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Sage Valley Ranch #4

Calming the Storm

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A marriage of convenience isn't exactly what Rachel Peters had in mind.

After a rocky start, Rachel Peters finally has her life on track. Then a tragic accident takes away her sister and leaves her to raise her niece, Kendra, alone. About to lose custody of her last blood relative, Rachel is desperate to prove she can adequately care for her niece. On the verge of running away to keep Kendra, a new friend offers Rachel an opportunity she can't refuse.

Brandon Barlow has long admired Rachel. When her world begins to fall apart, he feels led to help. A marriage of convenience would enable him to provide Rachel and Kendra with a stable place to live, proper health insurance, and a viable shot at staying together. Once Rachel gained full custody of her niece, the marriage could be annulled.

His plan provides the perfect solution, until Brandon realizes he's fallen in love with Rachel. Through love and patience, can he help Rachel realize that, even when she experiences storms in her life, she's never alone?

An alternative cover edition for this ASIN can be found here.

194 pages, Kindle Edition

First published August 16, 2014

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About the author

Melanie D. Snitker

33 books182 followers
Melanie D. Snitker is a USA Today bestselling author who writes inspirational romance and romantic suspense. She and her husband live in Texas with their two children. They share their home with three dogs and a variety of small animals. In her spare time, Melanie enjoys photography, reading, training her dog, playing computer games, and hanging out with family and friends.

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5 stars
775 (44%)
4 stars
506 (28%)
3 stars
301 (17%)
2 stars
91 (5%)
1 star
77 (4%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 137 reviews
Profile Image for Angie Thompson.
Author 31 books1,079 followers
September 26, 2018
I have mixed feelings about this book. There were a lot of things that were different from the typical marriage-of-convenience storyline and which I really appreciated. For example--

The modern-day setting. Not typical for most of the marriage-of-convenience stories I've read.

The reasons and emotions behind the marriage. Usually, it's two relatively-uninterested people coming together for their mutual benefit. In this case, the benefit was entirely on Rachel's side, with the added complication that Brandon was already beginning to have feelings for her when he proposed.

The fact that they were honest with each other! How refreshing is that--seriously?!? As in, he tells her straight-out that he's falling in love with her? And doesn't bury all his feelings because obviously she could never want that? Whaaat?!? (Oh, wait, does it sound like I'm a little frustrated with the prevalence of that trope in this kind of story?)

On to what I wasn't a fan of--

The style wasn't quite my favorite, but that's largely a personal preference. I noticed a few editing errors, but they were pretty minimal.

I really didn't like the fact that Rachel's sister and her boyfriend had been living together/had a child without any real purpose for it in the story. True, I wouldn't have been comfortable with the subject if it had had a purpose, but literally nothing in the book would have been changed if Ryan had been Macy's husband instead of her boyfriend. Having that stuck in there with no purpose really bothered me.

For someone with such a close walk with God, I found it unnerving that Brandon didn't even think to ask about Rachel's spiritual state or realize that it might be an issue before he married her. I liked the way he prayed for her and talked to her about God afterward, but it really bothered me that the possibility that he might be marrying an unbeliever, or that there might be something wrong in that, never seemed to enter anyone's mind. What exactly Rachel's spiritual state was supposed to be confused me a bit, too--for a long time, she seemed like a typical unbeliever, but then without having seemed to make a conscious decision, she started talking about how God had been teaching her to trust, and most disconcertingly, how Ryan and Macy were watching them from heaven. (I get that it's a comforting thought, but were they actually believers? We never heard Rachel mention either of them knowing or talking about God before...)

Normally, I would give the book three stars, but the two issues above bothered me enough that I have to knock the rating down a bit. 2.5 stars

Content--mentions of a girlfriend/boyfriend living together and having a child; kisses between a married couple (not descriptive); "screw over" once; mentions of car accidents, blood, and wounds
Profile Image for Christina.
702 reviews28 followers
February 12, 2018
A Sweet Christian Romance

I began reading this book blindly, not knowing anything about it before reading. Sometimes it's just fun to enjoy where it takes you, you know?

I enjoyed this sweet romance. There were some unexpected twists and a strong Christian theme, but it came together nicely, with a tender happily-ever-after. I liked our two main characters, Rachel and Brandon. Sometimes in books I can get frustrated when one character seems to keep putting up emotional walls or because they keep shutting out other people it can start to feel unrealistic or frustrate the flow of the story. This is NOT the case here. I didn't think Rachel was too much of any of that, but I think maybe I'm a little biased, knowing Rachel's history.

