Tag Archive: 5 Horseshoes


From Publisher’s Website

Magic has broken free over the Twelve Kingdoms. The population is beset by shapeshifters and portents, landscapes that migrate, uncanny allies who are not quite human…and enemies eager to take advantage of the chaos.

Dafne Mailloux is no adventurer–she’s a librarian. But the High Queen trusts Dafne’s ability with languages, her way of winnowing the useful facts from a dusty scroll, and even more important, the subtlety and guile that three decades under the thumb of a tyrant taught her.

Dafne never thought to need those skills again. But she accepts her duty. Until her journey drops her into the arms of a barbarian king. He speaks no tongue she knows but that of power, yet he recognizes his captive as a valuable pawn. Dafne must submit to a wedding of alliance, becoming a prisoner-queen in a court she does not understand. If she is to save herself and her country, she will have to learn to read the heart of a wild stranger. And there are more secrets written there than even Dafne could suspect…

My Review:

While the story does have romance in it, the romance doesn’t drive the story forward. This is a Fantasy novel that happens to have romance. Which is a nice departure from my typical Romance Novels. Fantasy has always been a favorite of mine. My first “adult” book in 4th grade was Andre Norton’s Beast Master.

This story is my favorite of the Twelve Kingdoms series. I love Dafne, probably because I can identify with her more than I could Andi, Ami, and Ursula. She is a bibliophile and relies on her book knowledge as a shield against the world. I wish I was the polyglot that she is. Dafne’s ability to assimilate languages is amazing.

Luckily for Dafne, that skill as well as her research skills, help her when King Nakoa decides to keep her. I enjoyed Dafne’s journey of learning the Nahanauian culture and discovering not only the history of the islands, but also history of Annfwn and possibly the Twelve Kingdoms. I would love to see more stories from Dafne’s point of view and what she is learning from that vast library and from her new friend.

As the etching on the knives Ursula gave Dafne says, “This is why it’s perilous to ignore a librarian.”

As you can tell, I loved this book. I’ve read it from start to finish a few times since I got it. I wish I knew why it took me so long to read a book by Jeffe.

I wonder if there will be a book about Jepp and Kral……

 

I give The Pages of the Mind a 5 Horseshoe rating.

 

The Pages of the Mind is available from Amazon in Print and Kindle editions. It is also available from Barnes and Noble in Print and Nook editions.

 

Publication Details:

Author Jeffe Kennedy
Title The Pages of the Mind
Format Ebook
Length 432 Pages
Publication Date June 15, 2016
Publisher Kensington
ISBN 978-1-4967-0425-2

From Publisher’s Website

Tis the season for…
A pistol-totin’ woman who’s no angel
A tough rancher who doesn’t believe in miracles
Love that warms the coldest nights

After a year in Kuwait, Lucas Allen can’t wait to get back to his ranch for Christmas and meet his gorgeous Internet pal in person.

When he pulls in, there’s Natalie Clark right in his front yard with a pink pistol in her hand and a dead coyote at her feet.

Lucas is unfazed. But wait…is that a BABY in her arms?

My Review:

Recipe for a great Christmas season romance:
Ingredients:

  • Snow
  • Holiday Decorations
  • A Sexy Cowboy
  • A Gun Toting Sassy Cowgirl
  • An Adorable Baby

Shake until well mixed. Sprinkle in three ranchers who want to have babies around the ranch. Finally, enjoy the wonderful story that Carolyn Brown has written.

While Trace and Gemma from Just a Cowboy and His Baby are my favorite characters that Carolyn has written, Lucas and Natalie are not far behind. Actually I could easily see Natalie and Gemma being best friends (too bad it’s 300 miles between Savoy and Goodnight)!

Natalie is a handful. She is a woman who can handle ranch chores, raise a child alone, cook killer meals for the men on the ranch, and shoot better than most men. But she has been lonely since her best friend died in Kuwait. Luckily, Lucas was more than willing to fill those boots. After eleven months of chatting online, they are finally meeting. Lucas’s tour in Kuwait was done and he was coming home.

