2019 Book #19 – My Favorite Cowboy by Donna Grant

51dx-XI3drL._SX304_BO1,204,203,200_Title: My Favorite Cowboy
Author: Donna Grant
Date finished: 3/13/19
Genre: Contemporary romance
Publisher: St. Martin’s Paperbacks
Publication Date: February 26, 2019
Pages in book: 320
Stand alone or series: #3 in the Heart of Texas series
Where I got the book from: NetGalley
NOTE: I received this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This in no way affected my opinion of the book, or the content of my review.

Blurb from the cover:

Audrey Martinez is a veterinarian who has devoted her whole life to the care and protection of horses―even if doing so leaves her little time for meeting a man. Who would have thought that a strange case of criminal horseplay would lead her to falling deeply, wildly in love? If only the man who makes her heart race faster than a wild mustang would let his guard down, that is. . .

Caleb Harper is no ordinary cowboy. Sure, he wears his hat, boots, and jeans like a second skin, and displays an easygoing charm that comes from years of working on the ranch. But with his military background, and Army buddies at his side, he is tried-and-true Texas tough. Audrey knows she can trust a man like Caleb to help her save horses. But can Caleb trust himself to resist his attraction to Audrey―or will the sparks of their desire end up getting them burned?

My rating:  2.0 stars out of a scale of 5

My review: I was provided a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest and fair review.

This is the third book in the series by this author, and I’ve read the rest of the series also. I had previously thought that this was a trilogy, but turns out there is a 4th book coming out later this year! I liked the premise behind this series, but put into practice so far I haven’t loved the series. This book specifically I had trouble with. I found the characters to be a bit naive in their relationships and the way the relationships developed felt a bit too simple to me. The plot line was intended I’m sure to build up tension and build to the crux of the plot, but the pieces almost felt like they didn’t fit together to me. If you like cowboy romances, I’d say this one was ok but wasn’t my favorite.

Link to author website

Click on the cover to go to the book’s Amazon page

2018 Book #72 – Cowboy, Cross My Heart by Donna Grant

51J9Ryy9yvL._SX304_BO1,204,203,200_Title: Cowboy, Cross My Heart
Author: Donna Grant
Date finished: 8/19/18
Genre: Contemporary romance
Publisher: St. Martin’s Paperbacks
Publication Date: August 28, 2018
Pages in book: 304
Stand alone or series: #1 in the Heart of Texas series
Where I got the book from: NetGalley
NOTE: I received this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This in no way affected my opinion of the book, or the content of my review.

Blurb from the cover:

New York Times bestselling author Donna Grant takes you deep inside the Texas rodeo scene in the second book in her Heart of Texas series, Cowboy, Cross My Heart, where danger and desire ride side by side. . .

Naomi Pierce isn’t the type to let a cowboy sweep her off feet. It’s not her first rodeo, after all. But when she returns to her Texas hometown, she can’t help but be swept up again in the rough-and-tumble world of hard-riding, bronco-busting good-ol’-boys she loved as a girl. She might be here to photograph her Rodeo Queen best friend. But it’s one fine-looking cowboy who really captures her eye…

Brice Harper is all man, all muscle, and all heart. From the moment he rides into the stadium, he can’t help but notice the beautiful stranger with a camera watching him from the stands. It doesn’t take a zoom lens to see the sparks of instant attraction. But things really heat up when he meets Naomi up-close―and he discovers that someone is stalking her friend. Brice wouldn’t be any kind of cowboy if he didn’t offer to help the ladies out. But can the rough rider keep this spirited shutterbug out of danger―without risking his heart?

My rating:  2.5 stars out of a scale of 5

My review: I was provided a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest and fair review. I finished this book for ARC August 2018! Love this reading challenge. And this year I’m especially excited because as part of the challenge they added one of my favorite things, reading Bingo! This book will be checking off my “Read a total of 500 pages” box, since I’ve done that by now for this challenge.

I read the first book in the Heart of Texas series, The Christmas Cowboy Hero, a couple months ago. In that book, Brice was still a kid in high school, so I was interested to see that they were coming out with book #2 in the series featuring his story. Brice as a hero in his own book though, wasn’t quite what I expected him to be. Not that it was bad necessarily, just wasn’t what I had envisioned for his character. The plot was ok, but the whole story line ended up being a little too cheesy for me. Brice and Naomi were over the moon for each other from the beginning and while I did like how well their characters fit together, it felt almost too easy. There was no conflict between them, which just doesn’t feel realistic. Other than that it was a cute story, just wasn’t one of my favorite romances. I thought it was ok, and I’d still be interested in reading Caleb’s story (Brice’s brother) to round out the series.