Rachel grew up without a real home, going from one foster home to another. This hit a nerve for me, as I'm a foster parent myself and have adopted two of my children from foster care. Rachel never got adopted and therefore always struggled with feeling like she wasn't enough to ever really be wanted. Having waded through this crazy foster world myself, I could easily identify with her feelings.

Brandon was so sweet and patient with Rachel and their romance was tender. All in all a cute read, but one that hit a bit closer to home for me personally.
Profile Image for Sarah.
Author 41 books415 followers
Shelved as 'did-not-finish'
August 9, 2023
I picked this up for free having enjoyed another book by this author. I got 39% in and just couldn't go on.
Not only was the scenario a little hard to believe, but I for it frustration that a guy who was supposed to be a Christian didn't seem concerned at all about the spiritual state of a girl he proposed to and was falling for.

One positive note: I did like that Brandon was upfront with Rachel that he had feelings for her, even though he was willing to marry her in name only to help her keep her niece. I get tired a couples just not talking.
Profile Image for NaDell.
1,156 reviews11 followers
November 13, 2017
Interesting concept for the plot and I hate when reviews give things away, but I think the blurb does anyway. The main character has her niece to take care of and isn't able to provide, so her professor steps in and offers to marry her. As they get to know each other the story grows and grows.
Profile Image for Stephenee.
1,575 reviews44 followers
April 25, 2015
* I received an ebook in exchange for an honest review. *

I must admit that the title of the book threw me for a minute - I wasn't sure what it meant by "A Christian Romance", but I am so glad that it didn't stop me from choosing to read it! I am a believer in God and in life after, but don't really appreciate it when books are filled with bible verses and I was worried that this book would be like that, but it wasn't and it wasn't even close to that. It is an amazing story with some pretty awesome characters that pray, look to God for guidance, they place their trust in him and they believe that everything happens for a reason.

This book was very well written, the plot flowed smoothly, the characters were relatable and fun and the author hooks the reader right from the very start of the book. Some of the plot was a bit predictable, but other parts were no where near being predictable. The author throws the reader for a bit of a loop several times throughout the story. I enjoyed thinking that I knew what was going to happen next only for something completely opposite to happen. I feel like the author has been writing for years and years, and yet she hasn't. She has just gotten started, but I think she has a long road ahead of her in the writing business. She takes some difficult subjects and shows the reader how to make it through and to become better people while doing it.

The characters were well developed and felt like friends as you were reading. I love the way in which the author describes the settings. I could almost smell/taste the apples when she was talking about the apple orchard. I felt like I was walking in the rain with the characters and I felt like I was a part of their journey through the story. The author takes the reader straight into the pages of her book. I really enjoyed this story and am already looking for the authors next book.

Make sure you add this one to your TBR list and do it soon, you don't want to miss out on anything that she writes! Enjoy your journey!

***Review has been done in conjunction with Nerd Girl Official. For more information regarding our reviews please visit our Fansite: www.facebook.com/NerdGirl.ng ***
Profile Image for Krista Noorman.
Author 19 books141 followers
September 7, 2015
Enjoyed this story of Rachel, who is desperately trying to make ends meet and keep custody of her young niece after the death of the child's parents, and Brandon, her former college professor, and his family, who step in to help. It was a sweet, clean romance as well as a story of family and faith.
Profile Image for Linda Rainey.
2,347 reviews21 followers
December 6, 2015
What a beautiful love story.
I loved all the characters and especially Brandon.with his love and patience with Rachel.
He portrays a true Christian.
I look forward to reading more by this author.
The author gave me a copy of the book and I am giving an honest review.
Profile Image for Jean Lee.
Author 4 books31 followers
June 1, 2015
Absolutely delightful. Highly recommend this sweet story.
390 reviews2 followers
August 30, 2015
This is a very well written story. I was entranced with the characters and their interactions. I will read other stories by this author.
Profile Image for Sara Lawson.
558 reviews49 followers
August 15, 2018
Cute story. Likeable characters. Happy ending.

I'm never sure what to expect when I read Christian fiction. There seems to either be an extreme fundamentalist slant or nothing to make it Christian (except that it's clean). I wondered in a few places if Rachel was going to transform into the "model" Christian wife and mother, stereotypical homemaker. But she didn't. Rachel has a personality! She does what she wants, sometimes for better and other times for worse. And even in the end, she doesn't melt into the typical (in Christian fiction) "You were right. I wouldn't have suffered so much if I was only obedient to my husband" (*gag); she simply becomes a healthier version of herself. Thank you, Melanie Snitker!