Natalie and Lucas thought they knew each other after all the hours they spent chatting online but they quickly learn that there are things you can only learn about a person when you are together. They learn to navigate through a meddling ex-girlfriend, Lucas’s male relatives, Natalie’s mother, and assistance from the ghost of Lucas’s grandmother to find love.

I loved this book. I’ve read bits and pieces multiple times since I finished it. This will be one that I will re-read regularly, not just during the holidays. I’m hoping that Carolyn will give us glimpses of these two in the other books of this series. Life for this couple will be filled with fireworks and love.

The Cowboy’s Christmas Baby is the second book in Carolyn Brown’s Cowboys and Brides series.

I give The Cowboy’s Christmas Baby a 5 Horseshoe rating.

The Cowboy’s Christmas Baby is available from Amazon in Print and Kindle editions and from Barnes and Noble in Print and Nook.

Publication Details:

Author Carolyn Brown
Title The Cowboy’s Christmas Baby
Format Ebook
Length 346 pages
Publication Date September 24, 2013
Publisher Sourcebooks Casablanca
ISBN 9781402280498

From Back of the Book

Being a cowboy is all he knows…

Bronc-buster Mack Boyd can ride a wild stallion to a standstill, but he can’t say no when his family prevails on him to come home and help run the ranch. The last person he expects to find there is a high-class Easterner like Cat Crandall.

But no cowboy can rein her in…

When Cat Crandall gives up a lucrative advertising job to follow her artistic dreams, she’s thinking Paris, Tuscany – not the vast and lonely Big Sky country of Wyoming. Her success at Boyd Ranch’s artists’ retreat could be her ticket to far more exotic places… but the rough and rugged cowboy she meets there is giving Cat a different kind of inspiration.

My Review:

I have read all six of Joanne Kennedy’s books and with each one she continues to improve as a story teller. Like Lori Foster, Joanne’s books quickly become comfort reads, even when you are reading the story for the first time. With every one of Joanne’s books, after I finish the story, I will go back to re-read a specific section but end up reading from that spot to the end of the book. I always find myself going back to her books.

One of my favorite things about Joanne’s story telling is that she always has a message to share. It isn’t an in your face message, but it is always there. In Cowboy Crazy, the heroine was torn between being a professional and being a country girl, and it also touched on the importance for corporations to help take care of the small towns they purchase natural resources from. In Cowboy Fever, Joanne reminds us that even people with disabilities deserve a chance at independence.

In this story, the two main messages are family first and it is never too late to follow your dreams. Sometimes I wonder if Joanne is spying on my life, and her books are her way of reminding me of the important things.

After the death of her sister, Cat finds herself stuck in a job she settled for, in a city she only likes because of the art galleries. She finally decides to take a chance on doing something she loves, art and teaching art. When she signed on with an artist retreat company, she figured she would finally see the world, but instead they sent her to a ranch in Wyoming. But Cat learns that she doesn’t need exotic locations to be an inspired artist or to be happy.

Mack, on the other hand, comes home to the family ranch to help with the artists and discovers how badly his mother was swindled by estranged husband. Over the years, Mack spent his time on the road. He used it as an escape from what was happening at home. During the two weeks he is helping with the artist retreat, he rediscovers the importance of family and having a home. The time off the rodeo circuit helps him put his priorities straight.

Those two messages are expertly weaved in to the story of romance between Cat and Mack. Just like all her other books, Joanne has a wonderful cast of characters in this book. From the emo teenager to the retiree who loves anything western. During their retreat, they all become a miss-mashed little family.

I wanted to point out that the cover art at the top of this page is not the cover art that the book was printed with. Sometimes between when I receive my Advanced Copy and when the book is actually released, the publisher will change the cover. When I discovered they changed this cover, it saddened me. There is a section in the book that this cover fits with better than the one they used.

