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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THE FOREVER CHRISTMAS TREE by Sandra Hill

December 16, 2018

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Bell Sound Series, Book 1

From the publisher:

The Christmas bells are chiming across the Outer Banks town of Bell Cove, North Carolina, but there’s one local ‘grinch’ who’s not listening . . .

He’s got bad-boy looks and a Bah Humbug attitude, so when the local paper asks the villagers to vote on the “Biggest Local Grinch” as a fund-raising project, Ethan Rutledge isn’t surprised to hear he’s made the ballot. He might own the local Christmas Tree Farm, but the holiday hasn’t been welcome in his home since Wendy Patterson left him heart-broken twelve years ago.

But now Wendy’s back, fresh from a tour of duty as a female Navy SEAL. She’s bold, beautiful, and has five Navy buddies trailing after her—as if she needs a bodyguard! And what’s all this about them wanting to start a treasure hunting company right here in Bell Cove’s failing bell factory? Then Wendy learns about how Ethan’s been nurturing the one thing he has to remember her by: a gorgeous Norway Spruce tree.

Can the magic of Christmas and the spirit of the town help rekindle the romance between two people who thought they’d left love behind years ago?


We have MSNBC on in my house most of the time. When I need to escape it, pretty much every night (!) I like escaping into a book that will make me feel good. This fit the bill perfectly. While Rachel Maddow and Lawrence O’Donnell keep me informed and sad, Sandra Hill put the smile back on my face.

I love Christmas stories and this was a good one. Not syrupy sweet but fun and fast and even a little bit sexy. I bought into the idea of women SEALs (ever hopeful am I!) The conflict was good, and I cared about these characters. That and a believable romance and happy ending and I am good to go. A very enjoyable read.

12/18 Stacy Alesi, AKA the BookBitch™

THE FOREVER CHRISTMAS TREE by Sandra Hill. Avon (September 25, 2018).  ISBN 978-0062854070.  368p.

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COWBOY CHRISTMAS JUBILEE by Dylann Crush

November 19, 2018

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Holiday, Texas, Book 2

From the publisher:

Merry Christmas from your new friends in Holiday, Texas:
The most celebratory town in the South!

When Jinx Jacobs’s motorcycle breaks down outside Holiday, Texas, the last thing she wants is to get stuck in the cheery little town, especially during the holidays. The whole place has gone Christmas crazy, but all she has to do is stay out from under the mistletoe―and do her best to keep that unnervingly attractive cop off her back.

Single dad and sheriff’s deputy Cash Walker doesn’t have time for romance, and yet something about the tempting loner twists his stomach up tighter than a tangle of tinsel. He may have finally found the missing piece in his life…but with Jinx so determined to avoid putting down roots, convincing her to stay may just take a Christmas miracle.


I continue my love affair with Christmas romances and cowboys, and in this case it is a winning combination. This is a terrific series and Cowboy Christmas Jubilee is a welcome addition.

Jinx is not your typical heroine for sure. She’s tough and antsy and is not looking to settle down, especially with a cop. Cash is a little more typical of the genre, a big good looking protector but one who is willing to let Jinx be herself and that really says a lot about him.

Both characters experience growth, and that adds depth to the story. It is a wonderful holiday romance and I loved it.

11/18 Stacy Alesi, AKA the BookBitch™

COWBOY CHRISTMAS JUBILEE by Dylann Crush. Sourcebooks Casablanca (October 30, 2018). ISBN 978-1492662648.  384p.

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BIG BAD COWBOY by Carly Bloom

November 2, 2018

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Once Upon a Time in Texas, Book 1

From the publisher:

One of Publishers Weekly’s Best Romances of 2018!
After one too many heartbreaks, Travis Blake hung up his cowboy hat and put Big Verde, Texas, behind him. But when he gets the call that his young nephew needs him, he knows he has to return home. His plan is to sell the family ranch and hightail it back to Austin, but there’s a small problem: the one person who stands in his way is the one person he can’t resist.

Maggie is pretty sure she hates Travis Blake. He’s irritating, he’s destroying her business, and . . . and he’s just so frickin’ attractive. But when they’re forced to work together, Maggie discovers that the Most Annoying Man in the World is more than he seems. He’s sweet with his nephew, he helps out in the community, and he makes her heart flutter. Maggie doesn’t want to risk everything on a man who wants to leave, but what if she can convince this wayward cowboy to stay?


My love affair with cowboy romances continues with this terrific entry into a new series. The setting was a small town in Texas. Maggie is a strong, independent woman, and you can’t help rooting for her to succeed. Travis is respectful yet playful, and their chemistry is so electric that it is palpable. He has a whole host of problems, but manages to overcome them. I loved them together, and I can’t wait for the next book in the series!

11/18 Stacy Alesi, AKA the BookBitch™

BIG BAD COWBOY by Carly Bloom. Forever (October 30, 2018). ISBN 978-1538763438. 368p.

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A NICE DAY FOR A COWBOY WEDDING by Nicole Helm

October 12, 2018

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A Mile High Romance, Book 4

From the publisher:

From Nicole Helm, the bestselling author of the Big Sky Cowboys, Navy Seal Cowboys, and Stone Cold series, comes this breathtaking new romance set in the middle of Big Sky country—Colorado’s gorgeous Rocky Mountains . . .

As the oldest of three brothers, Shane Tyler takes his responsibility to the family ranch seriously—and it’s clear to him that the younger man who wants to marry his widowed mother is only looking for a meal ticket. He’s determined to stop the nuptials whatever it takes, but the shy wedding planner his mom hired is harder to intimidate than he expected.

