Tag Archive | Western

Spatzle Speaks: Whitney’s Vow Book Review

Mom has been busy getting the garden in and wouldn’t log me on so I could post a review of her very own book! As a dog it’s hard for me to type in the password to her laptop.

Mom told me that her author friend, Loree Lough had posted this photo (on the right here) on Facebook and stated that it looked like the cover of a romance novel. Mom thought Loree should write it but then opted to make the attempt herself.

Whitney’s Vow is the end result. A romantic suspense which is a newer genre for mom although most of her Gothic Regencies have those elements as well as some of her contemporary romances. Her publisher gave it a different cover which I think looks great.

Let me tell you a little about Whitney’s Vow. First of all Whitney was raised in a more affluent household but going to a public college cut her off from the purse strings of her parents and there she met Blake Anderson. They began their marriage on a beach along with four other friends from college.

Fast forward seven years and Whitney stays home at Rebel Falls Ranch in Montana, manages to make quilts, read books, garden and ride horses. Oh, and she’s a crack shot as well. Blake, however, is often gone for stretches of time doing some kind of undercover military operations with his team. Whitney is clueless about those operations, much less the actual day to day of running the ranch or their finances.

All of that comes to a head when she is informed that Blake is dead and that their beloved ranch is being forclosed on. The only way out is with an arranged marriage set up by her father. Whitney doesn’t want to remarry. She’s desolate…and vulnerable.

Blake is not dead and returns home just in time to stop the wedding and together they begin to unravel the lies and deception that brought them to that point. Whitney learns a lot about the ranch, and her husband’s military operations and undergoes a torturous journey to their happily ever after. Whitney becomes a part of the solution instead of a victim and I am happy to state she gets a dog too! (My favorite part!). Of course I’m biased and think you should read this book…but I will warn you, you might not be able to put it down! I give it five bones, because I’m a dog and that’s how I role!

Spatzle Baganz, book reviewer for the silygoos blog because that’s how we roll.

Tried and True (Book Review)

Tried and TrueI had the opportunity to get a copy of Tried and True (Wild at Heart) by Mary Connealy in exchange for a review. Now this is not an onerous task by any means. Mary’s style of writing her westerns has always been flavored with a unique voice that adds a bit of humor to even the most challenging situations her characters encounter.

Tried and True was no exception to this as she starts a new series, Wild at Heart that I suspect will follow the adventures of the Wilde sisters who, in disguise, fought in the Civil war after their brother was killed. Their father is a bit wrapped up in his grief and they’ve traveled west to homestead using their time served to help pay for the time needed to claim a homestead.

That plan however is a bit unnerved by the fact that Kylie Wilde, the youngest sister, really likes being a woman. While wearing pants has its advantages at times, she likes her hair long and wearing skirts and dreams of a more civilized life in the East.

She encounters land agent Aaron Masterson who  quickly discovers the ruse the girls have plotted to gain their land. Can he let them keep their secret as he falls in love with Kylie? He just wants to finish his job and move far from civilization as possible.

As both struggle to reconcile their conflicting dreams with their growing attraction, outside forces threaten to tear them apart. Kylie has a choice to make to follow her heart and desire for this man over her desire for tea parties and pretty dresses. Can she give that up and live in the untamed West?

I love Mary’s writing and her characters are lively and I look forward to reading the rest of this series. This was a book that was hard to put down and I smile every time I think about it, because it was just that enjoyable. Kudos again to Bethany House for their amazing cover design.

Beautiful Bandit (Book Review)

BeautifulBanditCoverCompLoree Lough has written over 100 books . . . so I went to the library to see which ones they had on the shelves. She must be popular because of the many they carried I could only find one, Beautiful Bandit (Lone Star Legends V1), and was instantly hooked. I loved her ebook Jake Walker’s Wife which was also had a western feel. Loree didn’t disappoint me with this story either.

Joshua Neville is a pretty calm rancher, part of a big family but carrying deep loss inside him. When he travels to San Antonio to broker a deal for sale of some land, he witnesses the aftermath of a bank robbery that left three men dead. The strangest thing about it though was that from where he stood, the leader of the criminals was a . . . woman?