Cat looked him up and down and decided she didn’t care as long as he wore those chaps. They might make him look like a cartoon cowboy from the funny papers, but they hugged his slim hips and emphasized his muscular thighs. The leather tie at the front reminded her of a bow on a very nice, very masculine birthday present, and it put his assets front and center….

I think of that section every time I see the cover on my Advance Copy. It always makes me smile. Anyone who has a thing for cowboys has always wanted to undo that bow… 😉

I give Cowboy Tough a 5 Horseshoe rating.

Cowboy Tough is available from Amazon in Print and Kindle editions.

Cowboy Tough is also available from Barnes and Noble in Print and Nook editions.

Publication Details:

Author Joanne Kennedy
Title Cowboy Tough
Format Print
Length 371 Pages
Publication Date February 2013
Publisher Sourcebooks Casablanca
ISBN 978-1-4022-6552-5

From Publisher’s Website

She’s Got Her Eyes on the Prize…

Gemma O’Donnell wasn’t the first woman to win the ProRodeo buckle for bronc riding, but she was darn well going to be the second. What she didn’t count on was her main competition sweeping her off her feet.

He’ll Do Whatever It Takes To Win…

Trace Coleman isn’t really after a title—he needs the cash prize to buy his dream ranch. But one sexy, determined cowgirl keeps getting in his way. In his effort to take her out of the running, he risks losing both the title—and his heart.

My Review:

I have read many books by Carolyn Brown, but this one is my favorite. I have found that Ms. Brown’s writing improves with each book she writes. With this one, the writing is exciting, compelling, and makes the reader wish for more.

I have read this book three or four times. Only books that have a great story line, and characters, cause me to reread it many times. I love the characters in this story. Gemma has always been my favorite of the O’Donnell clan. I’ve loved her spunky, kick ass attitude and view on life. If something scares her, she tries harder. I was not surprised when she decided to chase the bronc riding dream. If any woman can do it, it would be Gemma. I wish she was a real person, because I would love to be her friend.

Trace is an amazing cowboy. He doesn’t want the national title for the ego boost. He wants the title just for the money so he can buy his own ranch. While competing, a woman he spent a long weekend with shows up with a baby saying it was his. Instead of signing paper work that would allow the woman to put the baby up for adoption, he took on the task of raising the child himself. But soon discovers that he needs Gemma’s help.

Gemma and Trace are amazing together. They are able to compete against each other but not hold the outcome of each contest against each other. Very few couples can do that. I’m hoping we will see some more of Gemma and Trace in future Spikes and Spurs books.

I give Just A Cowboy And His Baby a 5 Horseshoe rating.

Just A Cowboy And His Baby is available from Amazon in Print and Kindle editions.

Publication Details:

Author Carolyn Brown
Title Just A Cowboy And His Baby
Format Print
Length 324 Pages
Publication Date December 2012
Publisher Sourcebooks Casablanca
ISBN 9781402270185

From Publisher’s Website

In the gleaming heights of Victorian London, a world of deception awaits an unconventional Society lady whose taste for adventure makes her a most formidable adversary . . .

Though Society demands that I make a good marriage, I, Cherry St. Croix, have neither the time nor the interest. I am on the trail of a murder with no victim, a mystery with no motive, and the key to an alchemical formula that could be my family’s legacy.

Yet the world is not so kind as to let me pursue simple murder and uncomplicated bounties. Above the foggy drift, an earl insists on my attention, while my friends watch my increasingly desperate attempts to remain my own woman. From the silken demands of the Midnight Menagerie—to whose dangerously seductive ringmaster I owe a debt—to the rigorous pressures of the peerage, all are conspiring to place before me a choice that will forever change my life.

My Review:

Ms. Cooper has landed herself in on an elite list of authors who have made me cry with their stories. The other members of this list are Diana Gabaldon (multiple times with her Outlander series, Sherrilyn Kenyon (Acheron), and Karen Marie Moning (Dark Highlander ). Like I said, an elite list.