Link to author website

Click on the cover to go to the book’s Amazon page

2018 Book #53 – The Christmas Cowboy Hero by Donna Grant

51vr3JjFD5LTitle: The Christmas Cowboy Hero
Author: Donna Grant
Date finished: 6/23/18
Genre: Contemporary romance
Publisher: St. Martin’s Paperbacks
Publication Date: October 31, 2017
Pages in book: 316
Stand alone or series: #1 in the Heart of Texas series
Where I got the book from: NetGalley
NOTE: I received this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This in no way affected my opinion of the book, or the content of my review.

Blurb from the cover:

’Tis the season for ex-Navy SEAL Clayton East to come home for the holidays—even if the mood at home is anything but festive. His father is ill. The East Ranch is in financial trouble. And now it’s on Clayton, the prodigal son, to make sure his family doesn’t lose everything.

Headstrong Abby Harper is like a mother to her younger brothers, who she’s helped raise since she was a teenager. Keeping them in line is no small task while she’s also working toward her college degree. And now that one of her brothers has been arrested for stealing cattle at the East Ranch, Abby is at her wits’ end. But there is a silver lining: Clayton East. He believes in second chances, and is willing to give one to her brother this Christmas. Letting beautiful Abby—and the inescapable longing in his heart—off the hook, however, is a whole ’nother story. Could it be that the woman of this local hero’s dreams has been back at home all along?

My rating:  2.75 stars out of a scale of 5

My review: I was provided a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest and fair review. This is from my 2017 Backlog list, I read this for the 2018 Bookish Reading Challenge for the “a book you picked up based on the title” category, as I had picked this book originally around the holidays since I thought it would make a good Christmas read.

This book sounded like it would be a cute read for around the holidays, which is when I had originally planned to read it but unfortunately work got in the way last year. So I read it this year while I was on vacation! The premise behind this book was a romance trope cliche, millionaire cowboy rescues poor nice woman in a Texas town. And while it was completely unrealistic, it was still romantic. Clayton as a character was everything you’d want from a romance novel hero: dark, brooding, completely devoted, utterly sexy. Abby was nice enough, and honestly I loved that she was an accountant studying to be a CPA, but she was a little too shy for my tastes in a romance heroine. Their whole relationship moved pretty quickly too, I mean within a week of Brice getting arrested Abby’s whole family was staying to weekend with Clayton’s family, and within 6 weeks they were engaged. This was a sweet romance though with an ok Christmas theme and some serious sparks between the hero and heroine. I enjoyed it and would recommend it!

Link to author website

Click on the cover to go to the book’s Amazon page

2017 Book #59 – Together by Linda Lael Miller

9780062005908_5b5a4Title: Together
Author: Linda Lael Miller
Date finished: 7/15/17
Genre: Historical romance, contemporary romance
Publisher: Avon
Publication Date: July 25, 2017 (Reprint; originally published 1996)
Pages in book: 432
Stand alone or series: Stand alone
Where I got the book from: Edelweiss NOTE: I received this book for free from Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review. This in no way affected my opinion of the book, or the content of my review.

Blurb from the cover:

For the first time in over ten years comes New York Times bestselling author Linda Lael Miller’s breathtaking stories filled with the promise of love. Five unforgettable tales, Together in one volume…

Together…for a second chance at life and love—THAT OTHER KATHERINE

Together…when misdirected desire unexpectedly leads to lasting happiness—STORE-BOUGHT WOMAN

Together…as mistrust turns into steadfast devotion—THE SCENT OF SNOW

Together…a couple once torn apart by greed is now reunited by a vow of eternal love—IN ALL SEASONS

Together…a cat in the family way helps ignite love in two sparring neighbors—FAMILY AFFAIR (Interestingly enough, this story is not included in the book. Switch is included instead about two twin’s switching lives for a few months)