At the same time, the character development happened a bit too quickly for it to feel real to me. Rachel definitely changed and grew. But things were resolved too quickly with relatively few (and minor) hiccups.

All things considered, I would definitely read another book by Melanie Snitker. It was an easy read filled with wholesome and kind people, and Christian without being super preachy. And I'm particularly curious about her other female leads.
519 reviews4 followers
March 8, 2019
I really enjoyed this book because it shows the goodness of people. A sweet young woman who has her three-year-old niece since the tragic death of the child parents, is overcome with her responsibilities, no money, loses her job and is about to lose her apartment, has to drop out of her college class , is facing a court hearing regarding custody of her niece,and so much more. Because of all this, she goes from being an A student to a D on one exam, which is the final straw for her, but a young professor who has been impressed by her, calls her in and after talking, he offers to help. He brings her to his parents home where she is welcomed with open arms where she sees what being a part of a family really is. Because she was in the foster child system from age five and lived in fifteen foster home in twelve years, she has never been a part of a real family. Within the week, because of the threat of losing her niece, the young professor offers her a marriage of convenience so that she might be able to keep the child. Of course this type of book ensures a happy ending and these two really fall in love with each other and all ends well, There is love, marriage, family, the child and most importantly, the hand of God in all of this. Truly a sweet story, one that you will enjoy very much.
1,013 reviews7 followers
September 7, 2017
What do you do when your sister is killed in a car accident and leaves a 3 year old orphan? You grab the brass ring and get on board! This is what happened to Rachel. An older college student has a life-changing experience and has to adjust quickly. Her niece's life depends on it. Rachel knew what it was to grow up without parents and she did not want this to happen to her sister's child. Rachel grew up a very independent child and carried that into her adult life. 'Nobody wanted/helped her as a child, so why should anyone want her as an adult' was her way at looking at life.. After "letting go and letting God" take her through, she realizes that sometimes "God calms the storm but sometimes He calms the child" instead. A modern-day problem can be worked out with a modern-day miracle.
Profile Image for Tracy Sylvester.
814 reviews6 followers
September 16, 2017
Heartache, Healing, Faith and Love. Brandon Barlow is a faith devoted professor in college. He's a teacher that takes note of how his students are doing. When one of his students, Rachel Peters declines in his class he decides to get to the bottom of her troubles. Rachel's whole life was turned upside down when tragedy strikes her sister and leaves Rachel to take care of her 3 year old niece. With daily struggles of childcare, being young and trying to finish school things begin to weigh on Rachel. This story is so real you feel that you're a part of it. True to life occurrences that will tug at your heart. And the strength in faith will leaving you wanting more of Rachel, Brandon and Kendra's story!
33 reviews1 follower
February 15, 2018
This story captivates

Rachel and her five years older sister, are abandoned by their drug addicted parents. At five years, Rachel is separated from her 10 yr. Old sister. By the time the older sister , Mace, gets out of foster care, she fights for custody of her younger sister. Stints in fifteen foster homes, have taught Rachel to not trust in any body, she is left in charge of a three year old niece after the death of Mace and her boy friend in a car accident. Parents dead, toddler alive, but suffering trauma, with nightmares. The story revolves around the relationship of Rachel and her college professor., and his family. Trust is the predominant issue, along with faith.
Profile Image for Deanna.
998 reviews11 followers
December 18, 2019
Marriage of convenience/ready made family

This was a very special book. That had me shed a tear or two. Rachel has been through so much and it has left her with little faith in herself or the world around her. She is always in a state of waiting for the shoe to drop.

But then along comes Brandon with enough faith and optimism for the both of them. So much so that he offered her a marriage of convenience to save her and her niece from disaster. What Rachel doesn’t know is he is already crazy for her.

Will her years of trauma hold her back from finally taking that leap of faith, and allow someone else in without the constant fear that they will leave her. If she can she just might find a love she never knew she needed.

A must read
183 reviews
October 24, 2020
A Beautiful Love Story

This is the second book I have read of this author’s. And her second marriage of convenience book as well. But this one touched something in the heart that the other one didn’t.

Perhaps Rachel and her previous life, a life where she always expected the worse and frequently got it seemed so familiar at times. And there’s Brandon, who is so in love with her and can see her pain and continued doubt of anything good. Will his love and the peace he finds in his relationship with God ever touch her heart. You’ll have to read the book to find out.

