Review: Losses and Gains (Cowboy Fever, Book 2) by Karen Wiesner

Losses and Gains Karen WiesnerReviewed by Sandra Scholes

The loss in this novel is what Lance Olsen, Triple Aces Ranch co-owner feels when his wife, Colleen and son are killed in a fire. Four years have passed, and not without him thinking about her, and how he will cope with her absence. He puts all his attention into his ranch, not thinking about women – his grief is too great for that, and his heart broken after what happened.

The gains are yet to be imagined for when Colleen’s sister, Janaya returns to the ranch, she doesn’t expect his reaction to her homecoming would be a bad one where he shouts at her and accuses her of being selfish. She hasn’t had the best of lives, been to the two funerals of her sister and her son, Gavin but once all the hard feelings have blown over, she finds she has fallen in love with Lance, and thinks as he has closed off his heart to other women, there will be no chance of him ever falling for her.

Janaya makes a living from appearing in radio commercials even though she could pay her months rent from the check she had got for it. She has dreams to become a successful Country and Western singer, but the gigs she got were hardly what she would call successful, as her time in bars would barely make others listen to her if it weren’t for the drinks and other entertainment around. Janaya wants to have the life Colleen and Lance had, and the idea of settling down with a husband and children suits her just fine, but for the fact she has no man to call her own and a series of jobs that won’t buy her a big enough house for a family.

Going back to Lance seems the most sensible idea, but the reception she gets isn’t one of love or caring – it’s of years of pent up frustration, anger, and sadness at what happened to Lance four years ago.

The reader will get to know a lot about Janaya and her life, and how it had disappointed her so much. She knows with the right contacts she could have been a star, but she more than knows that life isn’t paved out like that, and sometimes God or fate has a different role for her. I found this to be a love story that grows out of desperation, and hurt from a great loss. Lance has to leave the hurt inside him, and let love grow instead; maybe get rid of some of the frost off his heart for a change. Janaya acts as his hope later, and readers can gain a lot from reading it.

Rating: ★★★★☆

Buy: Losses And Gains [Cowboy Fever Series Book 2]

Review + Giveaway: Big Sky Country (Parable, Book 1) by Linda Lael Miller

big sky countryHero: Divorced Sheriff Slade Barlow’s father is the richest rancher in Parable, Montana, but illegitimate Slade was never acknowledged… until his passing. Slade is claimed for the first time in John Carmody’s will and given half of the Whisper Creek Ranch. Hutch, his half-brother and the legitimate heir, is not thrilled. He is not inclined to share – the ranch or the girl.

Heroine: Joslyn Kirk used to live as a spoiled popular rich girl, until her stepfather cheated many in town of their life savings. After his death in prison, Joslyn returns to Parable hoping to make amends for his actions. She sells her software company and quietly pays back those who were defrauded. Her return to town is not an easy one, many are suspicious of her.

Romance is complicated by life – Joslyn is Hutch’s high school sweetheart and Slade’s teenage stepdaughter, Shae, wants to come live with him.

Review: Two feuding cowboys? I’m in! The competitive give and take, back and forth, between Hutch and Slade really make the book. Nicer still is the positive turn to the rivalry later in the story.

I never really understood why Joslyn wouldn’t continue making computer software as she could always start another business for it. It seemed strange to waste her college education by switching over to work as a receptionist in a small town real estate agency.

I love Slade – strong, quiet, muscles, gentleman, dreamer, a good stepfather, a hot lover, a sense of humor, plus he’s a sheriff!

Rating: ★★★★☆

Buy: Big Sky Country

Excerpt from Linda Lael Miller’s Big Sky Country:

John Carmody had never once acknowledged him, in all Slade’s thirty-five years of life, and it wasn’t likely that he’d had a deathbed change of heart and altered his will to include the product of his long-ago affair with Callie.

No, Slade thought, Carmody hadn’t had a heart, not where he and his mother were concerned, anyway. He’d never so much as spoken to Slade in all those years; looked right through him, when they did come into contact, as if he was invisible. If that stiff-necked son of a bitch had instructed Maggie to make sure Slade was there for the reading of the will, it was probably so he’d know what he was missing out on, when all that land and money went to Hutch.

