Cover Image: River Strong

River Strong

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date:

Member Reviews

This is the 2nd book in the “A Powder River Series.” I have read several of B.J. Daniels books and enjoyed all of them. B.J.’s books pull you in right from the start with action packed adventure, page turning, mystery, mayhem, drama, twists, turns, characters that pull you in their lives and plots that keep me turning page after page. River Strong takes place in Montana. The McKenna and Stafford families have a bitter family feuding rivalry going on. Even though their families are at odds with each other Duffy and Oakley are very close. The Stafford and McKenna families both have their sites set a piece of neighbor land. Oakley has two men vying for her attention. When a body is found on the land that the two families want long buried secrets are revealed. This is an entertaining read that will keep you captivated.

I received an ARC via NetGalley and Harlequin Trade Publishing, Canary Street Press and I am leaving my review voluntarily.

Was this review helpful?

This book is a rollercoaster ride from the very beginning. A neighborhood feud, a passel of well developed characters, lots of secrets (all of which are not revealed by the end), yet still time for romance.

I did not read book 1, but easily read this as a stand alone. There has been a feud between the neighboring ranches of Holden McKenna and Charlotte Stafford for years. Holden and Charlotte had been in love, but Holden's father forced him to marry Margie Smith, whose father had a larger and more advantageous ranch abutting theirs. Margie always knew that his heart belong to Charlotte, but she was sweet and he came to love her and fathered several children. Scorned, Charlotte turned around and married Rake Stafford, also having many children. Margie and Rake both died about the same time, but instead of making amends and telling her that he stilled loved her, Holden turned around and married some floozy. MEN! And then Charlotte turned around and married a good for nothing. That's the background.

Both of their older sons are spoiled good for nothings I suspected that CJ was actually Holden's son, (but no evidence to back that up). So the book starts with a body being dumped in an old cistern and middle child Oakley Stafford being shot in the back, by her big brother, CJ. Tilly Stafford and Cooper McKenna are engaged to be married and Tilly has been disowned by her mother. Oakley is best friends with Duffy McKenna and one of the McKenna ranch hands Picket Hanson. The three of them have been involved with a group of environmental saboteurs against the coal bed methane drilling rigs that are poisoning the artisan wells in the area. Oakley saw something, which is why her brother shot her, but she doesn't remember what. Picket also has quite a secret. With all this action, this book was very hard to put down.

I was gifted an advanced copy of the book from th republisher via This is my unbiased and voluntary review.

Was this review helpful?

This was a fantastic romance. I liked the plot and the characters were a lot of fun. Very much recommend this book.

Was this review helpful?

This is Cowboy Romantic Suspense, and this is the second book in A Powder River series. I have read the first book in this series before picking up this book, and I feel you really need to read the first book in this series before picking up this book. There are a lot of things that happen in this book that you would have trouble following if you had not read the first book. I really love the characters in this book. The mother in this book drives me crazy, and I hated how she favored one of her children over the other ones. This book is packed with action, suspense, and a little bit of romance. The mystery/suspense in this book had me not wanting to put this book down. I cannot wait for the next book in this series. I was kindly provided an e-copy of this book by the publisher (Canary Street Press) or author (B.J. Daniels) via NetGalley, so I can give an honest review about how I feel about this book. I want to send a big Thank you to them for that.

Was this review helpful?

So if you haven't read the previous book I suggest you check that out before getting to this one but after reading this I do recommend you checking both out.

Anyways there's a whole mystery going on that leads to now with rivalry between families and Oakley's brother shooting her probably by accident outside most likely not. Then there's also a private investigator sticking their nose into things about a missing person probably more than one.

That just goes to say there is just so much more going on with this book. So many things to follow along with so many to keep any reader hooked. Then there's a whole love triangle thing going on where Oakleys flirtatious guy friends Duffy and Pickett seems to be wanting something more but now she's got to choose. It was interesting seeing how this book played out being that there was just so many different things going on. One of them being Oakley's memory loss that was tied to her brother shooting her and wondering about the real reason why. Overall I really enjoyed myself reading it. Can't wait to see what happens next.

Was this review helpful?

