Genre: Westerns

What Are You Reading? (+ Contemporary Giveaway)

Posted March 9, 2018 by Rowena in Features, Giveaways | 6 Comments

WAYR-New

Casee: I’ve had a lot going on and am still reading Storm Gathering by Rebecca Zanetti. I almost put it aside and picked up The Woman Left Behind by Linda Howard, but I’m too anal to leave a book unfinished even if I eventually go back to it. Storm Gathering really picked up too, so I’m looking forward to finishing it. I always say that the weekend is coming up and I’ll be able to read, but that never happens. We have family birthdays for the next two weekends so I doubt I’ll have time until the summer. Ha.

Holly: I’m struggling to read this week. I want to read, but nothing is really holding my attention. I read Duke of Sin by Elizabeth Hoyt, which was really good. I love the anti-heroes and Val definitely fit the bill. I’m in the middle of Ocean Light by Nalini Singh, but it isn’t holding my attention. It isn’t often a book by Singh doesn’t immediately suck me in. I’m pretty sure I’m just in a weird reading funk.

I listened to On the Edge and Bayou Moon by Ilona Andrews. Rowena said she was going to start reading them, so I figured I’d read them with her (a hardship, as I’m sure you can imagine..heh). Though to be honest, I wasn’t as invested in either one this time around. Again, I think it’s my reading mood. I don’t know what I’ll read next. Maybe Song of Blood and Stone by L. Penelope.

Rowena: At the moment, I’m deep into a book hangover after finishing Wildfire by Ilona Andrews. I wasn’t ready to be done with those books and instead of jumping into my next read, which is Hello Stranger by Lisa Kleypas, instead, I’m reading everything I can find online about all things Hidden Legacy and Ilona Andrews. In my quest to find all of the Hidden Legacy stuff, I came across this gem of a blog called Wicked Scribes and her Hidden Legacy character guide is a thing of beauty. If you haven’t checked her out, you should. I’ve been reading everything on her blog since Monday.

I’m hoping that over the weekend, I’ll finish up Hello Stranger and then start on On the Edge by Ilona Andrews because…I can’t get enough of her stuff.

Giveaway Alert

We are very fortunate here at Book Binge. We have loads and loads of books to read and we want to share the wealth so each week, we’ll be tacking on a Freebie Friday giveaway to our What Are You Reading posts. This week, we’re giving away…

What Are You Reading? (+ Contemporary Giveaway)Cowboy Stole My Heart (River Ranch, #1) by Soraya Lane
Series: River Ranch #1
Published by St. Martin's Press
Publication Date: January 2nd 2018
Genres: Contemporary Romance, Westerns
Pages: 304
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Goodreads

It takes true grit to build a billion-dollar dynasty like the Ford family ranch. But when it comes to finding love, all it takes is one handsome cowboy to steal a woman’s heart…

SHE’S RIDING SOLO

As one of the heirs to the River Ranch fortune, Mia Ford is practically Texas royalty. But that doesn’t mean she’s some pampered princess. She can saddle up and ride a horse as well as any man, even a hard-working cowboy like Sam Mendes. For years, she’s harbored a crush on the strong, silent horseman. But how can she make a move when she’s his boss?

HE’S TAKING THE REINS

Sam Mendes is through with love—or so he thought. Still recovering from a breakup, he’s doing everything in his power to resist Mia Ford. It’s bad enough she’s the kind of beauty who drives men wild with desire. It’s even worse she’s got him so worked up, aching to kiss her lips, when he’s supposed to be working her ranch. Is this lovestruck cowboy willing to risk losing his job—and breaking his heart—to win the girl of his dreams?

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What are you reading this week? Any new favorites or books that drove you crazy? Share!


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Sunday Spotlight: Montana Heat: True to You by Jennifer Ryan

Posted February 25, 2018 by Rowena in Features, Giveaways | 4 Comments

Sunday Spotlight is a feature we began in 2016. This year we’re spotlighting our favorite books, old and new. We’ll be raving about the books we love and being total fangirls. You’ve been warned. 🙂

Sunday Spotlight

True to You is the second book in the Montana Heat series by Jennifer Ryan and it promises to be another awesome story so we’re thrilled to be spotlighting the book today. I’m more than a little anxious to check out the romance between King and Cara.