You can stick it all where the sun never shines, old man. Slade thought angrily. He’d never expected—or wanted—to inherit a damn thing from John Carmody—bad enough that he’d gotten the bastard’s looks, his dark hair, lean and muscular build, and blue eyes—and it galled him that Maggie, his mother’s friend, would be a party to wasting his time like this.

Buy: Big Sky Country

Follow along on the blog tour: http://booktrib.com/blog-tour-big-sky-country-by-nyt-bestselling-author-linda-lael-miller/.

GIVEAWAY: I have 1 print copy of Big Sky Country up for grabs. Open to readers living within US or Canada. Enter by leaving a comment. Last day to enter is June 8, 2012. Good luck!

Review: A Lawman’s Christmas (A McKettricks of Texas Novel) by Linda Lael Miller

Reviewed by Lynn Reynolds

Setting: Blue River Texas, December 1914.

Clay Mckettrick comes by train to be the marshal of a town called Blue River. We see that he’s in his late twenties. At the train station, he meets a young child named Edrina Nolan. She tells him, very matter-of-factly, that her father was the previous marshal. As you meet her, you will see that she is a very precocious child. Edrina has a sister named Harriet. Edrina will make you laugh and Harriet isn’t too far behind. They are both wise beyond their years.

On seeing Edrina home, Clay meets her mother Dara Rose. We see that Dara Rose is doing the best she can, under the circumstances, to take care of her family. Clay hopes to find himself a good woman and settle down. Maybe Dara Rose will be that woman.

At one point in the story, Clay stops by with two letters for Dara Rose. You get the indication that these two letters may change Dara Rose’s life – you will need to continue reading the story if you want to find out if this is true or not. Clay is definitely the hero of the story – he is a man that protects women, children, and animals (definitely my kind of hero).

During a snow storm, Clay comes into the jail to find his cousin Sawyer. But Clay is none too happy about the reunion. Will Sawyer get his own story?

Dara Rose also gets some bad news two weeks before Christmas. Our hero shows up to make things better for her. The reader will be able to tell that Clay is going to be great for the Nolan family – he’s just what they need.

This is a historical romance with more on the romance and less on the sex – the story doesn’t need it. The reader will want to turn the page just to watch the connection between Clay and Dara Rose blossom. You will also want to see what Edrina and Harriet get into.

Linda gives the reader a love story that builds over time. Any sex between the main characters comes toward the end – which is the perfect place for it to occur. She also adds a nice Christmas message into the storyline.

You will be very pleased to add this book to your collection. This book can be read on its own but if you enjoyed it, you may want to go back and read her other books in the McKettrick series. If you follow this link you can see a list of all Linda’s books by series.

Rating: ★★★★½

Buy: A Lawman’s Christmas: A McKettricks of Texas Novel

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Review: Red’s Hot Cowboy by Carolyn Brown

by Susan S., guest reviewer

Spikes & Spurs Romance Series: Book Two

Summary: Pearl Richland (heroine) has an unquenchable thirst for partying. She’s the girl friend who always lends an ear and never says no to a party. At least that was status quo ante. After her Great-Aunt Pearlita passed away, things just aren’t the same. She inherited Pearlita’s Bates motel. O.k., not really. It’s called the Longhorn Inn and she’s the new owner, but it does resemble that motel from the scary movie. Running the 25 unit 50 year old motel is putting a huge damper on her social life. As a matter of fact, it’s not just dampened it, it’s killed it.

And so it was, until a hot cowboy named Wil Marshall (hero) requests a room. Pearl doesn’t know it yet, but he’s about to turn her whole world upside down. Then again…she’s about to do the same to his!

Review: Red’s Hot Cowboy brought along plenty of side-splitting similes, witty retorts and new characters to fall in love with. A fun, often touching story about how love sometimes finds us under the most unusual circumstances. There were also some references of domestic abuse relating to Pearl’s employee and friend (Lucy). And I should tell you, when Luke gives Lucy his testimonial, I cried.