River Strong is the second book in the series and so I didn’t get backstory from the first one, but I did like the three friends, Oakley, Duffy and Pickett, and the fact they’d been friends since they were teenagers. I liked the inclusion of an environmental issue and how they did all they could to try to stop it. There are family life issues and romance thrown in too, and so there are plenty of aspects to love in the plot. I still feel like I need to get book 1 and then go back to book 2 to fill in the gaps.

Powder River Valley is so atmospheric, as are all the settings in BJ Daniels books, and I can tell this although I’ve only reviewed two of her books so far, the first was Trouble in Big Timber, and I loved that too.

River Strong was enjoyable.

Thanks to BJ Daniels and Canary Street Press for my eARC in exchange for an honest and voluntary review.

4 stars

Was this review helpful?

B J Daniels is at her inimitable best with the second title in her Powder River series: River Strong.

Animosity and tension have ripped apart the Stafford and McKenna clans. The two ranching families have been feuding for years and years – and Oakley Stafford has the bullet scar to prove it. Although the two dynasties have been at war for years, Oakley and Duffy McKenna have grown up as thick and thieves. But it looks like their friendship could be in jeopardy when their families find themselves in a desperate bid for a neighboring property – and the reasons why they need to acquire it are more dangerous than Oakley knows.

There is another unspoken rivalry between Duffy and Pickett Hanson, the McKenna family’s ranch hand. Oakley has always played down the way the two ranchers flirted with her, but now she finds herself struggling to untangle the complicated feelings that could cost her the friendship that means the world to her. However, little does she realize that there will be further problems in store when a dead body is found on the contested ranch and long-buried secrets that can no longer stay hidden come out into the light…

B J Daniels never disappoints and she has written another stellar Western contemporary romance with River Strong. Absorbing, engrossing and beguiling, this enjoyable tale of secrets, tension, passion and suspense will keep readers turning the pages late into the night as they find themselves completely gripped by this first-class page-turner.

Devoted fans and newcomers to B J Daniels alike will not want to miss B J Daniels’ latest, River Strong.

Was this review helpful?

River Strong by B. J. Daniels
(A Powder River Novel Book 2)
For two rival families, the only thing that matters more than land…is love.
“You realize CJ will go berserk when he finds out about your engagement to Cooper McKenna,” Oakley said.
“I’m not worried about CJ,” Tilly said. “I’m more concerned about Mother. You know how she feels about the McKennas.”
This is Oakley STAFFORD and Duffy McKenna's story.
This is Charlotte Stafford's story.
This is C J Stafford's story.
This is Tilly STAFFORD and Cooper McKenna's story.
She shuddered, the recurring nightmare feeling so real because it had been. She’d awoken in the hospital, shocked to hear that she’d been shot just as she and her horse had burst from the cottonwoods and onto the county road. Shot in the back, she’d fallen from her horse, striking her head so hard that it wiped out all memory of two full days of her life.
Her hand went automatically to her scar near her heart where the bullet had been removed. Even after all this time, the shadowy images still plagued her, daring her to remember. What had really happened that day?
Duffy McKenna turned to see the latest addition to the McKenna Ranch standing in the doorway, one hip cocked, a smile on her cute pre-teenaged face. He touched his finger to his lips and pretended it was a secret. It actually was, but he didn’t want Holly Jo to know that any more than he did the rest of the family.
“You must like this one,” the twelve-year-old said as she plopped down in a chair to watch him finish getting ready. “You’re always looking in the mirror, messing with your hair, but you seem nervous this time.”
He turned to look at her, unable not to grin. Holly Jo was sharper than some of the people in this house gave her credit for. He needed to watch this one. “You think so, huh?”
It would be helpful to read the first book Dark Side Of the River.
I recommend this book.
River Strong by B. J. Daniels is a 4 star book.
If you like to read suspense you will love this book.
I voluntarily read an advance reader copy of this novel. The opinions expressed are my own.
A Powder River Novel
Book 1: Dark Side of the River
Book 2: River Strong
Book 3: River Justice

Was this review helpful?

3.5 stars - Yellowstone has nothing on this family drama! When I initially started reading River Strong I was so confused as to what was going on. When I looked up reviews on GoodReads, I saw a lot of people say that you have to read the first book in the series "Dark Side of the River" before starting this one, or you'd be confused the entire time, so I feel that should be a disclaimer.

