FIRST KISS WITH A COWBOY by Sara Richardson

July 12, 2020

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Silverado Lake, Book 1

From the publisher:

In national bestselling author Sara Richardson’s first book in the Silverado Lake series, “the pace is fast, the setting’s charming, and the love scenes are delicious” when a risk-taking cowboy convinces a no-nonsense writer to give him a second chance (Publishers Weekly, Starred Review) — includes a bonus story by AJ Pine!
Shy and sensible romance writer Jane Harding’s carefully ordered life is crumbling around her. With her latest novel due and her teaching contract at an end, returning home to help plan her best friend’s wedding is a welcome distraction. Yet when Jane discovers that the too-hot-to-handle boy who once tempted her is now the best man — and the rodeo circuit’s sexiest bull rider — her distraction is in danger of becoming a disaster . . .
Toby Garrett is no stranger to risk. But this latest injury could end his rodeo career for good. Thankfully, his recovery at home isn’t as awful as he’d imagined, especially when he comes face-to-face with Jane. The kiss they once shared still fuels his fantasies, but when she walked away, he let her go. Now Toby is determined to fix his mistakes. Can this sweet-talking cowboy prove that the passion still burning between them is worth braving the odds?

Toby and Jane shared a kiss back in high school, but he was off to join the rodeo, and she was off to college. Unbeknownst to her hometown, Jane has become a romance novelist under a pseudonym. Like many writers, she also has another job as a teacher. But when her contract is up, she heads home to figure out her next move. Her best friend is getting married, and that will keep her busy for a while. But then she finds out Toby is the best man and things start changing.

Unrequited young love is a favorite trope of the romance genre, although it’s not necessarily my favorite. But Richardson does a really good job here, and this was a fun, sexy read. I’m looking forward to the next book in the series.

NOTE:  On the cover of this book it says “includes a bonus story by AJ Pine.” I read the digital galley supplied by the publisher and the bonus story was not included. I cannot comment on that except to say I really like AJ Pine’s books.

5/2020 Stacy Alesi, AKA the BookBitch™

FIRST KISS WITH A COWBOY by Sara Richardson.  Forever (May 19, 2020). ISBN 978-1538717158. 432p.

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MY KIND OF COWBOY by R.C. Ryan

May 29, 2020

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Wranglers of Wyoming Series, Book 1

From the publisher:

This New York Times bestselling author delivers a “page-turning romance” (Nora Roberts) about a city girl on the run and the strong, protective cowboy who keeps her safe.

Brand Merrick is a take-charge cowboy who considers relax a four-letter word. So when an injury lands him six weeks of physical therapy, he intends to keep right on working-until his grandmother hires a therapist to stay at their family ranch. He’s not used to following orders, or slowing down, but Avery Grant has a way of getting him to do things he’d never thought he’d do . . .

Avery hates to admit it, but this super sexy rancher is testing her patience…and her professionalism. She’s a born-and-bred city girl, yet she finds herself drawn to the rugged wilderness and the equally rugged cowboy she’s here to help. But when a threat from her past follows Avery to Montana, it’s Brand who rides to the rescue-if only she’ll put her trust in him, and the growing feelings in her heart.


I still feel somewhat new to the whole cowboy romance genre as I’ve only been reading them for a couple of years. But even I know that the physical therapist is a common trope and one that I like.

Brand is deeply unhappy since he got hurt. He doesn’t talk unless you count grunting at his family when absolutely necessary. No one has seen him smile for a while. So when his mother hires a physical therapist to come stay at the ranch and work with him, he is determined to chase the guy off quickly. But to everyone’s surprise, Avery turns out to be a woman.

Three generations share this large house and work the enormous ranch. Avery quickly realizes she is not going to have it easy, but she manages to figure out a way to help Brand despite his best efforts to thwart her. Of course the fact that he is attracted to her helps a bit!

Not everything is paradise though. Avery has been having an issue with someone who appears to be threatening her. She had a few incidents at home before she came to the ranch, but once there she starts getting threatening texts from an unknown number. That adds another layer to this story.