My rating:  2.5 stars out of a scale of 5

My review: I was provided a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest and fair review. This book is a compilation of 5 short stories all by the same author. In order within the book: In All Seasons: This story is of Melissande Bradgate, the daugher of a wealthy shipping merchant, and Christian Lithwell, the second son of an Earl. These two fall in love but tragic events tear them apart. When they are brought back together it takes a lot of time to see if they can be together again. I thought this story was ok but, like the other stories in the novel, I couldn’t really get into the story line and characters I couldn’t see any development. The Scent of Snow: This story is about Rebecca and her two half-sisters Annabelle and Susan. Rebecca thought her friend Lucas Kiley died but when he shows up after she’s told the whole town they had been married so now they have to pretend to be married. I particularly didn’t care for this one, it was unrealistic and puritanical. That Other Katherine: This story is about Katherine Hollis, who realizes that she is dying in a hospital in 1991 and after begging to live wakes up in the body of Katherine Winslow in the year 1895 during the midst of childbirth. Her husband Gavin hates her and the whole town knows about her most recent affair. This story was really interesting and I thought it had a lot of potential but then the ending kind of lost me, everything was wrapped up too quickly. Store-Bought Woman: Bess Campbell travels across the country to marry John Tate, only his brother Will is the only one she finds. They basically figure out how to make it work. This one was really cheesy and made me roll my eyes a bit. I didn’t particularly like it. Switch: This book weirdly enough is not listed in the description, but anyways this story is about Jamie Roberts, who switches places with her twin sister, Sara, at Sara’s request. Unknown to her she’s walking into a world of danger. Luckily she finds she can count on Sara’s previous lover, Rowan Parrish, to help her out. The concept behind this was weird, the whole Rowan + Sara and then Rowan + Jamie thing. Other than that there were some ok points to the story but I wasn’t engaged much at all.

The bottom line: I didn’t particularly like this book. There wasn’t much character or plot development, even for short stories. I wouldn’t recommend.

Link to author website

Click on the cover to go to the book’s Amazon page

2015 Book #63 – The Marriage Season by Linda Lael Miller


Title: The Marriage Season
Author: Linda Lael Miller
Date finished: 6/22/15
Genre:  Romance
Publisher: HQN Books
Publication Date: May 26, 2015
Pages in book: 254
Stand alone or series: Brides of Bliss County book #3
Where I got the book from: Terryville Public Library

Blurb from the cover:

Since Hadleigh, Melody and Bex—the best of best friends—entered into a marriage pact, two of them have found (and married) the men of their hearts. But Bex doesn’t think she’ll be as fortunate as the others. Her own first love died years ago in a faraway war, and Bex has lost hope for a happy marriage of her own. She concentrates on her business, a successful chain of fitness clubs, instead.
Then, when single father Tate Calder comes to Mustang Creek with his two sons in tow, who befriend Bex’s eight-year-old nephew, she and the handsome, aloof newcomer are constantly thrown together. But is the marriage season over? Or can a man with doubts about love be the right husband for a woman who wants it all?

My rating: 3.25 stars out of a scale of 5

My review: I have been a fan of Linda Lael Miller’s books in the past (there’s just something about those cowboys) so I was excited when the Brides of Bliss County series came out. I had already read the first two in the series and honestly the second one left me a little frustrated so I was eager to get to the third book to try and get some things straightened out. This third book in what I think is a trilogy tells the story of Tate Calder, friend of the guys from the first two books who just moved to Mustang Creek, and Bex Stuart (which I thnk is cool, my nickname is college was Bex) best friend of the girls from the first two books. Now I just have to say that this premise alone is just so highly unrealistic to me. Has there ever really been in real life a set of three guy friends who all within a year decided they loved this set of three girl friends? And two of the sets had known each other like their whole lives. It just always feels far-fetched to me.
Anyways so they’re the last single ones in this six-pack so they fall in love. That’s pretty much the story. Tate has two boys and he’s really sweet with them and Bex has a nephew that she has to take care of for a lot of the book that’s the same age as one of Tate’s boys.
So overall I guess I just had a few issues with this story. The conversations felt stilted and a little rushed, leaving the characters flat and hard to connect with. And the reactions of the characters are just so far from what I would react as. Like they just kind of take everything in stride, nothing is ever really an “issue,” Like when Tara all of a sudden just goes to Denver, Bex is just like oh ok I’m glad she is out of this bad situation then. If that were me I would have been like WHAT ABOUT YOUR SON GROW THE HELL UP YOU ARE A GROWN ASS WOMAN. So some differences in thought processes there I guess. Don’t get me wrong, the book wasn’t bad and it was actually exactly what I needed at this moment in my reading journey. It was a light and somewhat easy read and it was overall pleasant i would say. My complaints here I think tend to be more general, the book was still a good book.
The bottom line: I would recommend this book to anyone who 1) likes books by LLM, 2) has read the other 2 books in the series, or 3) is looking for a nice, light beach read. Otherwise I would say you can probably skip.