I was only a few chapters in, so I paused and read the first book, then came back to this one, but man did I struggle. The storyline was captivating with a wide variety of characters, but the way it jumps between so many different POV's within each chapter, had me questioning my own sanity. It's like cramming an entire season of Dallas into one episode/book, and I had to wait until the audiobook released to finish it.

There's love lost, family rivalries, love triangles, old loves, murder, mystery, and so much more. While a few of the questions throughout the series were answered in this book, it still left me wanting more, which is what brings the reader back for more. It's worth the journey, but I would 100% recommend listening to the audio format if possible.

Was this review helpful?

Oakley has been friends with Dusty and Pickett since they were teenagers. They've grown up together and considered themselves the three musketeers. But as feelings escalate throughout their ranching community over the gas company drilling, and they band together to try to stop the drilling, their relationship changes.

Pickett has been hiding a secret past that will be revealed after he's summoned to his father's death bed. Oakley slowly regains her memory after being shot by her brother CJ while fleeing from a dangerous situation. CJ is a dangerous and unhinged man, struggling with a family situation he's unable to change.

There's non-stop action and a bit of mystery and suspense when an abandoned vehicle is found and the gas drilling situation escalates. It is book 2 in the series and I recommend reading them in order to get the best reading experience.

Although I received a free ARC ebook, all thoughts and opinions are my own. I can't wait for book 3!

Was this review helpful?

River Strong by BJ Daniels is a contemporary cowboy romance/mystery encompassing two families who have been at odds for years, and people in their periphery. Holden McKenna and Charlotte Stafford had been in love over thirty years earlier and planning their wedding, when Holden’s father convinced him that Charlotte was not right for him and he married Margie, a woman hand-picked by his father, primarily for the land she brought to the table. They had had four children and a good life. He had grown to love her. She died young and he remarried, a mistake if ever there was one. Charlotte had married a man seventeen years her senior and borne him five children. He had built her small ranch into a powerhouse and she had missed him when he was gone. Both Holden and Charlotte had second marriages, both failures. The children were all grown; some had turned out well, others, not so much. The animosity was still strong on Charlotte’s part. The plot is too complicated to try to summarize.

This was a complicated story involving drilling, meth labs and human trafficking, subterfuge, jealousy, and so much more. People died, and several more almost did, unrelated to one another. It was an all encompassing read, so full of personality and plot lines that it was difficult to put down. There was a little sex, a lot of love, and a lot of recrimination. All of it woven into a complicated plot and a series of human relationships. To say it was an excellent read would be to under rate it as a saga, which it appears it will be with at least one more book to clean up plot lines left hanging. The romances were effortless, the depth of betrayal was fearsome, and the amount of forgiveness necessary mountainous. It was an excellent read.

I was invited to read a free e-ARC of River Strong by Canary Street Press, through Netgalley. All thoughts and opinions are mine. #Netgalley #CanaryStreetPress #BJDaniels #RiverStrong

Was this review helpful?

Terrific second installment in the Powder River series. It can be read as a standalone, but you'll get more nuances if you first read Dark Side of the River. That book ended with a cliffhanger, and this one picks up where it left off.

Oakley Stafford has been friends with Duffy McKenna and Pickett Hanson since they were teenagers, despite the feud between Holden McKenna and Charlotte Stafford. The three friends have been secretly working together to stop a gas company from drilling for methane gas in the Powder River Basin. Oakley's vocal opposition to the drilling puts her at odds with her mother and her oldest brother, CJ. Oakley is still trying to regain her memory from when CJ "accidentally" shot her in the previous book.

There is a great deal happening in this book. Oakley and the rest of the anti-drilling group are fighting hard against the drilling company, which isn't going down without a fight. Oakley is convinced that there was more to her shooting if she can only remember. CJ is up to his neck in dirty dealings and secrets and will do anything to get his way. A private investigator is nosing around about Charlotte's second husband, who disappeared years ago. The sheriff is involved with a woman who isn't what she seems. Pickett has been keeping a big secret that's about to come out, and he and Duffy are looking at Oakley in a new way.