Once his family sees how much Brand has improved, both physically and emotionally, they are all on board with Avery. And Avery and Brand get their happily ever after. A very enjoyable read.

NOTE: This book is billed as “Two full books for the price of one.” I read the digital galley supplied by the publisher and I did not have two novels, just the one story. So I cannot comment on whatever else is supposed to be included, which according to the cover is “a  bonus novel by Carolyn Brown.”

5/2020 Stacy Alesi, AKA the BookBitch™

MY KIND OF COWBOY by R.C. Ryan. Forever (April 28, 2020). ISBN 978-1538716847. 656p.

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TOUGH TALKING COWBOY by Jennifer Ryan

April 7, 2020

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Wild Rose Series, Book 3

From the publisher:

Return to Montana as a tough-talking cowboy meets his match in Jennifer Ryan’s newest Wild Rose Ranch novel.

Ex-Army Ranger Drake McGrath has come home to Montana, locked in a battle with himself, lashing out at those who love him most—driving away his ex-fiancée and alienating his family. But Adria Holloway sees beyond Drake’s tough talk to the raw pain beneath.

Raised with her twin sister Juliana by a neglectful mother at the Wild Rose Ranch, Adria also struggles to put the trauma from her past behind her. To help them both, she makes Drake a shocking deal—a no-strings relationship that’ll help them both face down their demons. Maybe it’s a way for her and Drake to heal each other, one sizzling night at a time…

The heat between them is instant and incredible. But the biggest challenges are yet to come. With Juliana battling her addiction and Drake working on his issues, Adria realizes she can’t save everyone. But Drake and Adria discover love can survive tragedy and loss—and they can have the life they never thought possible if they just hold on.


This is the third book in a series that has turned into one of my favorites, and this may be the best book yet.

Drake is a veteran suffering from physical ailments after being shot up while overseas. He is also suffering from PTSD, has hallucinations, paranoia, you name it. And need I say he is not exactly a joy to be around? Luckily, his brothers love him and are putting up with his grunting instead of talking, and his hair-trigger temper.

Adria also has survived trauma and recognizes that bit of herself in Drake. They have an immediate connection and decide on a relationship that will help them overcome their issues in the bedroom, but with no strings. As if. Adria is also dealing with her identical twin sister, who she gets into rehab after she almost dies. Drake is a good distraction from worrying about her sister.

All these characters need to overcome a lot and the struggle is real – or at least, it feels real. This was a very layered story and one that will be staying with me for a long time. Highly recommended.

4/2020 Stacy Alesi, AKA the BookBitch™

TOUGH TALKING COWBOY by Jennifer Ryan. Avon (March 31, 2020). ISBN 978-0062851925. 400p.

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COWBOY FOR HIRE by Victoria James

March 31, 2020

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Wishing River Series, Book 2

From the publisher:

When a shy woman inherits a ranch, she’ll have to find an inner strength to succeed―and open herself up to love―in this heartwarming novel from New York Times bestselling author Victoria James.

Sarah Turner has led a very sheltered life. So when her parents pass away tragically, suddenly she’s left in charge of the family ranch with little know-how but plenty of will to keep it afloat. Determined not to lose her parents’ legacy or her newfound independence, she needs a hero fast―not to save her, but to show her how to save herself. But she’s unprepared for the ruggedly handsome cowboy who answers her ad.

“Cowboy for Hire,” the ad said, and Cade Walker is quick to respond. Betrayed as ranch manager by his former boss, he’s looking for a new place to put down roots―without the pressure to prove himself again. Except when he meets his new boss, it’s clear he’s not only there to run a ranch but to also teach Miss Independent how to run it. But as they struggle to make the ranch flourish, they’ll both need courage if they hope to find a family…together.