Sunday Spotlight: Montana Heat: True to You by Jennifer RyanTrue to You (Montana Heat #2) by Jennifer Ryan
Series: Montana Heat #2
Published by Harper Collins, Avon
Publication Date: February 27th 2018
Genres: Contemporary Romance, Westerns
Pages: 384
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
Goodreads

A Montana Man risks everything for the woman he loves . . .

Undercover DEA Special Agent Dawson King spent five months in a Montana prison establishing a fake identity to take down a ruthless drug dealer and put him behind bars. Except there’s a wild card . . . the killer’s beloved daughter. Cara Potter may appear to be on the right side of the law, but King has learned the hard way to trust no one—even someone as tantalizing as the coffee shop owner. She’s irresistible . . . but is she also dangerous?

From the moment he enters her life, King makes Cara . . . nervous. The handsome drifter says he wants to get his life together . . . but there is something about him that doesn’t quite ring true. Cara wants to believe in him, yet she holds back despite the way he awakens dormant dreams and leaves her breathless with his sexy smile, steamy kisses, his every touch.

When the explosive truth comes out and she’s betrayed by the ones she loves, Cara must decide—can she trust her heart, or should she listen to her head?

Order the Book:

AMAZON || BARNES AND NOBLE || KOBO

Excerpt

“Flash,” Cara called out a moment before she stood in the bathroom doorway.

He dried his hands on a towel and turned to her. “Hey there. How was your hike?”

Her gaze swept up him and settled on his face and messed up hair. After chopping wood and rushing through the forest with her, he needed a shower. And a shave, since he’d skipped that this morning after spending most of the night out checking local abandoned warehouses to see if Iceman was using them as storage. He had yet to track down Iceman’s headquarters despite following several of his guys from the coffee shop on multiple occasions, when he could get away at the end of a shift without being noticed.

“Um, fine. I, uh, wanted to talk to you.”

“Well, that’s something new.”

Nervous energy made her shift from one foot to the other. Her gaze dropped to the floor before it came back up and settled on his chest. He’d never seen her this unsure and out of sorts.

He stepped closer to her, concerned something might actually be wrong. Maybe something happened out in that cabin with the old man.

If he hurt her, he’d kill the bastard. “Cara? You okay?”

She reached out to place her hand on his chest, but pulled it back at the last second. Every fiber of his being woke up having her this close, but the thought of her touching him sent a bolt of heat sweeping through his system.

Before she stepped back, he grabbed her hand and held it in his.

“What is it, Cara?” He really had no idea how to read her odd behavior. She didn’t try to pull free, but gripped his hand in hers and stared down at it, testing the feel of his skin against hers.

“Are you, uh, happy here?”

Her unexpected inquiry caught him off guard. Her indifference to anything except him doing his job made it clear she didn’t care one bit about him. If he hadn’t seen the way she looked at him this morning, he’d have never guessed he got to her on some level.

“It’s a hell of a lot better than where I stayed the last few months. Why? Ready to get rid of me?”

She shook her head, still staring at their joined hands. Hers gripped his tighter. “No. Um.”

He touched his fingertip to the underside of her chin and made her tilt her head back and look at him. Her eyes filled with uncertainty. “Talk to me, Cara.” To reassure her, he squeezed her hand back.

“I’m not Tandy.”

He swept his gaze from her pale hair, over her beautiful face, down her sweet curves, and back up to her gorgeous blue eyes intent on him. “No, you’re not.”

“What does that mean?”

He wanted to tell her how beautiful he found her, but held back the words the way he held back touching her soft cheek to ease the tension out of her.

Confused by the direction she took away from him being happy here and her touching him, which made him think she wanted him for a split second before reason overtook hormones and he reminded himself she was off-limits. “You tell me.”

“She throws herself at you all the time.”