The twists and turns of this book kept me glued to the pages from start to finish. I worried about Oakley's safety as her memories began to return. I wondered what kind of havoc CJ was planning and discovered that he was worse than I suspected. The tension around the drilling continued until an intense final confrontation. A questionable suicide from the first book gets stirred up again when new information comes out.

There is some romance here, also. Oakley suddenly finds herself looking at Pickett and Duffy differently, just as they are looking at her. Oakley is confused at first because she isn't sure what she feels for each of them. I liked the realism of her struggle because it was clear she cared for both. I was rooting for Pickett because he understood her. There were some sweet scenes between them as they explored those feelings. I like Duffy, but he still has some growing up to do.

I liked catching up with Cooper and Tilly as they prepared for their wedding. The Romeo and Juliet vibe is strong because of Charlotte's fury at their relationship. I ached for Tilly because of Charlotte's cruelty. I like the support that Tilly and Oakley give each other.

There are still some loose threads hanging. Treyton McKenna is up to something. There are still questions about Charlotte's second husband. A missing person/body is still missing. I also still wonder what the story is about the teenager, Holly Jo, who Holden became the guardian of after her mother's death. I can't wait for the next book to come out.

Was this review helpful?

This is a brilliant romantic suspense read
With family dramas fuelled by individuals' greed.
But started in the past by a romance that was thwart
But no lessons were learnt by that, nor were they taught.

Despite the rivalry between their families, there's romance
With one couple engaged and maybe another chance.
The second involves Oakley but who will she choose
Will it be Duffey or Pickett Hanson who will lose?

With a brother who shot and nearly killed her before
Threatening her once more
And dangers threatening from big business, too,
Will they all survive - can they pull through?

A story where dramas are pulling families apart,
But romance could give them all a fresh start.
Can they overcome the greed of some of them now
And help heal wounds from the past somehow?

A gripping read with danger, surprises and romance
That I really hope you'll give more than a chance!
For my complementary copy, I say thank you,
As I share with you this, my honest review.

Was this review helpful?

This is the second book in the Powder River series.The series is about a feud between two families.The feud has been going on for years.I’m one who always wants to read a series in order to understand everything that is going on.I definitely recommend reading the first book in the series first which is Dark Side of the River.This series is like BJ Daniels series with lots of thrill and excitement.

Was this review helpful?

Absolutely loved this book. Could not put it down. As always, the characters were great, the plot was excited and moved along smoothly, and the conclusion left me excited for the next book. There was lots of actions, love, friendship, and a heap of drama. Highly recommend,. Cannot wait for the next book.
I received an advance copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

Was this review helpful?

River Strong by B.J. Daniels
Powder River #2

Tension, competition, and crime can be found in this contemporary Western that pits ranchers, friends, and families against one another. Reading book one of the series would provide more of the backstory only alluded to in this book but even without all the details, I was able to follow easily after I figured out who most of the main characters were.

What I liked:
* Oakley Stafford: one of five siblings, friends with Duffy and McKenna, environmentalist, against drilling for methane on the ranch, shot and nearly killed by her brother in the previous book, has a difficult brother and mother
* Pickett Hanson: ranch-hand on the McKenna ranch, good friends with Duffy and Oakley, loves his job, has a secret past, has always loved Oakley
* Duffey Hanson: younger brother, good friends with Oakley and Pickett, might be interested in Oakley, protective, not ready to settle down, curious about him
* Tilly & Cooper: a couple from the first book that seemed interesting
* The plot, pacing, setting, and writing
* Learning about how polluting the drilling can be
* Wondering who killed Dixon Malone, Charlotte Hanson’s second husband
* All of the threads that will lead to an eventual conclusion

What I didn’t like:
* Who and what I was meant not to like
* Oakley’s brother (CJ) and her mother plus the people that CJ was working with
* Not knowing all that I would have known if I had read the previous book

Did I like this book? Yes
Would I read more in this series? I think so

Thank you to NetGalley and Canary Street Press for the ARC – This is my honest review

Was this review helpful?