Each book in the Wishing River series is STANDALONE:
* The Trouble with Cowboys
* Cowboy for Hire


This is the second book in the series, and even though the publisher proclaims each book to be a standalone, I was a little lost in the beginning. I didn’t fully understand why Cade was leaving his job for this new one, and there was definitely a story behind his best friend’s marriage. But that’s just the first few pages and in the long haul, it didn’t matter and some of that became clear. I wouldn’t even have thought about it or mentioned it here except for that publisher proclamation.

Sarah is a young woman who has been extremely sheltered for most of her life. When she was a child, her brother died, and that caused the family to just implode. The only stability came in the form of their housekeeper, who is still watching out for Sarah now that her parents are gone. Sarah inherited the ranch where she grew up, except she was never allowed to have anything to do with it. When her foreman takes off, she is desperate to hire someone immediately, and hopes to learn from them. She gets real lucky when Cade enters her life.

Cade also has a lot of baggage, and like so many men, chooses to keep it all a secret. But some of his friends have pieced together the gist of it all, and luckily, they step in when he needs it most. Sarah and Cade grow very close, but Cade knows his place and it’s not in his boss’s bed, no matter how much they both want that.

I really liked how the story played out, I thought it was very well done. There were some laughs, and some tears as well. I am looking forward to the next book in this series.

3/2020 Stacy Alesi, AKA the BookBitch™

COWBOY FOR HIRE by Victoria James. Entangled: Amara (March 31, 2020). ISBN 978-1640638211.  359p.

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A COWBOY UNDER THE MISTLETOE by Jessica Clare

December 8, 2019

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The Wyoming Cowboys Series, Book 3

From the publisher:

‘Tis the season for starting over for one military man turned cowboy in this new novel by the New York Times bestselling author of The Cowboy and His Baby.

Former Navy master-at-arms Jason Clements is down on his luck and calling in one last favor. His cousin has secured him a job opportunity as a cowboy working at Price Ranch in Wyoming. Too bad Jason has never even saddled a horse. If he can keep this job without his PTSD getting in the way, it’ll be a Christmas miracle.

Local busybody Sage Cooper loves Painted Barrel something fierce, but it’s time for her to move on. Since her father passed away, the family ranch feels too big for just her, and there’s no chance of finding a husband in this small town. To the rest of the world, she’s just another local fixture, known for her closet full of ugly Christmas sweaters and being perpetually single.

It isn’t until Jason shows up in desperate need of a cowboy crash course that Sage discovers a tall, dark, and handsome reason to stick around. And with the holidays coming up, Sage is in need of a date for a special event—maybe they’ll turn out to be each other’s best Christmas present.


This romance ticked a lot of boxes that I really like; damaged characters, small town, cowboys, and Christmas.

Sage has no self-esteem. Living in this small town, she’s had a long-standing crush on a man who is about to marry. Someone else. She lost her mom as an infant, and her dad fairly recently, leaving her alone on a big ranch in a big empty house. She has decided to sell the ranch in the spring, and move to a larger community, in hopes of meeting someone.

Jason suffers from PTSD, but his cousin landed him this job as a cowboy, of all things. He’s never even been on a horse, much less a ranch. Desperate for help, he wanders into what passes for a library in this small town, a few shelves of books and the town’s only employee, Sage. She ignores his symptoms and lends him a helping hand with a crash course in ranching. Sage has a calming effect on Jason, and a relationship begins.

This was a warm, holiday read filled with love and grace and hope. A wonderful holiday romance!

12/19 Stacy Alesi, AKA the BookBitch™

A COWBOY UNDER THE MISTLETOE by Jessica Clare.  Berkley (October 15, 2019). ISBN 978-1984804006. 320p.

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RESTLESS RANCHER by Jennifer Ryan

November 17, 2019

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Wild Rose Ranch Series, Book 2

From the publisher:

If you like bad-boy heroes, western settings, and a sexy, sassy heroine you will love Jennifer Ryan’s newest Wild Rose Ranch book! Perfect for fans of Diana Palmer, Linda Lael Miller, and Jodi Thomas.