Book two may differ in plot and setting from the first in the series, but still delivers sassy independent women and the strong men fearless enough to cross their paths.

By the way, did I mention Pearl hears voices? Actually, she sometimes imagines what her great-aunt would’ve thought about her choices. Go on now; you know you want to hear Chris Young’s song, “Voices.”

Cameos: Thought bubble: How curious! Pearl has a pendant similar to Austin’s (two crossed pistols over angel wings). And yes, I do notice those things, lol.

I spied with my little eye, lots of Love Drunk Cowboy characters. There was the O’Donnell brothers (Rye, Raylen and Dewar), their sisters (Gemma and Colleen), their mother (Maddie), and Ace Riley. Ms. Brown also included updates on previous heroes and heroines, e.g., Sharlene and Holt. As well as Austin and Rye post-marriage. She gives us a six-month update on Austin you won’t want to miss!

Obituary: Pearlita Richland passes away.

Favorite Scenes:

Number 1: Room# 10 on New Year’s Eve, of course! Things get fun after eight shots of whiskey.

Number 2: December 24th at the Longhorn Inn. No one sleeps that night! That was an entertaining scene to say the least.

Favorite Characters: Wil, who’s my kinda cowboy! Gotta love a sexy dark-haired man with a Blake Shelton CD in his truck!

I absolutely LOVED Wil’s disgusting nieces (Janey and Mesa). They have enough spunk for 30 gals. I really wanted to see them in more scenes.

What’s Next? Book three, Darn Good Cowboy Christmas, I believe will release in October of 2011. Followed by One Hot Cowboy Wedding, April of 2012. I wouldn’t miss reading them for the world!

Rating: ★★★★★

Buy: Red’s Hot Cowboy, Red’s Hot Cowboy (UK)

Sourcebooks Casablanca, an imprint of Sourcebooks, Inc. Romance, Copyright August 2011, Mass Market Paperback, Print Pages 357.

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ISBN# 978-1-4022-5361-4.

 

Review: Going Cowboy Crazy by Katie Lane

Summary: Faith Aldridge goes to Bramble, Texas, looking to find her sister, Hope, the twin she never knew she had. Except that the backwards town only sees Hope and they’re determined to hook “Hope” up with her old high school flame, Slate Calhoun. Now Slate knows there’s something off about “Hope” and he doesn’t think it’s because Hollywood took away her personality and attitude. He actually likes sweet shy feminine Faith, who is a total contrast to loud, brash, tomboy Hope. A small town hides big secrets and Faith is about to learn one she never expected and now the real Hope is headed home and she wants Slate for herself.

Mistaken Identity: I don’t know how a whole town can just not “get it” when Slate gets it right away. Faith acts nothing like Hope and her style of dress and speech is galaxies away from Hope’s as well as her accent. It’s not Texan. Hello! Other than that they’re the epitome of small town characters who are nice, and sometimes rowdy, interfering busybodies. I wouldn’t mind moving there.

Review: You know its love when the heroine and reader think the guy has a nicer truck than he has a trailer. Slate’s not poor, but he’s not rich either. He’s a high school football coach. The heroine likes dogs, but could easily kill one by looking at it wrong; she’s that bad with them. She’s a computer programmer but desires to be a teacher. The two had good chemistry.

Recommended: For readers who love cowboys, twin mistaken identity plots, and heroines older than the usual late teens/early twenties.

Rating: ★★★½☆

Buy: Going Cowboy Crazy (A Deep in the Heart of Texas novel)

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Review: I Love This Bar by Carolyn Brown

by Susan S., guest reviewer

I Love This Bar is the first installment of Brown’s new Honky Tonk series. This novel includes, but is not limited to: ladies with sex on the brain, hardworking cowboys who know all about dancin’ and romancin’, an old boy that’ll outwit any youngin’, and one jean wearin’, pool playin’ old gal! Guaranteed to leave you countrified and satisfied!