This was my first Steampunk from Ms. Cooper, and I enjoyed immensely. I read most of it in one night. I didn’t realize that this was the second book in the St. Croix Chronicles. Never once did I feel that I needed to go read the first book (Tarnished) to enjoy this one. Ms. Cooper did a wonderful job of giving information to those of us who skipped the first book.

The imagery and setting that you have in Ms. Cooper’s Victorian London. You feel like you are with Cherry in the drift, feeling suffocated by the smog and smells of the lower levels of society. You understand and empathize with the plight of those who are stuck below, not just in a societal class system sense but also in reality. When the smog started to overtake the posh neighborhoods of London, the Queen had parts of London lifted above the smog on stilts. Which left people behind and below in a place called the drift, never able to escape the smog. The smog hid not just the middle class and the poor, but also crime. Lots of crime, especially murder. In the drift, just about anything happens. There is murder, theft, brothels, “escorts” called sweets, opium dens and other drug offerings, and many gangs. It is a rich world that was created by a brilliant mind.

The character of Cherry St. Croix is a very complex character. She isn’t title but is an upper class member of society, even with the taint of her father’s madness following her. Cherry is intelligent and fascinated by science and debating the pros and cons with her best friend. But she has a dark side. To fight off the memories of the abuse she suffered in the drift at the hands of her own father, she relies on laudanum to sleep and sometimes to get through the day. But there is a small problem with this habit. The small stipend she receives from her guardian (who holds the key to her inheritance until she is 21) isn’t enough to by the laudanum. So to get the money for her drugs, she works in the drift as a collector, a type of bounty hunter. But because of another debt to a gang, not always does she get paid. At night she sneaks out of her house and spends hours in the drift. Trouble does find her, but for the most part collectors are left alone, much like clergy in war zones.

I’m not going to spill any more on this story. You will just have to get the book and read it. Come back and let me know if you cried also while reading this book.

I give Gilded a 5 Horseshoe rating.

Gilded is available from Amazon Print in Kindle editions.

Publication Details:

Author Karina Cooper
Title Gilded
Format Ebook
Length 384 Pages
Publication Date December 2012
Publisher Avon Books
ISBN 978-0-0621-2766-2


From Publisher’s Website

Hold On Tight…

Ex–Marine Nate “Ghost” Weller is an expert at keeping his cool—and his distance—which makes him one hell of a sniper. It’s also how he keeps his feelings for Ali Morgan in check. Sweet, sexy Ali has always revved his engine, but she’s his best friend’s baby sister…and totally off limits.

Rough Road Ahead

Ali’s never seen anything sexier than Nate Weller straddling his custom Harley—or the flash of danger in his eyes when she tells him she’s in trouble. First something happened to her brother, and now she’s become the target of a nasty international organization. With Nate, her life is in the most capable hands possible—but her heart is another story altogether.

My Review:

I greatly enjoyed this debut novel from Julie Ann Walker.  I have read it from cover to cover two or three times.  Ms. Walker has created an amazing world of ex-special ops soldiers working more or less outside of the law under the guise of being custom motorcycle mechanics. On top of creating this world, she has also created a great cast of characters.  You don’t want to only know the two main characters, but you want to know the minor characters as well.  Luckily, some of them get their own books.

For some reason, I’ve always had a soft spot for the “guy falling for best friend’s younger sister” trope. I’m not even a younger sister.  I’m the eldest of two.  I love watching the guy struggle with trying not to have feelings and the girl trying to convince him that it is okay. Even though the brother isn’t around, Nate still feels his shadow and remembers the warning he received when he first met Ali.