One minute down-on-his-luck rancher Austin Hubbard slept soundly, the next, a sassy spitfire dumped a pitcher of water on his head and woke him up—in more ways than one. Hired to help him rebuild his ranch, Sonya Tucker ends up helping him put the tattered pieces of his life back together. The capable, all-business accountant is on a mission to get the ranch up and running, but can he convince the temptingly beautiful woman to take a chance on him?

Sonya was dismayed that Austin had lost it all: money, family, respectability. Things she—who’d been raised by her mother at Nevada’s notorious brothel Wild Rose Ranch—only dreamed about. But working with the long, lean cowboy shows her that Austin is honorable to his core. Together they slowly grow to see what the love between them might bring.

But then Austin’s powder keg of a family feud explodes, exposing long-buried secrets, and threatening their new-found love…


Just when I was thinking I hadn’t read a good cowboy romance in a while, this one dropped in my lap. I liked the first book in this series, but I think this one is even better. I guess like the premise of a smart woman bossing around a cowboy! At least here, it really works. It sort of turns on its head the cowboy saving the woman, although there is a hint of that as well. But mostly Sonya is fierce and in charge.

Both of these characters have a lot of baggage and troubling backgrounds, and they both can appreciate that in the other. I couldn’t help but root for them to get together, but first, they had to learn to trust one another. Another good cowboy romance!

11/19 Stacy Alesi, AKA the BookBitch™

RESTLESS RANCHER by Jennifer Ryan.  Avon (November 12, 2019). ISBN 978-0062851901.  384p.

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TO TAME A WILD COWBOY by Lori Wilde

June 18, 2019

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Cupid, Texas Series, Book 7

From the publisher:

What would it take to tame a wild cowboy?

One minute, Rhett Lockhart is a love ‘em and leave ‘em bull rider with a slow, sexy smile, a swagger, and not a care in the world. The next, he learns his free-wheeling days are over: a baby has been abandoned in the hospital, and there’s no question: he’s the father. But from the first moment he gazes into his daughter’s eyes, he knows the moment has come to say ‘no’ to no-strings. It’s time to grow up.

Standing in his way is the baby’s foster mother, Tara Alzate, who doesn’t quite believe Rhett is ready to change his ways. Still, she’s not not immune to his considerable charms. So when he proposes a marriage of convenience and shared custody, against her better judgement, she says “I do.” Can Tara tame this wild cowboy and make her own, long-buried dreams come true?


This was a great read – made me wish I had read the six previous books in the series! Guess I’ll be hunting them down.

These characters were really brought to life and I couldn’t help but get caught up in their stories. Tara is a neonatal nurse who has taken this abandoned baby home with her. When she finds out who the father is, she knows there may be some issues as they have history. And Rhett suffers from Peter Pan syndrome. Having a baby forces him to grow up in a hurry, especially a baby with all the problems of an early premie.

If you like these contemporary cowboy romances, then pick this one up. If you haven’t read any, this is a terrific place to start!

6/19 Stacy Alesi, AKA the BookBitch™

TO TAME A WILD COWBOY by Lori Wilde. Forever (May 28, 2019). ISBN 978-1538748718.  400p.

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COWBOY REBEL by Carolyn Brown

June 11, 2019

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Longhorn Canyon Series, Book 4

From the publisher:

A wild Texas cowboy is about to meet his match in an ER nurse in this heartwarming romance from a USA Today bestseller, which includes a bonus novella from Annie Rains.

Ever since losing his best friend in a motorcycle accident, Taggart Baker wants to make every moment count. No dare is too dangerous, no adventure too crazy for this cowboy. But after one bad brush with the law, he realizes it’s time to ditch his hooligan friends and grow up. Now he’s running his own ranch next to the Longhorn Canyon spread in Texas. Still, no one would ever call him tame.
Nikki Grady has worked too hard for her RN license just to throw it away for some reckless cowboy who shows up in her emergency room after a barroom brawl. But she can’t help being drawn to Tag’s sense of humor and those crystal blue eyes. The more time they spend together, the more she sees his good heart. But just as Tag seems ready to settle down for good, his troubled past comes calling-and this time he won’t be able to walk away so easily.