Because this story basis itself around a honky tonk bar, you’re going to run into numerous country song references. Which explains why my review is split into two parts. Part I will have song references and Part II has my more traditional type review.

Ready? Let’s see your ID, all right in you go! Throw the car keys as far as you can throw `em and grab a long neck! Uh…oh-kay, you can grab that cowboy’s long neck if you’d like, but I was referring to beer. (I’m off to fire up the jukebox.)

Part I: Song Review

I Love This Bar is a beautiful story of 1. Loss 2. Love and 3. Fate. Kick up those cowboy boots, here’s the song list:

  1. Dig Two Graves sung by Randy Travis
  2. Last Day Of My Life by Phil Vassar
  3. She Said Yes by Chad Brock

Part II: Conventional Review

If you’re familiar with Brown’s Lucky Trilogy, I Love This Bar still has the author’s staple of silly sayings, like cow chips for brains and cuss words… to scorch the hair out of Lucifer’s ears. By contrast, this series has pumped up the fun, but will still give you that warm tingly feeling you’d expect from her happily-ever-after romances.

Daisy O’Dell is disenchanted after an abusive relationship, but she’s vowed to protect her heart from all men. In any event, she’s better prepared now, anyway. Daisy, heroine, runs the Honky Tonk Bar, is a vet tech, and has what all strong heroines should have. A shotgun at the ready and smart retorts that’ll make a man’s head spin faster than a weather vane in the middle of tornado alley. That’s right; she makes them toe-the-line!

Jarod McElroy, hero, just left his ranch in Oklahoma to help his uncle Emmett during his last days. Helping Emmett run his Texas ranch is driving Jarod plumb mad! That old goat is sure stuck in his ways. Jarod’s unlucky in love; his three failed engagements are nothing to boast about. When McElroy visits the Honky Tonk, this sexy dark-haired cowboy will find himself tripping all over Daisy.

Will Jarod get past her shotgun and win her heart?

My favorite scene: When Jarod shampoos Daisy’s hair. Yee-haw!

Want more? Hell, Yeah is the title of book two which releases in August of 2010. Still want more? Me too! Book three’s due out in October, titled My Give a Damn’s Busted; while the fourth installment releases in November 2010, named Honky Tonk Christmas. (Which I happen to want for Christmas!)

Rating: 5 Stetsons

Buy: I Love This Bar

Sourcebooks Casablanca, June 2010, Contemporary Western Romance, Paperback, Print Pages 366.
ISBN# 978-1-4022-3926-7.

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Review: Love Drunk Cowboy by Carolyn Brown

by Susan S., guest reviewer

Love Drunk Cowboy roped me right into its pages, branded my heart, and busted my review-o-meter. Best Western Romance…I’ve ever read!

Spikes & Spurs Romance Series: Book One

Summary: Granny Lanier passed away; leaving behind her home and watermelon farm to her granddaughter, Austin. One would think it a small comfort knowing they’ve just inherited acres and acres of land. Well, Ms. Lanier isn’t entirely sold on the idea. She’s a city gal who’s about to earn the promotion of a lifetime; becoming the dept. head of Humphrey’s Oil Co. in Tulsa.

Austin has plans for her future. So she’ll just sell the farm and continue living her dreams. But after spending the best two weeks of her life in Terral, Oklahoma, Lanier begins to question if her dreams are really her own, or her mother’s. Not only that, Granny’s neighbor (Rye O’Donnell) has started working his way into Austin’s heart. Who wouldn’t fall madly in love with a green-eyed cowboy with a sexy drawl and a stagger that’ll make anyone with eyeballs faint? Rye (hero) is everything a “cowgirl” would want. He’s hard-working, sexy, funny, and passionate. There’s only one problem. She’s… not… a cowgirl!

Will Austin find her hillbilly bone before she loses her cowboy, or will she run from Terral screamin’ and clutchin’ her sexy spikes?

Review: Review-O-Meter: Out of Order!