I’ve also always enjoyed the “quiet, no excitement, not very adventuresome, goody goody” woman who discovers that there is more to life than her job, her books, and her quiet life.  Ali goes from being a kindergarten teacher who is always proper to being in the middle of a dangerous situation.  She discovers that she is a much stronger woman than she ever believed she was.  Sure her brother taught her how to defend herself and use a gun, but it never truly translated in to the type of confidence she would need to handle a man like Nate.  Only surviving multiple attempts on her life, does she find that inner strength.

I give Hell On Wheels a 5 Horseshoe rating.

Hell On Wheels is available from Amazon in Print and Kindle editions.

Publication Details:

Author Julie Ann Walker
Title Hell On Wheels
Format Print
Length 348 Pages
Publication Date August 2012
Publisher Sourcebooks Casablanca
ISBN 978-1-4022-6713-0

From Publisher’s Website

When Nowhere is Safe

Most people avoid the dreaded Whitechapel district. For Honoria Todd, it’s the last safe haven. But at what price? Blade is known as the master of the rookeries—no one dares cross him. It’s been said he faced down the Echelon’s army single–handedly, that ever since being infected by the blood–craving he’s been quicker, stronger, and almost immortal. When Honoria shows up at his door, his tenuous control comes close to snapping. She’s so…innocent. He doesn’t see her backbone of steel—or that she could be the very salvation he’s been seeking.

My Review:

What an amazing mix of genres! This Paranormal Steampunk was a great read. I was captured on the first page. I’ve been fascinated by Steampunk for a couple of years and have loved Paranormal since before it was called Paranormal. So to mix these two genres was ingenious. Ms. McMaster did a wonderful job of creating a credible world and characters.

I’ve re-read this book a few times. I love the characters, especially Blade. Such a complicated man. On the surface he is hard and unapproachable, but underneath he cares for all of the people in Whitechapel. He truly wants to help them and to provide protection. But because of his position, he has to charge a price.

Honoria is just as complicated character. She is trying to hide from the Echelon, the highest members in society. At the same time she is trying to hide her siblings and care for them. But when she loses her job, she is forced to reach out to Blade for assistance.

Ms. McMaster has created a world that shows the Steampunk elements and the Paranormal elements, but also managed to keep the Victorian sensibilities and class structure as realistic as possible. I would easily rank this book among the top Steampunk romance novels I’ve read. I would say that it is a very close second to Maya Banks’ Iron Duke.

I can’t wait to read more from Ms. McMaster and this Paranormal Steampunk world.

I give Kiss of Steel a 5 Horseshoe rating.

Kiss Of Steel is available from Amazon in Kindle and Print editions.

Publication Details:

Author Bec McMaster
Title Kiss Of Steel
Format Print
Length 448 Pages
Publication Date September 2012
Publisher Sourcebooks Casablanca
ISBN 978-1-4022-7027-7

From Publisher’s Website

From stable to boardroom…

Sarah Landon’s Ivy League scholarship transforms her from a wide–eyed country girl into a poised professional. Until she’s assigned to do damage control with the boss’s rebellious brother Lane, who’s the burr in everybody’s saddle. He’s determined to save his community from oil drilling, and she’s not going back to the ranch she left forever. Spurs will shine in this saucy romp about ranchers and roots, redemption and second chances.

My Review:

I think I have a new favorite cowboy. Lane is sexy, hardworking, and loves his life on the family ranch. Oh, and he rides bulls for fun. Gotta love those dare devil cowboys.

I’ve read this book three or four times since I got the ARC. Not just snippets, the entire thing. When I enjoy a book, it isn’t uncommon for me to re-read my favorite bits and pieces. But in this case, I would find myself re-reading the entire book.

Sarah reminded me a bit of myself, but I was never desperate to shed my country girl “skin”. But I did find that after I moved to Florida that I sort of lost that part of me. By going to the local rodeos, I’ve re-found that part of me. Just like Sarah does.

This book really spoke to the lost country girl within me and reminded me that I can still be a professional and a country girl at the same time.