“She does that to just about every good-looking guy who walks through the door.”

“Exactly. She’s fun. She likes to go out with men, enjoy their company, and move on.”

He tilted his head and studied her. “And you’re not like her.” Cara wasn’t the love-them-and-leave-them type. He didn’t need her to say it to know it. So why this strange conversation? Why hold onto him but make him think she wanted to be left alone, too? “Look, if you’re warning me away again—”

“No.”

That stopped him in his mental tracks. Maybe instead of always wanting him to back off she wanted him to come closer?

Her grip tightened on him, but her gaze darted away, then came back filled with a shyness he’d never seen in her. “I thought that maybe…if you were—”

“Cara.” The sharp voice startled her, but the immediate surprise that widened her eyes vanished and turned to cold fury.

Engrossed in each other, neither of them heard the car pull into the drive or Iceman walk into the barn. He stood in the entry, staring at them, his eyes sharp and intense on Flash.

“What’s going on here?” Iceman’s gaze dropped to their joined hands.

Cara pulled her hand free, lost the uncertainty in her eyes, and turned to glare at her father. “What are you doing here?”

Iceman held up an envelope. The sight of it made Cara tense and her hands ball into fists.

“You could have left that at the shop. You know I don’t want you coming here. All you do is bring trouble. If the cops are following you, and they probably are, it won’t be long before they’re serving search warrants for this place looking for that shit you run. How many times do I have to tell you to stay away?”

“The cops didn’t follow me.” He held up the envelope. “This is for you. I wanted to be sure you got it. That’s the deal. And I’m your father. I wanted to see you and make sure you’re okay.” Iceman stared past Cara and pinned Flash in his angry gaze.

“You don’t give a shit if I’m okay. And I don’t want that damn envelope.”

Flash couldn’t keep quiet anymore. He wanted to know what the hell was going on here. Pissed they got interrupted, he wanted even more to know what Cara had been about to say to him a minute ago. Before Iceman interrupted the moment they shared. Maybe it was a good thing they got interrupted because his mind took a turn to Dream Town where Cara was asking if there could be something between them. He shook off that thought because there could never be anything between them. Not when he was here to take down the man standing in front of them.

“What the hell is going on? Why is he paying you off?” It wasn’t such a reach to see the envelope had to be stuffed with money.

Cara didn’t look at him, but kept her gaze locked on Iceman. “He’s not paying me off. The Castillo cartel is.”

Those honest and bold words made Flash’s heart thrash in his chest.

What the hell? What did Cara have to do with the Castillo cartel? “Why?”

“Go ahead, tell him,” she dared Iceman.

“Let it go,” Iceman ordered, though the look in his eyes said he hadn’t let it go and felt guilty as hell about it. Whatever it was.

Cara turned to Flash, hate and anger in her eyes. “You want to know why I’m such a cold bitch?”

He didn’t answer the rhetorical question. He wouldn’t describe her that way in the first place. Guarded. Scared. Sad. Lonely. All those things applied, but not cold. She cared. Deeply. About Tim, Tandy, Ray, the shop, her customers, this place. Even him. Why else would she ask if he was happy here? She wouldn’t go out of her way to make this place feel like such a comfortable home if she didn’t care. He wouldn’t mind living there even if it wasn’t part of his job.

She just didn’t want anyone to see how much she cared because she didn’t want anyone to use it against her.

Cara waved her hand toward her father. “You know who he is, what he does, the kind of life he leads. It’s all about the money, moving the product, but more than anything it’s about his reputation. You can’t let your rivals think you’re weak or they’ll take what you have and kill you. So you can’t care about anyone but yourself.”

Iceman’s mouth pinched into a thin line. “Cara, that’s not fair.”

“Fair! Nothing in my life has ever been fair. You neglected me and mom. You left us and never looked back.”

“To keep you out of my world and safe.” Iceman’s words lacked the conviction expected to add punch to them. Instead, Iceman said the words like he’d said them a hundred times in an argument they’d repeated until the going round and round sapped both of them to the point the words held no meaning at all because no one believed them anymore and nothing got solved.