I really detest a few of the characters in this book: CJ, Charlotte, and Trenton.
One gets what’s coming to them but I’m still waiting on avenging the others.
I rooted for Pickett because I’m not sold on Duffy.
A couple of mysteries are cleared up but at a high price the sheriff paid, who doesn’t show a lot of good judgment.
Powder River sure has a lot of happenings for being a small ranching community.

Was this review helpful?

A page turner. Romance, family issues, lots of back stories, danger and surprises. I am eager to read the next one. Thanks to the publisher for providing a copy via NetGalley. My review is voluntary.

Was this review helpful?

B.J. Daniels does it again! River Strong, the second book in her Powder River series is another suspenseful read, but first a warning. If you've not yet read the first book in the series, Dark Side of the River, you'll find this novel confusing, because there are two feuding families, some of their ranch hands, and some of their offspring. The first novel ended in a cliffhanger, and this novel picks right up where the first book ended. 5 stars.

Oakley Stafford, daughter of Charlotte Stafford, has been friends with the son of Harlan McKenna and one of his ranch hands for years. Harlan is the man who years ago broke Charlotte's heart, and the families have been feuding ever since. The trio of friends have been trying to stop methane drilling in the Powder River Basin ever since it began by sabotaging their drilling equipment. Unfortunately, that puts Oakley at odds with her her mother's favorite, her spoiled son, CJ, who, after the end of the previous novel, ended up wheelchair bound. He's all for drilling, especially if it damages the water quality on the McKenna ranch, just across the river. After being shot, Oakley can't remember anything about the 48 hours preceding that incident, but she isn't buying that the shooting was accidental, and if she remembers all of it, she'll be in even more danger.

There's a lot more to this novel than I've mentioned, since I don't want to spoil it for you, the relationships between all the characters shift and change in dramatic fashion, there's risk, danger, violence, lies, missing persons, dead bodies, physical and emotional attacks, long held secrets and even a budding romance, and the distinct possibility that there's another Power River novel in our future. I certainly hope there is, because there were definitely a few loose ends to tie up.

I've given this novel 5 stars for it's excellent and complex plotting, character development, and romantic suspense, and I do so hope there's another Power River novel in the works. I think you'll enjoy this exciting, dangerous and hard to put down novel as much as I did.

I voluntarily read an advance reader copy of this novel. The opinions expressed are my own.

Was this review helpful?

So I think fans of this series finally have the closure for which we were waiting. From beginning to end RIVER STRONG was a string of events that caught your attention and caused those worry line between your brows to increase in intensity. Lots to learn in this book that seems to capture the essence of characters from this series. It also answered most if not all open concerns. And of course in true BJ Daniels fashion leaves just a little in gray areas to keep us thinking.

Three main characters assume most of the energy of this story. Oakley Stanford, Duffy McKenna, and Pickett Hanson. Sort of three amigos for a many years. Great deal of fondness. Friendship that has grown perhaps into something more.

Oakley is still troubled with nightmares of when her brother C.J. accidentally shot her in the back as she raced through the forest. Unfortunately, there is still a black hole in her memory of the several days surrounding the shooting. Oakley’s mother is entrenched in her care of her son, leaving Oakley to manage with the help of her sister Tilly and friends. There is something that still gnaws at Oakley about that day and what she was doing that caused her to flee from the mountain area through the forest. She had the sense of something or someone chasing her. Still not sure if it was C.J. Although he did confess.

In RIVER STRONG B.J. Daniels once again puts us through our armchair detective skills, testing us page by page to see if we get it. That’s the issue, the it, just what are we looking for. Actually we, the readers, know what happened but we are missing some key details. So page by page those missing details will become more apparent, but so much still remains murky. This is the talent of this creative author. Just enough to draw you in, but you just know there’s still something else we should know.

In RIVER STRONG Oakley’s biggest challenge will be in finding out the truth and figuring out just who she can trust. The betrayal goes deep. But searching out the truth could be dangerous. So could remaining in the dark. That’s the moral of this latest in the series by B.J. Daniels. The cast of characters is numerous and very effectively garners a range of emotions from caring, fear, anger, and troubling doubt. This series has been excellent, and the author created memorable characters. RIVER STRONG is an impressive follow-up to Dark Side of the River, the first in the Powder River series.

Was this review helpful?