Review: Country Heaven by Ava Miles

Posted February 11, 2014 by Jonetta in Book Review | | 4 Comments

I received this book for free from Author in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Review: Country Heaven by Ava MilesCountry Heaven by Ava Miles
Series: Dare River #1
Published by Aspendawn Books on February 9, 2014
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 312
Format: eARC
Source: Author
Amazon | Goodreads

If you like the hit TV series, Nashville…

A down-on-her luck cook uses food’s magical properties to tame a beastly country singer after he hires her under false pretenses to restore his image.

When famous—and infamous—country singer Rye Crenshaw saunters into the diner where she cooks, Tory Simmons is certain she’s got him pegged. He’s a bad boy who indulges himself in all things, women included. But while she couldn’t care less about country music or arrogant men, Rye makes her an offer she can’t refuse when he asks her to be his private chef on his multi-city concert tour. The job is the answer to all her prayers: it will clear out her debt and finance the fresh start she desperately needs.

Rye is certain his sassy new cook is the last woman who’d ever tempt him, but spending time with the wholesome girl next door will do wonders for his damaged public image, whether she likes being forced into the spotlight or not. Her food also happens to be the best he’s ever eaten, both comforting and seductive. But spending time with Tory on the road shows him a new side to her—one that’s as impossible to resist as her food. And when an emergency in his family whisks him home, he does the one thing he’s never risked: he lets a woman into his heart…

Soon the emotions Rye faked for the tabloids become all too real, but will the country heaven he’s found in Tory’s arms survive in the real world?

Have you ever had one of those books where you don’t want to put it down but you also don’t want it to end? That’s they way this story was for me.

The setup
Rye Crenshaw, famous country music singer, was the darling bad boy to his fans until a huge misunderstanding put him on the wrong side of media attention. He’s on tour, floundering and happens by a recommended local diner in Kansas where Tory Simmons was the cook. She’s struggling to make ends meet following the death of her grandfather so when Rye offers her a job as his personal chef for the remainder of the tour (for an amount she can’t refuse), she signs on.

The story
Rye’s got a bit of a reputation as a ladies man and Tory wants no part of that action. He’s fine with that because she’s a great cook and he loves to eat. It’s when he has to go home and deal with his estranged family that things really get interesting. Tory sees a different side of the singer, a man of depth and substance. As she becomes protectful of him and he of her, their attraction to each other deepens.

What I loved about the story
Everything. The characters, including the secondary players, were interesting, layered and always true to their design. I really liked Rye and Tory and was rooting for them to stay apart until it started making sense for them to be drawn to one another. Wouldn’t you know the story transitioned their relationship just when it felt right! I don’t like “players” and Tory had less tolerance than me. She was never swept away by his fame or charm, having her own goals, smarts and independence. I liked her a lot and appreciated how she made him step up. I came to adore him, especially when he rose to the occasion when his family needed him. The story was compelling (can’t give you details) as his family defines dysfunction.

And another thing!
There are song lyrics and recipes as companions to each chapter, not inserted gratuitously but meshing seamlessly with the storyline. I loved them and plan to try out some of those dishes. If I hadn’t been so carried away by the story I might have stopped to try them out. The lyrics were exceptional and they helped paint Rye as a true musician.

The bottom line
Can you tell I loved this story? The romance, family dynamics and friendships all work. Rye and Tory are delightful as individual characters and as a couple. She demands more from him and is always respectful of herself. Rye is a better man because of her and he wasn’t that bad. I laughed, cried, got angry, swooned…experienced a full range of emotions. I am dying to read the next book because I gobbled up this winner!


About Ava Miles

Ava Miles burst onto the contemporary romance scene after receiving Nora Roberts’ blessing for her use of Ms. Roberts’ name in her debut novel, NORA ROBERTS LAND, which kicked off The Dare Valley Series and brought praise from reviewers and readers alike. Much to Ava’s delight, BlogCritics says “It [NORA ROBERTS LAND] captures the best of…a Nora Roberts novel,” while USA Today’s Happily Ever After blog praises the series noting its “wonderful, idyllic setting… [and] great characters.” Ava continued The Dare Valley Series in FRENCH ROAST, which Tome Tender says “raised the entertainment bar again” and then THE GRAND OPENING, which reviewer Mary J. Gramlich says “is a continuation of love, family, and relationships.” Now, Ava releases the fourth book in the series, THE HOLIDAY SERENADE, with her recognized wit and charm, creating happy endings with humor and heart.

Born in a small town herself, Ava has created the small, Colorado town of Dare Valley and the residents who make it memorable, including the Hale family who, like Ava, are descended from a long line of journalists. Ava’s great-great grandfather won his first newspaper in a poker game in 1892 and her family has had something to do with telling stories, whether to share news or, in her case, fiction, ever since. In fact her clan is still reporting on local events more than one hundred years later at their family newspaper.

Ava is a member of the Romance Writers of America and Washington Romance Writers. She is also part of an unofficial group that regularly convenes a writing retreat at Nora Roberts’ restored Inn Boonsboro in western Maryland. Having left behind the “day job,” which took her, literally, all over the world, she now writes full-time in the peace and quiet of her northern Virginia porch-swinging-friendly community.

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Co-Blogger/Full Time Reviewer at The Book Nympho
I LOVE reading and am just crazy about so many series and writers. I’m open to exploring new authors and genres and appreciate those who not only write well but can deliciously craft a character and a tale. Your suggestions for new authors and titles are very much welcomed.

I also love to talk about books. There’s nothing more exciting than to finish a great story and cover it A to Z with other people, exploring different perspectives and points of view. So, if you see something on my shelf you’d like to talk about, send me a message and we’ll talk!

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4 responses to “Review: Country Heaven by Ava Miles

  1. What a nice surprise! You know I’d have never given this book a second look, but now is on my radar, thanks to your review. Once in a while we find a gem, and a book with guitar on it would be the last place I’d have thought to find one.


    • The name of the guitar is Old Faithful. The songwriting and the performances anchor the character. Her covers are always metaphorical, differing from current trends. When I see her covers, I always know they are closely connected to the stories.