Cara held her disfigured hand up. “Out of your world? Safe? So long as you are who you are, I’m never safe. They’ll use me to get to you.”

“Because of who I am, you are protected.”

“Right,” she scoffed. “Because everyone knows how dangerous you can be. When you want to be. Except you left me there. You didn’t lift a finger to help me. And I lost mine.” She rubbed her fingers over the scars where her pinky used to be.

Iceman raked his fingers through his white hair, frustration pulling his brows together and narrowing his eyes. “If you’d give me chance—”

“I gave you plenty of chances. But I’m not a little girl anymore. I see you for who and what you are now. Destroyer of lives. Mom’s. Mine. Everyone you sell that crap to. You turned your back on your family for another one.”

Iceman planted his hands on his hips and sighed out his frustration. “I was in this life long before I met your mother. Once you’re in, Cara, there is no out.”

“We both know that’s the life you want. You love it. The power. The money. The game. Leave the envelope on the table.” She notched her chin to the table between them. A world of hurt and anger separated them even more. “Go play with other people’s lives and stay out of mine.

Montana Heat

Giveaway Alert

We’re giving one lucky winner their choice of one of our Sunday Spotlight books. Use the Rafflecopter widget below to enter for one of this month’s features.

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Are you as excited for this release as we are? Let us know how excited you are and what other books you’re looking forward to this year!

About the Author

Jennifer Ryan

WEBSITE | TWITTER | FACEBOOK | GOODREADS

Jennifer Ryan, New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of The Hunted and McBrides Series, writes romantic suspense and contemporary small-town romances.

Jennifer lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with her husband and three children. When she isn’t writing a book, she’s reading one. Her obsession with both is often revealed in the state of her home, and how late dinner is to the table. When she finally leaves those fictional worlds, you’ll find her in the garden, playing in the dirt and daydreaming about people who live only in her head, until she puts them on paper.

Please visit her website at www.jennifer-ryan.com for information about upcoming releases.


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Guest Review: The Scotsman Who Saved Me by Hannah Howell

Posted September 27, 2017 by Tracy in Reviews | 2 Comments

Guest Review: The Scotsman Who Saved Me by Hannah HowellReviewer: Tracy
The Scotsman Who Saved Me by Hannah Howell
Series: Seven Brides for Seven Scotsmen #1
Published by Zebra
Publication Date: September 26th 2017
Genres: Historical Romance, Westerns
Pages: 352
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Goodreads
three-stars

A brutal attack on Emily Stanton’s family has left her for dead . . . until she is found in the woods by a handsome stranger with a thick brogue who vows to protect her. There’s only one problem: As a woman with a noble English background, she has no business keeping company with such a man.

For Scotsman Iain MacEnroy, Emily’s high-tone accent is a bitter reminder of the oppressive regime he left behind. The last thing he needs is to be burdened by the needs of a beautiful, blue-eyed Englishwoman. But taking care of elegant, educated Emily begins to transform Iain in ways he never imagined. Could it be that the deep divisions from the old world no longer apply in the new—and that Iain and Emily can share a passion as lush and wild as the Scottish highlands themselves?

Iain and his brothers find Emily Stanton hiding with her nephew after they first find her sister and husband slaughtered and their house on fire.  Emily had been shot so the MacEnroy brothers take them back to their homestead and heal her.

Emily knows that once she’s healed that she should leave as she’s putting the MacEnroy’s in danger but she feels so safe with them – especially with Iain – that she just can’t make herself go.  Iain thinks that Emily is the most beautiful woman he’s ever met but when he finds out that she’s English gentry he grows cold.  The English gentry are the ones who forced the MacEnroy’s from their home in Scotland and burned it down.  He has no love for them and because of this has a hard time trusting Emily.  Of course as Iain gets to know Emily he finds that she’s nothing like the woman who forced them to flee their Homeland.  As Emily and Iain gets closer as time goes by they find themselves not only fighting for their lives but fighting their attraction to each other as well.