My review-o-meter’s busted! After reading Love Drunk Cowboy I set it so dang-high, it ticked its last rating. (Now’s a good time to play, “Some Beach” by Blake Shelton). In case you missed it, I just made a funny.

I enjoyed the Lucky trilogy and loved every second of the Honky Tonk Series, but hot-d-damn…loved everything about book one of the Spikes & Spurs Series. It’s funny and sweet and romantic. I’m not sure how the author intends to top book one, but I have every intention of finding out. This was just a crazy fun read. What draws me to Carolyn Brown’s novels again and again is her ability to take the mundane activities of daily living, then mold them into something fun. Her books also give me that happy feeling not unlike the feeling I get when I hear, “Red Dirt Road” by Brooks & Dunn. You know…that happy feeling that makes you want to sing. No matter who’s looking, or listening.

Favorite Scene(s): There were so many. I had to narrow it down to two, just to avoid giving away a hundred spoilers. I suppose the first would be where Rye carries Austin across the road to her place…while they’re kissing…in the rain. The runner-up scene would be when Lanier is in a business meeting. She’s distracted because she’s sexting with O’Donnell.

Recommendations: Recommended for readers who enjoy the friends-to-lovers trope, western romances, and feel-good reads which leave you sporting permanent smiles.

What’s Next? Book two, Red’s Hot Cowboy, will be released this fall. Will I read it? Do I enjoy reading while drinking a great cup o Joe? Insert Y-E-S (here).

Review-O-Meter arrow stuck on Rating: ★★★★★

Buy: Love Drunk Cowboy

Sourcebooks Casablanca, an imprint of Sourcebooks, Inc. Western Romance, Copyright May 2011, Mass Market Paperback, Print Pages 395. ISBN-13# 978-1-4022-5358-4

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How Cowboys Date Cowgirls

by Carolyn Brown, guest blogger and author of Love Drunk Cowboy

Thank you all so much for inviting me to come to your blog and visit again. As you know, Love Drunk Cowboy was put out in the book stores a few days ago and I’m so excited about it. I’ve told everyone who’ll stand still and listen about my new series. I even thought about renting one of those bright colored snake oil wagons like they had in the old west and parking it down on Main Street in Davis, Oklahoma and sell books out of the back. I reckon I’d wind up in jail if I tried a stunt like that.

Love Drunk Cowboy is the first book in the Spikes & Spurs series. Red’s Hot Cowboy will be coming out of the chute in September with Darn Good Cowboy Christmas right behind it in October. Then another one that’s not named yet will be coming to the bookshelves in the spring of 2012.

The series is about women who trade in their spike heels for cowboy boots and power suits for tight fittin’ jeans but keep their whoop-ass independence, and the sexy cowboys that swagger into their lives wearing spurs on their boots and who quickly find that taming a sassy woman is tougher than breaking a wild bronc.

Love Drunk Cowboy is Austin Lanier and Rye O’Donnell’s story and is set in Terral, Oklahoma on the Oklahoma side of the Red River. Terral is a tiny little town known for growing watermelons and Austin has inherited a watermelon farm from her grandmother. Her intentions are to spend her two week vacation away from the big city corporate world she inhabits, take care of her granny’s business, sell the farm and go back to her stilettos and career.

But she wasn’t figuring on Rye O’Donnell being the sexiest cowboy eye candy she’d ever seen, or him living right across the road from the watermelon farm.

Falling in love at first sight wasn’t something Rye thought was even possible. That kind of tomfoolery was for teenage girls and country singers. But it happened and poor old Rye couldn’t get Austin out of his mind or the grin off his face from day one. But how did a country boy court a big city girl? What on earth did they do for fun in watermelon country?

Well, let me tell you, cowboys aren’t the dinner and movie type of men. They’re a lot more creative than that. Take the first official date Rye and Austin went out on. They drove twenty miles up the highway to Waurika to the Rattlesnake Festival.

How about peeking in on their date?

Rye nosed the truck into a scarce parking spot. “Look like something you’d be interested in?”

“No, thank you. There’s twice as much in Granny’s house as whatever they are selling in their garage sales.”