Kate Wellington had been gullible and duped by Frank who kidnapped her and holding her at gunpoint threatened to kill friends and neighbors as he robbed the bank. She was horrified at the events and held captive and abused by the brutal and narcissistic criminal. She managed to escape and stumbled into Josh’s camp as he is heading home. She changed her name to ‘Dinah’ and feared the Texas Rangers would be after her if Frank doesn’t get to her first. She talks Josh into escorting her across the Mexico border but when she hurts her ankle, he takes her to his ranch to heal instead.

Dinah struggles with her attraction to Josh but knows she has to leave or Frank will kill this family of faith she has come to love. She believes that if Josh finds out the truth about Frank, the robbery and the torture she endured, he would never want her anyway. But when the truth comes out, will Josh put his life at risk to keep her by his side?

This was a sweet romance and well written. Josh was a complex man filled with grief and conflicting emotions as he tried to respect Dinah/Kate’s wishes to leave him even as his heart dreamed of making her his wife. I’m not sure what number in her list of books this one falls, but I was glad to have stumbled up on it and enjoyed my time in its pages.

Stuck Together (Book Review)

10948 StuckTogether_mck.inddI have always enjoyed Mary Connealy’s western romances with their high adventure and lovable characters. Stuck Together is the third in the Trouble in Texas series and I was given a free copy to read of the book for the purpose of this review.

Vince Yates has sworn to never marry. As the only law in the dead-end town of Broken Wheel, he has seen enough in his life to make him weary and cynical. He suffered horribly from the Civil War but that didn’t compare to the emotional wounds left by his tyrannical father. His deepest wounds are hidden under his rough “Invincible Vince” persona.

Tina Cahill lives with her brother, Jonas, one of the men who makes up his circle of friends. She pickets the saloon and cooks for the town at the diner and gives Vince sass right and left. He enjoys sparring with her and as one of the few single women in town, watching her walk her line all the while trying to keep her out of trouble.

Trouble comes in the form of Vince’s father, mother and a sister he had been unaware of. After he had refused a summons to come home to care for his mother suffering from dementia, they had come to him. His father high-tailed it out-of-town leaving the women in Vince’s unsuspecting care. His new sister falls for a friend leaving Tina and Vince in charge of his mother, trying to prevent her from endangering herself.

More trouble comes his way that threatens the well-being everyone he loves and Vince rushes headlong into the danger to save his friends, fearing that dementia is in his future which means he can never marry the woman he loves. They all learn hard lessons about trusting God with their future as they fight for it.

I love the complexity of Mary’s characters and the humor she adds to her stories. Danger, deep friendships and faith all weave together to give a romance and a happily ever after that will make you glad you came to Broken Wheel for a visit through the pages of this book.


Head in the Clouds (Book Review)

Head in the CloudsI’ve enjoyed several of Karen Witemeyer’s historical romances and when I stumbled across Head in the Clouds, I couldn’t resist.

Adelaid Proctor wears yellow as her dad told her she was his sunshine. But dad is gone and all she has left now is a beautiful horse and the ability to teach.  She longs for a home, a family of her own. Through a series of strange events she finds herself in the middle of Texas working for an English aristocrat turned sheep farmer, Gideon Wescott.

Gideon hires Adelaid with some misgivings. She was the only governess who seemed capable of connecting with Isabella, his ward who had become mute at the death of her mother on the voyage over. Gideon’s heart ached to hear the little girl’s laughter and chatter once again, but he had a ranch to run and couldn’t be there for her all the time.

Unfortunately for everyone, Isabella’s uncle has traveled from England to try to gain access to Isabella’s trust tht had already been contested in court. As they found out from Isabella’s mother’s journal, the death of the little girls’ parents were not accidental. Gideon fears for them all, and vows to keep “his girls” safe.

Together they work to keep the little girl safe, fighting terrible odds. Will Adelaid lose it all or gain the happily-ever-after kind of love she reads about in her novels?