I’m not normally an American Frontier Historical romance lover but this was Hannah Howell so I needed to give it a shot.  It was definitely an decent read but not one I absolutely loved.

The story is that Emily and her sister and brother-in-law fled England because their cousin was after them.  He wanted the title that would go to Emily and her sister’s sons if they had any.  He wanted to make sure that they never had any so that he would eventually inherit the Dukedom– yeah, the guy was nuts.  I know you’re wondering about the line of succession in this book.  Apparently this wasn’t a Royal Dukedom but one that was bestowed on Emily’s ancestor for some reason.  That ancestor had the balls to negotiate about the line of succession and supposedly won so that it didn’t have to be a direct male line.  Emily’s nephew or her own son (if there ever was one) could inherit before their cousin would.

Anyway, with Emily, and soon all of the MacEnroy’s fighting to keep Emily and little Neddy alive, tensions were running high.  Because of this Iain was forced to look at Emily in a new light and realized she was nothing like the woman who had done his family wrong back in Scotland.  When he finally let himself trust and love her he was a changed man.  They made a cute couple.

The story itself was interesting but the book dragged in places. While I used to absolutely love Howell’s writing I’m sorry to say that I wasn’t a huge fan of it in this book.  In fact, it was quite stilted in the beginning and it was a bit disconcerting.  It just didn’t leave me in a good mindset for the rest of the book.  Despite not loving the book I’ll probably pick up the next book in the series to see what happens with the next MacEnroy brother.

Rating: 3 out of 5

three-stars


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Guest Review: Reckless in Texas by Kari Lynn Dell

Posted August 5, 2016 by Whitley B in Reviews | 0 Comments

Guest Review: Reckless in Texas by Kari Lynn DellReviewer: Whitley
Reckless in Texas by Kari Lynn Dell
Series: Texas Rodeo #1
Published by Sourcebooks Casablanca
Publication Date: August 2, 2016
Pages: 416
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Goodreads
four-stars

Violet Jacobs is fearless. At least, that's what the cowboys she snatches from under the hooves of bucking horses think. Outside the ring, she's got plenty of worries rattling her bones: her young son, her mess of a love life, and lately, her family's struggling rodeo. When she takes business into her own hands and hires on a hotshot bullfighter, she expects to start a ruckus. She never expected Joe Cassidy. Rough and tumble, cocky and charming, Joe's everything a superstar should be-and it doesn't take a genius to figure out he's way out of Violet's league.

Joe came to Texas to escape a life spiraling out of control. He never planned on sticking around, and he certainly never expected to call this dry and dusty backwater home. But Violet is everything he never knew he was missing, and the deeper he's pulled into her beautiful mess of a family, the more he realizes this fierce rodeo girl may be offering him the one thing he never could find on his own.

The moment I read that the heroine of this was a bullfighter, I knew I had to have it. I had to have it like breathing.  And even though she turned out to be a pickup rider instead of a bullfighter, who cares, hells to the yes for this set up.  I loved so much about the setting for this book: the rodeo minutia, the details about the livestock business, Violet’s job, everyone’s jobs, Violet’s relationship with her family, love for small rodeos while still dreaming of ‘the big time.’  All of it.

But what really killed me was Joe and his High Lonesome.  One of the big draws for me and western romance (or western anything) is how characters can feel so connected to and so in love with a piece of land.  The idea that a place can be part of your history and your heart and your soul and your family.  When that gets written right?  It’s god damn beautiful.  And Joe has that feeling down to a tee, with a dash of aching bittersweetness thrown in.  Is it possible to fall in love with someone else’s love for something?  It should be, because I did.

