolves crossing over the Idaho border near his livestock. The last thing he needs is a semi-environmentalist, journalist wannabe dogging his footsteps. Sure, Uli may be bright and sexy, but her need to prove herself and help her family threaten to lead her into the kind of harm he can’t protect her from—when all he wants to give her is … a place to land.

“You need to go back where you came from” hurts just as much now as it did when Ulianna was in the sixth grade. She just knows how to hide the hurt better. She feels a kinship with the wolf she is researching since it is not wanted in lots of places. When she sees how much it is loved, welcomed, and appreciated in Yellowstone National Park, she longs for a place like that for herself.

Ulianna Maslova, a beautiful, well-dressed ,college-educated journalist, at times still feels like that little starving Russian ten-year-old girl that came to America seeking a better life. Often at odds with her family, she wonders if she will ever find a place to land and live by her own values rather than those her family cling to even though they left Russia and came to America. Once again, she finds herself out of her own comfort zone in the ranching country of northeast Oregon, but, in this breathtakingly beautiful country, she finds Jackson Holt who makes her feel safe and so much more. However, their goals are poles apart.

Jackson Holt, a rich rancher, judges Ulianna by her Armani suits, her education, and her precise speech. He also realizes that she has no idea what a volatile subject she is researching. Wolves in ranching country are, indeed, controversial. Despite his common-sense reasoning, he cannot put Ulianna out of his mind nor can he even consider not trying to protect her.

The secondary characters serve their purpose but lack believability at times. Yet, some of them are instrumental in bringing about scary happenings while others offer delightful humor and help create a welcoming environment for Ulianna.

Mary Vine slips in a surprising twist near the end of the story that really puts the icing on the cake. It also wraps up loose ends very neatly and clears the way for Ulianna to know she has a safe place to land where she is loved, welcomed and appreciated with lots of fringe benefits like the special love of the man she loves with all her heart.

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