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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HARD LOVING COWBOY by A. J. Pine

April 12, 2019

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Crossroads Ranch Series, Book 4

From the publisher:

This cowboy’s handsome, sexy, and definitely off limits . . .

Walker Everett spends his days at the Crossroads Ranch wrangling cattle-and steering clear of anything that would complicate his already too-complicated life. Until Violet Chastain, the ranch’s newest employee, asks him to pretend to be her boyfriend for her parents’ anniversary party. She’s the most beautiful woman he’s ever met and needs his help. How can he refuse?Violet isn’t about to fall for a brooding bad-boy cowboy, no matter how sizzling their chemistry. But she also never expected Walker to go along with the charade. Before long, he’s charming her parents at their weekly dinners and kissing her way more than necessary. Spending so much time together tests the limits of their “just friends” relationship, but what happens when their game of pretend becomes all too real?

Includes the bonus story Rocky Mountain Cowboy by Sara Richardson!


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.

The fake boyfriend is a good romance standby, and it works really well here. Violet has some serious family issues, and when Walker fakes it for her parents, too, she is really happy. Especially as she’s falling for him, despite all her reasons not to.

Walker is a good man, even if he is a cowboy. I lived in Dallas for five years in the early 80’s and rarely saw cowboys like the ones in these books. I think I mostly saw urban cowboys, thanks to the movie (John Travolta) and the TV series, “Dallas.” I lived just a few miles from Southfork and never saw them filming. I did see Susan Howard (“Donna Krebs”) in the hair salon once. But I digress.

I love this contemporary cowboy romance subgenre, and this one is pretty good. But I think it will be better once I read the other books in the 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 read books 2 and book 3 and there is no book 4. And I can’t borrow Saved by the Cowboy from my library so I guess I’ll just be missing that one. Sigh.

4/19 Stacy Alesi, AKA the BookBitch™

HARD LOVING COWBOY by A. J. Pine. Forever (March 26, 2019). ISBN 978-1538727119.  480p.

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THE TROUBLE WITH COWBOYS by Victoria James

April 8, 2019

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From the publisher:

From New York Times bestseller Victoria James comes a poignant and heartfelt romance that wraps you in a warm embrace…

Eight years ago, Tyler Donnelly left Wishing River, Montana, after a terrible fight with his father and swore he’d never return. But when his father has a stroke, guilt and duty drive him home, and nothing is as he remembers––from the run-down ranch to Lainey Sullivan, who is all grown up now. And darn if he can’t seem to stay away.

Lainey’s late grandma left her two things: the family diner and a deep-seated mistrust of cowboys. So when Tyler quietly rides back into town looking better than hot apple pie, she knows she’s in trouble. But she owes his dad everything, and she’s determined to show Ty what it means to be part of a small town…and part of a family.

Lainey’s courage pushes Ty to want to make Wishing River into a home again―together. But one of them is harboring a secret that could change everything.


This was the first book I read by this author, and it was pretty good. It is a sweet romance, centered around family dynamics and has just enough drama to keep the pages turning. The characters are well developed, even the secondary ones, and I liked getting to know them all and the small town that is pretty much another character in this story. There is a bit of mystery surrounding the family feud between Ty and his dad which makes sense as it unfolds.

Lainey’s keeping a secret from Ty. This is a common trope in romances, and not my favorite. She knows she should tell him yet there never seems to be a good time until it blows up. I guess I’m too blunt in my own life to truly understand why people do this. You’re in a relationship, be honest or get out. Just my opinion, for what it’s worth.

That is a minor quibble though. The story moves along nicely, and it is always good to end a book with a smile. I love the happily ever after found here.

4/19 Stacy Alesi, AKA the BookBitch™

THE TROUBLE WITH COWBOYS by Victoria James. Entangled: Amara (March 26, 2019). ISBN 978-1640635418.  320p.

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THE COWBOY NEXT DOOR by R.C. Ryan

February 26, 2019

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Montana Strong, Book 2

From the publisher:

From New York Times bestselling author who “delivers it all with page-turning romance” (Nora Roberts) comes a story about a down-on-her-luck teacher, a carefree cowboy, and finding second chances in the most unlikely places.
After weeks on the trail, Sam Monroe is looking forward to a hot bath, a home-cooked meal, and a real bed. In that order. But he’s greeted by something even better when he opens the door to his family’s ranch house. Seems the new housekeeper is a gorgeous young woman who cooks like an angel and wrangles his family like a pro. If only she didn’t dislike him so much…
Penny Cash is down on her luck, and the last thing she needs is a flirtation with a wild, carefree cowboy. Sure, he’s funny and sexy, but they’re as different as whiskey and tea. And she’ll be leaving town as soon as she finds a full-time teaching position. But when trouble comes calling, Penny will find out how serious Sam can be when it comes to protecting the woman he loves…

This second entry into the Montana Strong series lived up to my expectations – an how often do I get to say that. The first book, Cowboy on My Mind, had some suspense running through the story, this book does not, which was fine with me. I think this series is probably best read in order, although there are enough explanations in this book to make the reader feel comfortable if they haven’t read the first book, but not too many to be annoying. It really is a fine line and Ryan did it admirably.

It is the characters that drive these stories and they are all well developed. We learn about Sam and Penny as they learn about each other, and the rest of the characters are brought to life as well. I felt like I knew these people. The setting, a Montana ranch that abuts a small town, is equally well described and so real I could almost smell the long neck beers.  Penny Cash, aka Ms. Money, had a silly name but do a lot of real people so why not.

These books are charming, fun and a little bit sexy without being too explicit. I read these first two books in a few hours and enjoyed every minute. Looking forward to the next installment.

