Tag Archive: Wyoming


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
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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

Joanne Kennedy is the author of three previous contemporary Western romances for Sourcebooks. She brings a wide variety of experience, ranging from chicken farming to horse training, to her sexy, spicy cowboy stories. She is a 2011 finalist in the prestigious Romance Writers of American RITA© Awards, for One Fine Cowboy. Joanne lives in Cheyenne, Wyoming, where she is working on her next book, Cowboy Crazy (June 2012). You can find visit her at her web site or her Facebook Fan Page.

PonyTails (PT): Tall, Dark, and Cowboy is your 4th Contemporary Western Romance to take place in Wyoming. How did you choose Wyoming for your setting?

Joanne Kennedy (JK): To me, Wyoming is the heart of the West. It’s the least populated state in the US, mostly because there’s so much wide-open, inhospitable land here. It’s tough to make a living off this land, so you have to be absolutely committed to the cowboy way of life to make it work. That’s why the symbol of our state is a cowboy on a bucking horse. You can’t get much more cowboy than that!

PT: Except for Jodi in Cowboy Fever, all of your heroines are City Girls who discover the joys of country living. Is that a dynamic that is close to your heart?

JK: The fish-out-of-water experience comes straight from my own life. I wasn’t a city girl, but I was a suburban one. The only crop my family grew was grass, but when I was in my twenties, I decided I wanted to be a farmer. The learning curve was pretty darn steep, and so many funny things happened along the way that I have material for lots and lots of books. Then I got interested in horses, and of course they’re an endless source of inspiration.

PT: Why do you write about cowboys, i.e. personalities, code of ethics, etc?

JK: I really admire the commitment and courage of modern-day ranchers. It’s not an easy life, and those who choose it have to survive a lot of hardship and take a lot of chances to live in a time-honored, traditional way. So being a cowboy is about commitment, passion, and traditional values. What more could you ask for in a man?

PT: Your second book published, One Fine Cowboy (which is my personal favorite), was a Romance Writers of America RITA Award Finalist this year. Has that affected your writing? If so, in a good way? Do you feel under pressure to produce another RITA Nominee?

JK: It was an amazing honor that I didn’t expect so early in my career. The nomination gave me a lot of confidence in my writing and made me more willing to trust my heart rather than thinking so much about the “rules” of romance. My books are a little different from other cowboy romances; I think my West is less idealized and a little grittier. I wasn’t sure if that was a good thing or a bad thing. The RITA nomination told me it was good.

But the main reason I’d like to produce another RITA Nominee is because it would mean I was again creating a book that really spoke to readers.

PT: With the release of Cowboy Fever we learned about one of your favorite organizations to support, the Cheyenne Therapeutic Equestrian Center. Are there other organizations you support? If so, why those organizations?

JK: CTEC is such a great organization because it brings kids with disabilities together with rescued horses and everybody wins. I have a friend whose daughter has autism, and their journey has taught me so much about love and commitment and courage. I also admire the endless patience and dedication of the people I’ve met who work with kids with autism. It’s a surprisingly common disability and right now we’re learning so much about it—I support any organization that works toward a better understanding of people whose minds work differently. I think we can learn a lot from the way they perceive the world.

PT: Do you plan your stories or do you just put pen to paper and see what happens?

JK: I work with a very loose outline that tells me what problems the hero and heroine have to overcome, the major turning points along the way, and the resolution. Other than that I just set the characters loose and let them live their story. Sometimes they surprise me, and the outline often changes quite a bit along the way.

PT: What are your go to resources when you write? Favorite books, websites, technology, etc?

JK: My favorite resource is other writers. I read romances and other books voraciously. I like to know what’s out there so I can do something different, and I’m inspired when I find a book that really works. I’ve learned so much from writers like Nora Roberts, Linda Lael Miller, Jodi Thomas, and so many others. I also have wonderful writing friends. We meet for coffee or lunch and talk writing – it always revitalizes me.
Another great resource is the customer reviews on bookstore websites like Barnes & Noble and Amazon. After I read a book, I think about what worked for me and check to see what other readers thought. I discover a lot of pet peeves and problems I otherwise might have stumbled into, and let me know what matters most to readers.

PT: If you were a writer entering the industry today, what is the most important advice you’d give yourself?

JK: Remember what really matters about your writing: you have stories to tell, and you want to connect with readers. Don’t worry about where you are in your career compared to other people. Don’t get caught up in sales numbers and bestseller lists; just keep writing the very best books you can, with characters readers can fall in love with and stories they can’t put down.

Thank you to Joanne for visiting PonyTails again! I love having you here! Also thank you to Sourcebooks Casablanca for sponsoring the giveaway!

Sourcebooks Casablanca has generously donated 2 copies of Tall, Dark, and Cowboy for a giveaway. This giveaway is open to US and Canada residents only. Please fill out the form at the end of the post. I will close the sign up on Friday November 25, 2011 at 11:59pm EDT. I will use Random.org to select the winner and will announce the winner here on Monday November 28!