When Cora Preston worked up the nerve to leave her abusive ex and move with her young son to Gracely, it was a huge step. Accepting the position as wedding planner at brand-new Mile High Weddings took even more courage. But Cora’s biggest challenge is turning out to be the bride’s handsome—and stubborn—oldest son, Shane, and the way the strong-willed cowboy makes her feel.

Can the heat crackling between them warm two hearts suspicious of love?


I read my first Nicole Helm book a few weeks ago, it was a Christmas story in a different series, and I really liked it. Then this book sort of fell into my lap (it helps that my lap was in the library) and I thought, serendipity!

I must admit to some confusion with some of the characters because, as usual, I didn’t read the earlier books in this series. I have a feeling things would have made a lot more sense to me if I had. But even though I wasn’t quite clear on everything going on in the background, there was enough of a story to keep me intrigued and turning pages. I’ll be looking for more of this author.

10/18 Stacy Alesi, AKA the BookBitch™

A NICE DAY FOR A COWBOY WEDDING by Nicole Helm. Zebra (August 28, 2018). ISBN 978-1420146943. 320p.

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COWBOY SEAL CHRISTMAS by Nicole Helm

September 28, 2018

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Navy SEAL Cowboys, Book 3

Navy SEALS who are also Cowboys? At Christmas? Yes, please! The mashup of two sexy professions at my favorite time of year works very well here.

The premise of this series is that three Navy SEALS, forced into retirement after injuries, have purchased a ranch and named it Revival Ranch. They have created a place for other soldiers to come and heal. They have a therapist on staff, and a therapeutic horseback riding expert. Two of the men had PTSD, and from the information gleaned in this book, they have been helped and have found their happily ever after.

This time out it’s the therapist herself in need of romance, along with the third founder, Gabe Cortez. Monica Finley is a single mom who moved to the Montana ranch in hopes of helping the men who need her. She has fallen in love with the place, and finds herself strongly attracted to Gabe but he wants no part of her. Gabe doesn’t suffer from PTSD, but he definitely has some issues, one of which is a strong mistrust of therapy at all.

Gabe is estranged from his family and no one knows why because he will not talk about, not even with his closest friends, the SEALS he calls brothers. Monica has no chance of getting anything out of him, he wears his cynicism of her and her work on his sleeve. Gabe really likes her son, though, and is wonderful with him. Let’s face it, there is no surer way to a woman’s heart than by being kind to her child, and Monica soon finds herself falling in love.

Gabe is not sure why he is attracted to Monica, and he fights it every step of the way, hurting her repeatedly. But her patience knows no bounds, and eventually they find their way to the happy ending but not without hitting some major roadblocks along the way.

It was a really heartwarming romance, with a bit of explicit sex, but it was the characters that really drove this story. I did enjoy the big sky setting as well. This was my first Nicole Helm book, and I will be back for more.

9/18 Stacy Alesi, AKA the BookBitch™

COWBOY SEAL CHRISTMAS by Nicole Helm. Sourcebooks Casablanca (September 4, 2018)). ISBN 978-1492641599.  320p..

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DO OR DIE COWBOY by June Faver

September 17, 2018
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Dark Horse Cowboys, Book 1

Tyler Garrett is the middle son of the small town’s largest land owner and rancher. But he also has a gift; he can sing. While his mother was alive, she encouraged him to pursue a career in music, but his father was dead set against it, wanting Tyler to work the ranch with his brothers.

After his mom passes, Tyler decides to try out for a country music reality show. His father is furious and writes him out of his will but Tyler is determined. That is, until he helps a stranded motorist, Leah Benson, and her precocious young daughter. Tyler is immediately smitten and being the gentleman that he is, he tries to help them. That ends up with him taking them both to Leah’s grandmother’s small homestead, where she is struggling to make ends meet.

Leah is on the run from someone, and her fear is palpable, which brings out Tyler’s protective side. Her grandmother is being terrorized by the town’s bad boys, who happen to live next door and want her land cheap. Tyler sticks around the homestead for a while, fixing fences, helping with the upkeep of the farm and protecting the women. But he is on his way to Dallas and soon he must go. All sorts of problems immediately ensue, bringing Tyler back and getting his family involved.

I have really been enjoying the cowboy subgenre of romance. This is a charming story of love, redemption and justice. The characters are well developed and their stories are heartbreaking until everything is resolved and they reach their happily ever after. This fast, sweet read kept me turning pages until I reached the end. I’m looking forward to the next book in the series.

9/18 Stacy Alesi, AKA the BookBitch™

DO OR DIE COWBOY by June Faver. Sourcebooks Casablanca (August 28, 2018). ISBN: 978-1492667667. 352p.

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TOUGH LUCK COWBOY by A. J. Pine

August 28, 2018

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Crossroads Ranch, Book 2

Luke spotted Lily across a crowded bar and was instantly attracted. But so was his best friend, and when he moves in, Luke steps away. Things go from bad to worse when they marry a short time later. Luke is thrust into her company time and time again, and to protect himself acts like he can’t stand her. He never wanted either of them to know that he had feelings for her.

Lily ends up divorced, and thinks that Luke still hates her. But all of a sudden he is trying to protect her and that is confusing. They are forced to spend time together when she inadvertently ends up catering her ex’s wedding to a Food Network star, which could really make or break her career.

This was a good romance with some sizzling sex scenes and a lot of heart. The characters are well developed and enough of the back story is told to keep it all interesting and relevant without having had to read the previous book. But I do recommend reading it, it’s also a good read and a good introduction to the series. Another terrific cowboy romance, one of my favorite subgenres.

8/18 Stacy Alesi, AKA the BookBitch™

TOUGH LUCK COWBOY by A. J. Pine. Forever (August 28, 2018). ISBN 978-1538727102.  320p..

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