“I wasn’t talking about that. Look out ahead of you at all the vendors. You said you were hungry.”

She pointed as she crawled out of the truck. “Oh, yes, yes, yes! I want one of everything. Gyro. Turkey leg.”

“Before or after you ride on the zipper?”

Her mind plummeted into the gutter. Ride on the zipper? Well, she’d like a ride on the cowboy after the zipper was undone. She quickly turned her head toward the Ferris wheel so he couldn’t see high color filling her cheeks. “Not me. I’d throw up. I want two rides on the Ferris wheel.”

He grabbed her hand and started up through the vendors and games. “Then let’s get started. Gyro to start with, complete with onions?”

“Yes and sometime this evening you can win me one of those big teddy bears.”

“Have you never been to a carnival?”

She shook her head. “I watched Steel Magnolias three times in one day last year and cried my eyes out every time. I loved the scene where they were at the Christmas festival. This reminds me of that.”

“Are you going to eat snake too?”

She nodded, turned, and looked right into his eyes, not a foot from her face. “Yes, I am. What does it taste like?”

He let go of her hand and put his arm around her waist, tucking his fingers into her belt loops. “Something between fish and chicken. It’s white meat. Tastes a little like frog legs.”

And after a long hard day of planting or harvesting watermelons, it’s right relaxing to take a picnic down to the Red River…imagine a sexy cowboy feeding you a morsel at a time under a big lover’s moon with a lazy old river meandering along right beside you? Oh, yes, watermelon farming isn’t so bad, when you can end a day.

Shall we peek in on them again?

He broke tidbits from a chicken leg and fed them to her then licked the chicken grease from her fingertips, lingering on each one long enough to send electricity all the way down to her curling toes. “That’s a wonderful way to eat chicken,” he said.

“Even better than the gravy and fries?”

“Better location and I don’t have to stop with just one taste. It’s like having a one-inch bite of good steak or having a whole one right there on your plate,” he whispered.

“So I’m just a chunk of steak?” she teased.

“Darlin’, you are…” he paused and kissed her passionately. “There are no words for what you are. God didn’t create them yet but when he does I’ll tell you exactly what you are to me.”

Then of course there’s always the watermelon wine…oh, my, that does bring on the good times! Like the front of the book says…was it her blue eyes or the watermelon wine? If all else fails break out a bottle and see how much fun you can have!

Thank you so much for letting me talk about Love Drunk Cowboy today…now tell me what you’d like to do with a cowboy for fun after a long day in the watermelon fields?

LOVE DRUNK COWBOY BY CAROLYN BROWN – IN STORES MAY 2011

She’s a Self-Made City Girl…

High-powered career woman Austin Lanier suddenly finds herself saddled with an inherited watermelon farm deep in the countryside. She’s determined to sell the farm, until her new, drop-dead sexy neighbor Rye O’Donnell shows up…

He’s as Intoxicating as Can Be…

Rancher Rye O’Donnell thinks he’s going to get a good deal on his dream property—until he meets the fiery new owner. Rye is knocked sideways when he realizes that not only is Granny Lanier’s city-slicker granddaughter a savvy businesswoman, she’s also sexy as hell…

Suddenly Rye is a whole lost less interested in real estate and a whole lot more focused on getting Austin to set aside her stiletto heels…

Buy: Love Drunk Cowboy

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Carolyn Brown is an award-winning author who has published 36 bestselling romances for the library market. She now writes bestselling single title cowboy and country music mass market romances. Born in Texas and raised in southern Oklahoma, Carolyn and her husband now make their home in the town of Davis, Oklahoma. Carolyn’s next book, Red’s Hot Cowboy will be in stores in August 2011, followed by Darn Good Cowboy Christmas in October 2011. For more information, please visit www.carolynlbrown.com and www.sourcebookscasablanca.com.

GIVEAWAY: I have 2 copies of Love Drunk Cowboy. Open to US and Canadian readers only. Enter by leaving a comment. 1 entry per relevant comment; multiple entries allowed. Last day to enter: May 20, 2011.