About Tall, Dark and Cowboy:

She’s looking for an old friend…

In the wake of a nasty divorce, Lacey Bradford heads for Wyoming where she’s sure her old friend will take her in. But her high school pal Chase Caldwell is no longer the gangly boy who would follow her anywhere. For one thing, he’s now incredibly buff and handsome, but that’s not all that’s changed…

What she finds is one hot cowboy…

Chase has been through tough times and is less than thrilled to see the girl who once broke his heart. But try as he might to resist her, while Lacey’s putting her life back together, he’s finding new ways to be part of it.

If you click the book image it will take you to my review of Tall, Dark and Cowboy.

Tall, Dark and Cowboy is available from Amazon in Print and Kindle editions. Also from Barnes and Noble in Print.

UPDATE 11/25/2011: Since there are only 2 entries, I am extending the giveaway until December 2nd!

From Back Of The Book

SHE IS TRADING IN HER LUXE LIFESTYLE AND HEADING FOR WYOMING…

In the wake of a nasty divorce and with her ex’s vicious cronies hot on her tail, Lacey Bradford heads for Wyoming in search of an old friend. But her high school pal Chase Caldwell has changed, hardened by bitterness and loss. He’s considerably less than thrilled to see the girl who once broke his heart – especially when Lacey turns up on his doorstep asking for help.

As the two grapple with the ruins of their former friendship, a brand new, surprising attraction ignites. Lacey is boldly beginning to create a new life for herself. And Chase has to admit, he’d rather be part of that life than be out in the cold alone…

My Review:

Joanne has done it again. She has written a wonderful western romance that is fun, gritty, with a sexy cowboy and a memorable heroine.

I loved how much growth Lacey went through during the story. From a wallflower to brave independent woman. I enjoyed the change. I’m not sure she could have made that change without Chase. His initial treatment of her definitely put her on the track of self-sufficiency.

Chase had a lot of growth to go through himself. He needed to learn how to move beyond things that happened in the past, and to forgive Lacey. Giving up his bitterness toward the world was a hard thing to do, but it made him a wonderful man.

Nate will always be my favorite Joanne Kennedy cowboy, but Chase is a very, very close second.

I always feel bad for Joanne when I get one of her books to review. I know she is nervous about if I’ll like the book, but so am I. I have such a high expectation of her writing, that I get nervous that the next book won’t measure up. But we shouldn’t be nervous, I don’t think there is a bad story in Joanne’s veins.

I give Tall, Dark and Cowboy a 5 Horseshoe rating!

Be sure to join us on November 21st when Joanne visits PonyTails for an interview!

Tall, Dark and Cowboy is available from Amazon in Print and Kindle editions. Also from Barnes and Noble in Print.

Publication Details:

Author Joanne Kennedy
Title Tall, Dark and Cowboy
Format Print
Length 377
Publication Date November 2011
Publisher Sourcebooks Casablanca
ISBN 978-1-4022-5144-3

From Author’s Website:

…The strongest bonds are the ones unseen.

Businesswoman Skylar Ellison is firmly in control of her life. So getting tangled up with a sexy Wyoming cowboy—and conceiving a baby in the parking lot of a honky-tonk—wasn’t in her plan. Since it appears the daddy has taken off for greener pastures, the only thing to do is pull up her bootstraps and carry on alone.

Cattle rancher Kade McKay returns home after a year on the range, and is knocked for a loop when he learns he’s the father of a three-month-old baby girl. When Skylar refuses to marry him, Kade grits his teeth, moves in and plays house by her rules to prove he’s a man in for the long haul.

Despite Skylar’s insistence they are to remain strictly parenting partners, their old passions flare hot as a brush fire, spurring Kade to demand absolute sexual surrender from the headstrong woman. Skylar willingly submits her body to the hot-blooded cowboy but she’s leery of handing Kade the reins to her heart.

Can Kade convince Skylar the wicked sex games aren’t a temporary distraction? Or will he have to bust out the ropes to show her he wants to be tied to her…forever?

Warning: This book contains: no holes barred kinky sex scenes, wicked rope play, blunt language, and yowza! lots of hot cowboy nekkidness.

My Review:

Tied Up, Tied Down is the fourth book in Lorelei’s Rough Riders series. This book follows the story of a cousin of the first 3 McKay boys you meet in books 1-3. The more I get to know the McKay boys, the more I love them. We first meet Kade in Cowgirl Up And Ride. The reader quickly realizes that Kade is nothing like his twin Kane. Kade doesn’t want just a woman to screw. He really wants a woman to love and loves him back. Kade wants to be married and settle down. So far, I think Kade is one of my favorite McKay boys. He may have followed his brother and cousins in the “family” tradition of being a wild boy, but he quickly discovers that he wants more.