I liked these characters and I liked the story. What I didn’t like was the writing. It felt very stilted to me, especially the dialogue. I had trouble getting through the book because of that, but I liked the characters enough, and was invested enough in their story, to stick with it.

Another big disconnect for me was all the references to country music songs throughout the book. The characters motivations were often (and annoyingly) credited to some country song or another. They often communicated by talking about a song. Several times. I am sorry to say that I am not a fan of country music, so I was not familiar with any of the songs mentioned in the book. For what it’s worth, I have heard of most of the singers mentioned. But that aspect of the book was just lost on me. I have read many cowboy romances, and have run across an occasional mention of a song. I have even looked up a song or two to see why it was referenced and I was fine with that. But this was just too much for me.

I haven’t read the other books in this series so maybe that was another part of my disconnect here. In fact, I’ve only read one other of her books, The Magnolia Inn, and I liked that one a lot – but it wasn’t a cowboy romance. Although I’m not sure why that would matter. If you love country music, you may very well love this book. Unfortunately, I didn’t.

6/19 Stacy Alesi, AKA the BookBitch™

COWBOY REBEL by Carolyn Brown. Forever (May 28, 2019). ISBN 978-1538748718.  400p.

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SECOND CHANCE COWBOY by A. J. Pine

April 27, 2019

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Crossroads Ranch Series, Book 1

From the publisher:

Ten years ago, Jack Everett left his family’s ranch without a backward glance. Now, what was supposed to be a quick trip home for his father’s funeral has suddenly become more complicated. The ranch Jack can handle—he might be a lawyer, but he still remembers how to work with his hands. But turning around the failing vineyard he’s also inherited? That requires working with the one woman he never expected to see again.

Ava Ellis broke her own heart the night she let Jack go. She was young and scared—and secretly pregnant with Jack’s baby. Now that he’s back and asking for her help, Ava sees her opportunity to right the wrongs of the past. But how will he feel about the son he’s never known? Could this be their second chance—or their final heartbreak?


I’m including an excerpt from my review of Hard Loving Cowboy, book 3 in the series, the why of which will become clear in a moment.

I read the third book in this series, Tough Luck Cowboy, which I mistook for the second book, but somehow missed the first (not unusual for me!) and the actual second book. Maybe. Apparently Amazon is as confused as I am about the order of this series! I am going to have to backtrack and find them because I know there are holes in the background that I’m missing.

So first things first, as my mother used to say, do as I say, not as I do, and read this series in order! I am investigating. Because of my little bit of confusion, I skipped reading the bonus novella but I’m sure I will get to that eventually.

So I found this book, the first book in the series, at my library. Yay, libraries! Which reminds me, do you all know about the Google Chrome and Firefox library extension? This is the coolest thing ever! I tweeted about it and facebooked and then CNET wrote about it:

This browser extension shows you which Amazon books are available free at your local library. Available for Chrome and Firefox, the insanely great Library Extension saves you time and money.

I don’t know about you all, but I am all about saving time and money. I work full time as a librarian and do this blog and I’m working on a book as well and I read about a book a day so time is definitely precious. As for saving money, well, here is one of my favorite librarian “jokes,” in quotes because, well, maybe more true than funny?

What’s the difference between a large pizza and a librarian?

A large pizza can feed a family of four.

And after all those digressions, back to my review of the first book in this terrific series.

Having read the later books, I sort of knew what was going to happen, mostly because these characters are so memorable. Nonetheless, it was fun seeing how it all got started. Why Jack, an attorney, is primarily running a winery. Why all the brothers are so close. Why they are all attracted to strong women. Well, pretty much every romance written in the past few years has strong women protagonists. The helpless female being rescued by the strong male is no longer. He may save her a time or two, but he knows damn well that she could probably have saved herself.