I love how Joanne Kennedy doesn’t have a specific formula she uses for her novels. Sometimes it’s comforting to know that an author uses a formula but most of the time I find the redundancy annoying. Joanne has become my favorite contemporary western romance author.

I give Cowboy Crazy a 5 Horseshoe rating.

Cowboy Crazy is available from Amazon in Print and Kindle editions.

Publication Details:

Author Joanne Kennedy
Title Cowboy Crazy
Format Print
Length 384 Pages
Publication Date May 2012
Publisher Sourcebooks Casablanca
ISBN 978-1-4022-6549-5

From Publisher’s Website

A STRANGER IN THE NIGHT…

He had once been a warrior of the Light, one of the revered Paladin. A protector. But now he lives in darkness, and the shadows are his sanctuary. Every day is a struggle to overcome the bloodlust. Especially the day Karissa shows up at his doorstep.

COMES KNOCKING ON THE DOOR

She is light and bright and everything beautiful—despite her scratches and torn clothes. Every creature of the night is after her. So is every male Paladin. Because Karissa is the last female of their kind. But she is his. He may not have a soul, but he can’t deny his heart.

My Review:

Wow! What a great story. Ms. Hilaire gave her readers such an amazing tortured hero! Taking a Paladin, the Dungeons and Dragons version of the Holy Warrior, and making him a vampire, was pure genius. This book could have easily been very angsty. But Ms. Hilaire did a beautiful job of balancing the inner turmoil of being a Divine creature with the demands of being vampire.

Then the poor man was faced with caring for a female Paladin. Not only does he have to fight the bloodlust of being vampire, he also needs to fight the need to make Karissa his mate.

Karissa is the best match for the fallen Paladin. Once she was over her concern about his vampire nature, she set about trying to convincing him that he isn’t the evil creature he believes himself to be. She shows him that even though he is vampire, he will always be a Divine Creature.

This story was absolutely amazing and one of my favorites for 2012!

I give Deliver Me From Darkness a 5 Horseshoe rating.

Deliver Me From Darkness is available from Amazon Print and Kindle editions.

Publication Details:

Author Tes Hilaire
Title Deliver Me From Darkness
Format Print
Length 352 Pages
Publication Date February 2012
Publisher Sourcebooks Casablanca
ISBN 978-1-4022-6434-4

From Publisher’s Website

HE’LL NEVER SETTLE FOR ONE WOMAN…

Debonair bachelor Lord Andrew Forest lives for pleasure and offers no apologies. But he receives a dose of his own medicine when his family’s entrancing houseguest beds him, then disappears without so much as a by-your-leave. He’d like to teach the little vixen a thing or two about how to love and man…if he can find her…

AND SHE WON’T SETTLE FOR HEARTBREAK…

After the dashing man of her dreams is revealed as a lying scoundrel, heiress Lana Hilary is ready to seek a match with a respectable gentleman—if only they weren’t so dreadfully boring. Unable to rein in her bold nature for long, Lana flirts with trouble and finds herself entangled with exactly the type of man she’s vowed to avoid.

My Review:

After I received my ARC of this book, the title was changed from The Ruination of a Rake to Miss Hilary Schools a Scoundrel. I forgot about this change and when I was looking for the book cover image and such I couldn’t find it! However, both titles work well for this book.

I greatly enjoyed this book. Ms. Grace did a wonderful job bringing the Regency to life in her debut novel. The characters are fun and witty, especially Lana Hilary. I loved banter between Lana and Drew. They complimented each other very nicely. Part of me wished that the story continued between these characters, but I feel that Ms. Grace ended the story where it needed to.

I give Miss Hillary Schools a Scoundrel a 5 Horseshoe rating.

Miss Hillary Schools a Scoundrel is available from Amazon Print and Kindle editions.

Publication Details:

Author Samantha Grace
Title Miss Hillary Schools a Scoundrel
Format Print
Length 416 Pages
Publication Date February 2012
Publisher Sourcebooks Casablanca
ISBN 978-1-4022-5831-2