This book just hit all of my cowboy high notes so perfectly, but what about the romance part?  I’m sorry, I can’t, LET’S TALK ABOUT THE RODEO SOME MORE.  Heh, not really, but that really did overshadow the romance aspect for me because I’m just so into it.  And this book really set the scene perfectly for every one that they went to.  Besides, the romance was nothing to write home about.  Not bad, but…typical?  Felt a bit paint by numbers, with the leads being kept apart for, let’s face it, mostly arbitrary reasons.  I was much more interested in Violet’s relationships with her family members and her son and her platonic baby-daddy than I was in her relationship with Joe.  It doesn’t help that Joe’s personality (outside of the above paragraph) never seemed very settled. He kicked off with some misogynistic comments that seemed thrown in just for the sake of genre convention; they weren’t organic to the rest of his character.  And he kept twisting around to make room for this ‘womanizing’ side that I just didn’t believe. He would have been more cohesive without that particular trope, I think.

Rating: 4 out of 5

four-stars


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Guest Review: Breaking Bailey’s Rules by Brenda Jackson

Posted April 6, 2016 by Judith in Reviews | 1 Comment

Guest Review: Breaking Bailey’s Rules by Brenda JacksonReviewer: Judith
Breaking Bailey's Rules by Brenda Jackson
Series: Westmoreland series #30
Also in this series: Bane
Published by Harlequin
Publication Date: November 3rd 2015
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Goodreads
four-half-stars

Rule number one for Bailey Westmoreland: Never fall for a man who would take her away from her tight-knit family's Colorado home. So why is she following rancher Walker Rafferty all the way to Alaska? Bailey tells herself she owes the sexy loner an apology, and once she gets there, it's only right to stay and help him when he's injured…isn't it? Before long, Bailey realizes home might be where you make it—if Walker is ready to take all she has to offer.

Any lover of romance who has also come to appreciate interracial stories knows about and appreciates Brenda Jackson.  Her Westmoreland Family series has gone on now for years, and while some reviewers have panned her stories as formulaic and predictable, I still like to read her work.  Ms Jackson is a writer who is unashamedly open about her interest in human relationships and family dynamics.  She has covered the full spectrum of emotion as well as the situations people either cause or in which they find themselves victims.  She is also not subtle about her heroes being alpha males, many of whom are unwilling to settle down to one woman.  Money, opportunity, careers, and a long list of other variable make these men challenges in and of themselves.

However, in this story, the challenge is a young woman who is comfortable in her skin, who wants to be appreciated for who she is, who enjoys her independent ways along with the full involvement in a family that is energetic to say the least.  Her one requirement for anyone looking to become involved with her romantically, long-term partner or permanent significant other, is that she will never leave Colorado.  It is her home in more ways than just geographical.  She is connected to the land, the environment, the mountains’ majestic presence, the sense of “home” she shares with her Westmoreland family.  She believes there is someone who will be the passionate partner she is seeking and who will want to keep her happy in the land she loves above all other.

Now there pops up another possible branch of the Westmoreland clan, and the connection is not a happy one or acceptable in many ways.  To acknowledge this family is to accept that there was hurt and infidelity in the past, and that is so not OK.  Walker Rafferty is a close family friend and one that is sent to investigate the possible connections between previously unknown relatives and it is meeting Bailey that throws a wrench into his life.  His efforts to interest her in some kind of romantic liason are rebuffed—that’s probably too mild a descriptive—and in good conscience Bailey realizes that she has some fences to mend after Walker returns to Alaska, a very long way from Colorado.

As always, Ms Jackson draws her characters with a deft and sure skill, giving readers a full imagination of what these characters look like, how they think, what they yearn for, and how they go about finding ways to reach their personal relational goals.  Bailey is a woman that can be lovely and kind, but she has the ability to be as uncomfortable as a thorn bush.  The slow progress that Bailey and Walker make toward some sort of connection is the core of this story, and while it is certainly a movement toward “happily ever after,” it is not a comfortable story.  I always find a Brenda Jackson a good read.  It is balanced between the need to keep a story line clean and moving forward and the erotic content.  It is not just about their sex life but rather how all the elements of their humanity gradually merge to make it possible for these two to connect on a deeper, more lasting level.

It’s a good book, a fun read in many ways, and a nice way to spend an evening.  Just the kind of experience a lover of good romance enjoys.

I give this book a rating of 4.5 out of 5

four-half-stars


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