This was a delightful story to read and tense at times as the suspense built. I love the pluck that all her female heroine’s have and their willingness to stand against the odds. If you like Karen’s historical romances, you will enjoy this one as well.

Give the Lady a Ride (Book Review)

Over the years I’ve had the privilege of meeting many new authors on Facebook. Over time, some of them have even become friends. Friends I look forward to someday meeting face-to-face and giving a big hug to. One of them is Linda Yezak who authored the book “Give the Lady a Ride” a few years ago. I only recently had an opportunity to read and review this contemporary Western romance.

The story is a case of opposites that initially repel. Patricia Talbert is given an inheritance of a ranch that ideally would have gone to Talon Carlson who was more a son to the owners and known by them than Patricia ever was. Did they have an ulterior motive?

Patricia only knows that she needs to get back to her life managing her father’s political social calendar. She’s lonely and has found out the hard way that everyone has some agenda. So her trust issues are big.

Talon is afraid he’s going to lose the one home he’s really loved as well as the job he has poured his heart and soul into for years. In spite of all that, he’s discovering that he may also be losing his heart to the new owner.

Throw in some hot cowboys, rodeos and the danger and leap of faith it takes to ride bulls and “make the eight” and you have a delightful story of some people dealing with real issue of grief, trust and yes, love. It’s a wild ride!

I’ve admired the cover of this novel for years and I’m grateful I finally had a chance to crack the binding and enjoy the tale Linda has to tell.

Over the Edge, The Kincaid Brides, Book 3 (Book Review)

I had previously read the first book in The Kincaid Brides series and somehow missed number two before having an opportunity from Bethany House to review Over the Edge, another great novel by Mary Connealy and book three in the series.

I worried for a fraction of a second that I might have a hard time with having missed book two but that was not the case. I didn’t feel like all history  of the previous stories were retold in this book but enough that there was a solid sense of the family that the Kindcaid brothers make up and the unusual way they seem to have in acquiring wives.

A western romance taking place in Colorado, this story centers on Seth, the “crazy” brother who grins even as a woman is ready to aim at him with her rifle. He takes in the information that he is married without doubting much that it could have happened, even if he cannot remember it! Seth is truly a crazy nut of a hero but adorable for all his brokenness and pain and this story follows his rocky past, regaining lost memories, winning the trust of his bride but also finding healing for that little boy deep inside who has been tortured for years.  Add in winter,  a new-found younger brother, a son he didn’t know he had and a man eager to kill to get his hand on some diamonds all taking place around some deep and dangerous caverns and you have a wild ride of a romance and several moments of smiles along the way.

This book left me in a happy place when I finished – and that’s a lovely place to be. Definitely a fun read with lively characters! Thank you Mary for providing a wonderful romanc

Fools Rush In (Weddings by Bella, Book 1) – Book Review

Janice Thompson is the author of Fools Rush In,  that has comedy down to a science.  Bella Rossi is an Italian living in Texas and planning a country-western wedding. The clash of cultures between her Italian family and the very country family of the man of her dreams, who she meets quite by accident, culminates in a series of slap-dash, laugh out loud and make you smile like-a –silly- goon- responses as one reads.

I have rarely read a book with this much comedy so seamlessly woven in and where you can still connect with empathy for the inner struggles of the heroine of the tale, Bella. While some if it seems unbelievable it is totally realistic because hey, life IS stranger than fiction and it makes me wonder how much of this came from Janice’s own crazy life. I don’t know Janice personally so I’m only guessing here!

I highly recommend this book. For a look at Texas and Italian culture (and what happens when they mix) and the difference we all bring to any situation we find ourselves in, this book is top of the list at making fun of crazy families, especially those who don’t hide themselves but approach life with gusto and authenticity.

This book is first in a series of books called Weddings by Bella, and I am looking forward to reading the rest in the series, if they are anywhere as good as this one, the mantra of “laughter is the best medicine” will surely be a cure for the winter blues.  Keep us laughing, Janice! You have a gift for it and I’m glad you’ve shared it!