When Kade discovers that he is father, he doesn’t run away. He goes straight to Skylar’s store and demands his parental rights. Every woman should want a man like that. Skylar’s reluctance to accept Kade and his assistance drove me batty. I wanted to hit her upside the head to knock some sense in to her! Here she was living with a highly protective, sexy, generous man who loved their daughter and wanted to try to fix things with her. But because of a past failed relationship, she was too afraid. I’m so glad that Kade, with the help of Skylar’s sister India, was able to convince Skylar that he was the man for her.

I give Tied Up, Tied Down a 4 Horseshoe rating!

Publication Details:

Author 

Lorelei James
Title 

Tied Up, Tied Down
Format eBook
Publication Date July 8, 2008
Publisher Samhain Publishing, Ltd.
ISBN 978-1-6050-4064-9

From Publisher’s Site:

Elly Cody, the only daughter of Wyoming’s most powerful ranching family, set her sights on being a champion barrel racer long ago. Right about the time Will Jackson set his sights on Elly! Years away from Markton has dulled none of her appeal, and seeing the beautiful cowgirl again is like a one-two punch. He still wants her. Badly.

The tide has turned for Elly. Will the boy has turned into Will the man—and now he’s the one making her heart beat triple time. But why is he back in town? And what the heck is he doing working for her brother?

When Elly finds out Will was hired to unearth a secret that’s probably better off staying buried, she realizes it’s time for a confrontation. Is he going to finish the job he’s been hired to do? Or lose his chance with the only woman he’s ever loved…?

My Review:

Elly: Cowgirl Bride is the fifth book in the Harlequin series Codys: First Family of Rodeo.  Each book in this series has been written by a different author.  Each book is a wonderful stand alone, and the authors have done a wonderful job of working together to maintain a continuity that makes this family very realistic.  I have been looking forward to Elly’s story since she was first introduced in Walker’s book.  It’s tough enough to be the youngest and the only girl in a family of boys, but it is worse when your brothers are cowboys.  But Elly doesn’t let her stop her.  I love her strong will, and willingness to stand up to her brothers.  Through the entire series I have been cheering Elly on to make it the National Finals Rodeo to try for the National Champion title.  In this book, Elly discoveres that there are somethings out there that are more worthy of her hard work than barrel racing.  Will is just perfect for Elly.  He understands what it means to deal with the Cody men, and is not afraid to stand up and say he wants Elly.

I am giving Elly: Cowgirl Bride a 4 horse shoe rating!

Publication Details:

Author
Trish Milburn
Title Elly: Cowgirl Bride
Number of Pages
216
Publication Date October 2010
Publisher Harlequin
ISBN 978-0-373-75330-7

From Author’s Website:

Animal rights activist meets cowboy when grad student Charlie Banks signs up for a “horse whispering” clinic at Latigo Dude Ranch. Unfortunately, there is no dude ranch—just a windblown Wyoming horse operation complete with a dozen green-broke horses and one bitter, broken-hearted cowboy.

Nate Shawcross’s ambitious girlfriend tried to force her horse-savvy honey into fame as a “horse whisperer” by distributing glossy brochures touting training clinics without his knowledge. Now she’s given up on him and gone, and horse lovers from all over the country are arriving at the ranch expecting a three-week workshop. Nate’s not about to let a bunch of greenhorns ruin his horses, but family issues forced him to mortgage the ranch, and he’s willing to do just about anything to save his home.

Charlie loves horses, but she hates cowboys. As far as she’s concerned, they’re ignorant rednecks who torture animals for their own amusement. Only an assignment from her thesis advisor to study the non-verbal communication between the trainer and his animals keeps her at Latigo—that, and the broken axle on her car. It’s going to take the local mechanic at least a week to get the part she needs to hit the gas and go.

When Nate’s injured in an accident, Charlie finds herself playing hostess. As a wary friendship develops, she begins warming to the work—and to the cowboy. The two of them are opposites in every way, but their shared dedication to the land and the horses makes them realize that his strengths are her weaknesses, and what he lacks is what she has to give.

My Review:

In Joanne’s second novel, she has quickly become a seasoned storyteller. In her debut novel, Cowboy Trouble (my review is here), I felt there was a little nativity to the story. Not in this one. Joanne knocked my socks off! I loved this book. I have reread it many times since I finished it two weeks ago. I love the characters, Nate and Charlie. Having worked with horses for a few decades, Charlie’s misconceptions made me laugh. I wanted to be in that stall with Charlie when she connects with Junior. When Nate gets injured, I wanted to be there to help him out. I love connecting to characters like that. I think I also loved this novel because when I was in High School, my best friend and I wanted a horse training center of our own but we also wanted to work with at risk kids. So this novel also hit an emotional cord with me, and very few novels do that. I am looking forward to Joanne’s next book, it can’t get here soon enough.

I give One Fine Cowboy a 5 Horseshoe rating.

Publication Details:

Author 

Joanne Kennedy
Title 

One Fine Cowboy
Number of Pages
383
Publication Date September 2010
Publisher Sourcebooks Casablanca
ISBN 978-1-4022-3670-9