Link to author website
Click on the cover to go to the book’s Amazon page

2015 Book #18 – The Marriage Charm by Linda Lael Miller


Title: The Marriage Charm
Author: Linda Lael Miller
Date finished: 3/7/15
Genre: Contemporary romance
Publisher: HQN Books
Publication Date: January 27, 2015
Pages in book: 297
Stand alone or series: #2 in Brides of Bliss County series

Blurb from the cover:

The women of Bliss County have a pact—to find husbands. The right husbands.
One already has: Hadleigh Stevens, who married rancher Tripp Galloway a few months ago. Now Melody Nolan thinks it’s her turn. Melody has recently found success as a jewelry designer, and her work is the focus of her life. She’s not exactly unhappy, but she wants more. She’s always been attracted to Spence Hogan, the local chief of police, but she’s convinced that Spence, a notorious charmer, isn’t what you’d call husband material.
Spence is a good cop who isn’t scared of anything—except love. And he’s done everything he can to preserve his reputation as a womanizer—a reputation that keeps marriage-minded women, including Melody, at bay. And yet…there’s something about Melody he can’t forget. Something his heart can’t ignore.

My rating: 2.75 stars out of a scale of 5

My review: This book will count towards my “Bookish Bingo” reading challenge, marking off the “Pretty Dress Cover” square. When I saw this book at the store one of my first thoughts was “what a pretty wedding dress that is” so I thought it would fit into this category appropriately for bingo. So this book tells the story of the second girl in a group of three friends. And I can already see that the three girlfriends who have been best friends since they were children are going to magically fall in love with a group of three guy friends. I always find it interest how neat and tidy these things end up sometimes. So Melody and Spencer have a history I guess, she asked him to marry her after one hot and heavy summer when she was 20 and he said no because he didn’t want to ruin her life so then they didn’t talk for 7 years until their best friends got married. Seems realistic right?
So then the wedding throws them in each other’s paths again and then all of a sudden they are running into each other everywhere, even though they’ve managed to pretty much avoid each other for the past seven years. And then they fall in love and stuff. Honestly I was a little disappointed with this one. The conversations all felt unnatural and forced. The plot seemed unrealistic to me. I mean there was like a mystery/suspense aspect thrown in there with the robberies but I felt like it wasn’t really serious through the whole book and why would a master antique thief running an antiquities ring in multiple states care about some small town police chief? Seriously? And why didn’t we get to find out what kind of charm Melody would make for the three girls’ bracelets based on her engagement? THAT IS THE WHOLE POINT OF THE SERIES! I got to the end and I was like, what about the charm? The book is even CALLED the Marriage CHARM and we don’t get to find out what kind of charm she designates for herself.

The bottom line:  I’m fairly neutral on this one. It was a cute story but not too interesting. Don’t think I’d recommend it but also wouldn’t discourage anyone from reading it.

Link to author website
Link to Amazon

2014 – Book #77


The seventy-seventh book I read in 2014 was The Marriage Pact by Linda Lael Miller. This is the first book in her Brides of Bliss County series. I finished this book on 8/25/14. I rated this book 4 stars out of a scale of 5. This book tells the story of Hadleigh Stevens and Tripp Galloway. Tripp was Hadleigh’s brother Will’s best friend, and she tagged along a lot with them while she was growing up. When Will died in the war oversees, Tripp promised Will that he would take care of Hadleigh and watch over her. So when, at eighteen, Hadleigh decides she’s going to get married. Tripp does a background check on the guy and realizes that Hadleigh is making a humongous mistake and decides to come home just in time to stop the wedding.

Hadleigh admits to herself that she secretly wanted Tripp to put a stop to her wedding. What she didn’t want is for him to then turn around and tell her that he got married himself and didn’t tell anybody. Feeling betrayed and hurt, Hadleigh then doesn’t talk to Tripp for the next ten years. During those ten years she gets a college degree and becomes a successful business woman / quilter. When Tripp finally comes home to take over the ranch for his sick Dad, he decides that it is far past time to make things right with Hadleigh. She doesn’t happen to agree however.