So great characters here. Ava is a frustrated artist who had to make a living instead of making art but she’s never given up her dream. The surprise child, a popular trope in romance, works which probably explains its popularity. The chemistry between Jack and Ava is strong and fiery, and a treat to observe. All in all, I’m very glad I hunted down this book and will stick to my assertion that this is a series that is best read in order. But do read it, especially if you like cowboys, because it is a really fun and sexy series.

Crossroads Ranch Series, in order according to Amazon, sometimes:

  1. Second Chance Cowboy (Crossroads Ranch Book 1) Feb 27, 2018
  2. Saved by the Cowboy (Crossroads Ranch Book 2) Aug 7, 2018 (according to the author’s website, this is book 1.5 so maybe a novella?)
  3. Tough Luck Cowboy (Crossroads Ranch Book 3) Aug 28, 2018 (according to the author’s website, this is book 2)
  4. Hard Loving Cowboy (Crossroads Ranch Book 4) Mar 26, 2019 (according to the author’s website, this is book 3)

So according to the author, I’ve now read books 1, 2, and 3 and there is no book 4. I can’t borrow “Saved by the Cowboy” from my library so I guess I’ll have to cough up a few bucks and buy it for my Kindle. Stay tuned…

4/19 Stacy Alesi, AKA the BookBitch™

SECOND CHANCE COWBOY by A. J. Pine. Forever (February 27, 2018). ISBN 978-1538727065.  320p.

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COLORADO COWBOY by Sara Richardson

April 15, 2019

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Rocky Mountain Riders, Book 5

From the publisher:

Come home to Topaz Falls, Colorado where a down-on-her-luck bull rider falls for the cowboy she can’t resist in this heart-warming western romance!
As a champion barrel racer, Charity Stone has learned to hold her own in the male-dominated rodeo world. There’s no cowboy she can’t handle…except for one. Officer Dev Jenkins has made it clear he doesn’t look at her like one of the guys. He’s caught her attention but Charity doesn’t do relationships–especially not with a cowboy. When she suddenly finds herself in charge of her thirteen-year-old nephew, who’s had a few brushes with the law, Charity has no choice but to ask for the deputy’s help.

Dev hasn’t stopped fantasizing about Charity since she moved to Topaz Falls, but she’s been hell bent on keeping her distance. When she comes to him for help with her nephew, he finally has the chance to make his move. Winning her over won’t be easy, thoughespecially when her nephew’s mistakes start to threaten his town. How can he do his job and still convince Charity he’s the cowboy for her?

Includes the bonus story “Unbroken” by Jay Crownover!

I started this series by reading the fourth book True-Blue Cowboy, and at that time, it felt like I must have missed something by not reading the earlier books in the series. With this fifth book, I didn’t have that feeling. In fact, I didn’t even realize it was a series book until after I’d read it. To me, that says a lot about the writing – this book easily stands alone. From what I can surmise, this series is set in the town of Topaz Falls, Colorado, but beyond that, I’m not sure what else crosses over.

I loved, loved, loved the strong female protagonist in this book. Charity isn’t looking for a cowboy, she is one. Cowgirl. Whatever. She’s a rodeo star in her own right which was a refreshing change to me. I’ve read a lot of cowboy romances and while there have been some strong women for sure, I don’t remember one that felt turned on its head like this one. The man in the other half of this equation is a cop, not a cowboy; well, not a rodeo star at any rate. He does help work his family ranch so he can wear the cowboy hat without irony.

There are a lot of family dynamics at play here, the subplots are as interesting as the main romance. This was a terrific story and I highly recommend it.

If you’d like to read them in order (and tell me what I’m missing!) here you go:

  1. Hometown Cowboy, Book 1
  2. Comeback Cowboy, Book 2
  3. Renegade Cowboy, Book 3
  4. True-Blue Cowboy, Book 4

 

4/19 Stacy Alesi, AKA the BookBitch™

COLORADO COWBOY by Sara Richardson. Forever (April 2, 2019). ISBN 978-1538712276.  448p.

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