2/19 Stacy Alesi, AKA the BookBitch™

THE COWBOY NEXT DOOR by R.C. Ryan. Forever (February 26, 2019). ISBN 978-1538711170.  464p..

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COWBOY ON MY MIND by R.C. Ryan

February 10, 2019

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Montana Strong, Book 1

From the publisher:

A heartwarming western romance about a cowboy who gets a second chance with his first love in the rugged beauty of the Montana mountains. . .
Ben Monroe was the ultimate bad boy – and everyone in Haller Creek knew it. But now as a sheriff’s deputy, Ben spends his time breaking up bar fights rather than starting them, and staying away from trouble…until Becca Henderson comes back into town. She’s just as beautiful as Ben remembers – and just as far out of his reach.
Coming home is exactly what Becca Henderson needed. A place of her own, a successful new business, and a chance to reconnect with the sexy cowboy she had a crush on in school. Ben has always blazed his own path and never let anyone stand in his way. It excites-and scares-her. But when an unexpected threat surfaces, Becca will see just how far Ben will go to protect the woman he loves-and fight for their chance at forever.

 


This book started out very dark in the prologue, but quickly moved into the light and a wonderful story. I loved these characters, the back story, and the setting. As a Floridian, I love reading about the seasons, just not living through them! Snow on the pages is beautiful though and Ryan does a really good job of bringing the small Montana ranching community to life. But it’s the characters that really make this story. Even the secondary characters are well developed and have interesting lives indeed.

This is a variation of the childhood sweethearts romance. Ben and Becca grew up in this same small town, but never really dated. But they both harbored secret crushes and are scared to move forward now that they are adults. All that insecurity, on both sides, increases the tension and keeps the pages turning.

There is a also a bit of suspense. There is someone driving through town taking potshots at pedestrians and it happens a few times, with no deaths thank goodness. But who is being targeted and why slowly unfurls and there is quite the dramatic denouement.

I highly recommend this series to fans of contemporary cowboy romances. If you haven’t tried one of these, this is a terrific series to try. I ripped through the first two books in this series in a day and a half. The second book, The Cowboy Next Door, comes out Feb. 26. The review will be posted then.

2/19 Stacy Alesi, AKA the BookBitch™

COWBOY ON MY MIND by R.C. Ryan. Forever (June 26, 2018). ISBN 978-1538711156. .964p.

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THE LAST TRUE COWBOY by Laura Drake

December 26, 2018

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Chestnut Creek, Book 1

From the publisher:

The award-winning author who “writes real cowboys with heart and soul” (Carolyn Brown, New York Timesbestselling author) welcomes you to Unforgiven, New Mexico, a small western town filled with love and second chances!
 
This cowboy’s got one last chance to prove himself.
Carly Beauchamp has loved cowboy Austin Davis since first grade. Ask anyone in their dusty, backwater New Mexico town of Unforgiven, and they’ll say “Carly and Austin” the way some say “big trucks and country boys.” But after years of waiting for a wedding ring, Carly’s done with being a rodeo widow . . .
Austin never meant to put his career on the circuit before Carly. She’s always been his future, his one and only. But now that she’s moved on, he’s beginning to see where he went wrong, and he’ll do anything to win her back. The only thing is, Carly’s suddenly acting differently, and she’s definitely hiding a secret-one that will test the depth of their love and open up a whole new world of possibilities.

My love affair with cowboy romances continues. I loved how these characters changed and grew. There were major mistakes made, and consequences that had to dealt with. There were times when I wondered if Carly and Austin would find their happily ever after as the tension was really high at times, which always makes for a good ending.

I really liked how they both had to learn from their mistakes and find a way to forgive each other and make a life together. The hard stuff in life is what makes the good stuff that much sweeter.

I’m looking forward to the next book in this new series.

12/18  Stacy Alesi AKA the BookBitch™

THE LAST TRUE COWBOY by Laura Draken. Forever (December 4, 2018). ISBN: 978-1538746431. 336p.

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DIRTY LITTLE SECRET by Jennifer Ryan

December 18, 2018

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Wild Rose Ranch, Book 1

From the publisher:

Meet the women from Wild Rose Ranch—and the men who want them—in New York Times Bestselling Author Jennifer Ryan’s breathtaking series of romance and scandal . . .

Noah Cordero is a modern-day cowboy who loves three things: ranching, his younger sister, and his step-father. John Cordero groomed Noah to take over the Montana spread where he learned to ride and work the land. But when John unexpectedly dies, he leaves half the ranch to a woman Noah doesn’t even know.

Roxy shares Noah’s last name, but not his blood. Estranged from her father, haunted by regrets, and eager to escape her notorious mother’s past, she is forced to fulfill her father’s last wishes. Inheriting means sharing a home with infuriating, challenging, and oh-so-tempting Noah. But John didn’t just make her owner of his ranch and guardian to her sister, his hidden sideline is her worst nightmare—she’s the new owner of the notorious Nevada brothel called Wild Rose Ranch where she grew up.

As their strictly business relationship starts to turn to true love, Roxy begins to wonder, what will happen when Noah discovers her dirty little secret?


Roxy is one tough broad, and I mean that in the best possible way. Growing up with a mother who’s a drug abusing prostitute is no picnic, and having a father who sends checks but has no real presence in her life isn’t much help. But Roxy prevails, and when her father dies and she inherits, things finally start going her way. Especially with her father’s adopted son, Noah.

The sparks are flying but they both are fighting their attraction. The relationship sort of stumbles along and I often felt like I missed something. But I liked the characters and I wanted them to get together and get their happily ever after, so it worked for me. I’ll definitely give the next book in the series a try.

12/18 Stacy Alesi, AKA the BookBitch™

DIRTY LITTLE SECRET by Jennifer Ryan. Avon (December 18, 2018).  ISBN 978-0062645319.  384p.

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