Hadleigh knows that she’s been in love with Tripp pretty much all her life. She doesn’t want to let him back into her life only to have him break her heart again, especially since it took ten years to piece back together the last time. But her best friends are pushing her to take the chance. The three girls made a marriage pact to work together to each find the right husband for them.

Overall I thought this book was ok. I liked the underlying story of friendship between the three girlfriends, and the charm bracelet thing they did to commemorate each of them finding true love was cute. I just had trouble buying into the idea that Hadleigh was able to cut Tripp off from her life so completely for 10 years. I mean, that takes a lot of hate and it sounds just exhausting. I feel like they could’ve maybe reconciled sooner. Other than that the book was good: entertaining, light and sweet.

Link to author website: http://www.lindalaelmiller.com/

Link to Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Marriage-Pact-Linda-Lael-Miller/dp/0373778708/ref=tmm_mmp_title_0?ie=UTF8&qid=1409058417&sr=8-1

2014 – Book #54


The fifty-fourth book I read in 2014 was Cowboy Take Me Away by Jane Graves. This is the first book in her Rainbow Valley series, the second book just came out in May 2014. I finished this book on 6/19/14. I rated this book 4.5 stars out of a scale of 5. This book is about Shannon North and Luke Dawson. As teens they fell in love, but Luke was from the wrong side of the tracks and Shannon didn’t yet have the age and confidence to stand up to her mother. Luke decides that he’ll never be good enough for this town and takes off during the night after Shannon breaks his heart.

Fast forward to eleven years later, Shannon left her cushy CPA job in Houston to come home and run Rainbow Valley’s animal shelter. Between a pony that bites and spitting llamas and too many dogs and cats to count, she’s having trouble keeping her head above water at the shelter financially. Meanwhile in the past eleven years Luke has become a very well known bull rider. Through a twist of fate he ends up back in Rainbow Valley with a knee healing from surgery that he needs back at top condition for the championship bull ride competition in 3 months as well as an empty bank account after paying for the surgery out of pocket. When he sees the ad in the paper for a live in caretaker at the animal shelter, he decides to apply for the job.

As Luke becomes more involved in taking care of the animals at the shelter he realizes that they aren’t the only ones who need his care. Shannon cares so deeply for these animals that she’s on the edge of breaking and Luke realizes someone should be watching out for her as well. As their friendship once again develops into something more, Luke can’t seem to get past the town’s stigma that he’s just like his drunk no-good father. And once he reveals to Shannon how horrible his childhood actually was, is there even a chance she could love him then?

This was just such a great book. This book is just so perfectly heart-wrenching, between Luke’s childhood insecurities and all the animals at the shelter, you have to be a cold-hearted son of a gun to avoid tearing up multiple times during this story. I just absolutely loved it. I can’t wait to read the next book in the series.

Link to author website: http://www.janegraves.com/

Link to Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Cowboy-Take-Away-Rainbow-Valley/dp/1455515191/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1403270495&sr=8-2&keywords=cowboy+take+me+away

Link to Rainbow Valley, TX (not quite sure if it is a real place or if this is a Jane Graves website): http://www.rainbowvalleytexas.com/

Link to other blog reviews on Jane Graves books: https://rebeccabookreview.wordpress.com/tag/jane-graves/

2014 – Book #38


The thirty-eighth book I read in 2014 was Big Sky Secrets by Linda Lael Miller. This is the sixth and final book in the Parable, Montana series by this author (I have read the other 5 books in the series though none of them I read in 2014 so no others in the series are discussed on this blog). I finished this book on 5/12/14. I rated this book 4 stars out of a scale of 5. This book is about Ria Manning and Landry Sutton. Landry is brother to Zane Sutton who was featured in the 5th book in the Parable series. All the characters of the different books are connected which I found interesting. Got confusing by the time I got to this last book in the series though, trying to keep all the different characters from the previous books straight.

I thought this was a very cute love story. It was an easy read and I was interested throughout the book. Ria was an utterly loveable heroine and I found myself rooting for her the whole time. Landry was a tough guy with a heart of gold. The whole story was just very sweet. The only part I had trouble with was that they got married like a week after they started dating. That just seemed a little unrealistic to me. Other than that though, this was a feel-good love story with the best kind of ending, a happy one.

Link to author website: http://www.lindalaelmiller.com/

Link to Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Big-Secrets-Linda-Lael-Miller/dp/0373778317/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1399947251&sr=8-1&keywords=big+sky+secrets