I loved the story and will look for more books by this author. I bet you’ll love the book too.
Profile Image for Bobirley Adams.
136 reviews3 followers
July 20, 2017
Couldn't Put It Down!

Okay, this is the third book that I have read by this author (in a row) and I literally can't stop reading her books! The characters feel real, the conversation flows easily. I used to be Rachael 42 years ago and my "Brandon" (Ken) has been my rock to such a good life. I hate reviews that spoil the fun of reading the book and getting to know the characters as if they are real. My deepest wish for you is that Melanie Snitker becomes a favorite author for you as she has for me.
2,677 reviews7 followers
March 21, 2018
Sweet marriage of convenience turns to love story. Rachel was Professor Brandon Barlow's star math student, but all of the sudden she stops coming to class and talks about dropping out. Her sister has died and made her guardian of her niece and now the paternal grandparents are trying to declare Rachel unfit so they can have custody of their granddaughter. He proposes a marriage in name only with a quiet annulment later to help her out, but what he didn't expect was that he would fall in love and want to be a family forever.
Profile Image for N.W. Moors.
Author 11 books158 followers
August 15, 2018
When Brandon offers Rachel a chance to resolve some of her problems, she isn't sure she should take his help. She is trying to gain custody of her niece after her sister's death, she's being evicted, and has to drop out of school. Brandon is attracted to Rachel, but he just wants to help her after praying on the matter.
This is a sweet Christian romance. Brandon and his family are wonderful people. Rachel is a little prickly at first, but she learns that it's okay to have help sometimes. A very nice story.
February 21, 2019
A wonderful story. It is nice to see a wonderful Christian story with so many positive situations in the story. This story is a bright diamond among so many stones. Our world needs more of this type of stories for our young generation because they seem so lost along their journey in this life. These are the type of books, movies and tv programs they need.

A wonderful story! It’s nice to see a wonderful Christian story. This is what our young generation needs. This story is a beautiful diamond among all the rocks.
Keep up this wonderful type of stories.
56 reviews1 follower
March 6, 2020
This book has two of my favorite sub-genres: marriage of convenience and found family. and I just loved how Brandon slowly chipped away at Rachel's distrust, fears and reservations. I also loved the running theme of trusting God through the storms of life. he doesn't always remove them, but he definitely holds us in His arms through each and every one. Excellent, excellent book! though this was my first read by Melanie D. Snitker, it definitely will not be the last! I do believe I've found a new favorite author to my ever-growing collection.
Profile Image for Alyssa.
532 reviews7 followers
March 6, 2021
I liked the plot of this but this book did not hit the marks for me as a Christian Romance. I mean, of course it has the two most important elements: the relationship with Jesus, and the romance of the main characters.

In my opinion, I think Christian romances should have a good journey towards having that relationship with Jesus. In the case of this book it just kind of happened. There was no decent connection with the faith when in comes to the female lead. I really thought there would be something more there.

The romance for me was okay. I like how their love developed... But there was no great big realization of that falling in love part. It just felt empty to me.

To be fair though, the book was made short. I think the plot has the potential for it to be something more.
Profile Image for MaryEllen.
1,874 reviews11 followers
April 15, 2021
Overtly Christian story with no proselytizing. The family just goes about living their life.

The characters are all really well done

There's obviously some tragic circumstances, but the story focuses on how they are handled and not the tragedies themselves. While Brandon and his family are Christians and willing to discuss their faith with Rachel, they don't push their faith on her.

Through her talks with her new mother-in-law and sister-in-law, Rachel takes a look at her motivations, her fears, and hopes... and realizes she loves her husband. :)
1,925 reviews
October 21, 2021
free ebook
christian book
she was taking care of her 3 yr old niece when her sister and her husband died in a car accident. she had been taking classes in college but had to drop out due to no money. the professor was around her age and he liked her
he was religious and asked her to marry him so she could keep custody of her niece when the dads aunt and uncle tried to get custody
she invited them to thanksgiving dinner and they decided to drop the suit so she could keep the girl
she fell in love with her husband who already loved her
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for Marylin.
1,028 reviews20 followers
July 1, 2017
What a sweet story! I truly read it in one day. It was a dear story of love and acceptance.
Melanie Snitker has a endearing way with words. They just flowed with colorful pictures of life.
This story tells of God's undying love for us and challenges us to love others. It also showed how we never really know what is happening to another person until we reach out.
Thanks Melanie for writing this story.
Displaying 1 - 30 of 137 reviews

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