Tag: western historical

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
Publisher: Zebra
Publication Date: September 26th 2017
Format: eARC
Genres: Historical Romance, Westerns
Pages: 352
Add It: Goodreads
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three-stars
Series Rating: 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: Wagon Train Cinderella by Shirley Kennedy

Posted April 29, 2015 by Whitley B in Reviews | 0 Comments

Wagon Train Cinderella by Shirley Kennedy
Whitley’s review of Wagon Train Cinderella by Shirley Kennedy.

1851, Overland Trail to California. As a baby, Callie was left on the doorstep of an isolated farmhouse in Tennessee. The Whitaker family took her in, but have always considered her more a servant than a daughter. Scorned by her two stepsisters, Callie is forced to work long hours and denied an education. But a new world opens to her when the Whitakers join a wagon train to California—guided by rugged Indian, Luke McGraw…

A loner, haunted by a painful past, Luke plans to return to the wilderness once his work is done. But he can’t help noticing how poorly Callie is treated—or how unaware she is of her beauty and intelligence. As the two become closer over the long trek west, Callie’s confidence grows. And when disaster strikes, Callie emerges as the strong one—and the woman Luke may find the courage to love at last…

Wagon Train Cinderella is one of those books that had a lot of enthusiasm and charm…but not really a lot of talent. I did enjoy the premise and, well, the heart of what it was trying to do, but the execution was like watching a middle school play. (Well, that’s not fair, I think it was shorter than a middle school production.)

I liked the idea of this book, both the basic premise and a lot of the smaller ideas in the storyline. Most of the characters were (in concept) very entertaining and the relationships they all had with each other created a nice, complex character backdrop. There were lots of different ways people interacted, and the book wasn’t hyper focused on one relationship (or one dynamic over many relationships). Callie had a different role with everyone she met, and I loved that. It was nice to see her struggle to deal with being cowed by her stepfather and clinging to the friendship of a new acquaintance and still feeling like a true character in both roles. The development of both Callie, the rest of her family, and all the relationships within was a great (idea) too.

It’s just…well, the problem comes in the execution. The writing in this novel is very stilted and juvenile, and there’s far too much telling going for me to get a real emotional experience out of it. I felt like I was reading the outline of someone’s personal character growth, not a finished story. Lots of lines felt clunky, and at times chunks of a person’s character were either entirely informed or contradictory. Luke kept being described as cold and standoffish, and yet from our very first meeting with him he’s nothing but helpful and cheeky. Maybe he was intended to be cold except to Callie, but it just doesn’t come through in the writing. Plus, setting the book on the Oregon Trail like that fractures what little plot we’ve got into vignettes about ‘hardships of traveling west.’ They were interesting vignettes, but all the same, I didn’t get a sense of cohesion from the book.

Overall, I did enjoy the reading experience, but mostly in an academic sort of way.

Rating: 3 out of 5

This title is available from Lyrical Press.  You can purchase it here or here in e-format. This book was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.


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Guest Review: A Place Called Harmony by Jodi Thomas (+ a Giveaway!)

Posted October 1, 2014 by Tracy in Giveaways, Reviews | 6 Comments

Guest Review: A Place Called Harmony by Jodi Thomas (+ a Giveaway!)Reviewer: Tracy
A Place Called Harmony by Jodi Thomas
Series: Harmony series #8
Also in this series: One True Heart
Publisher: Penguin
Publication Date: October 7th 2014
Format: eARC
Add It: Goodreads
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
four-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

New York Times bestselling author Jodi Thomas has captivated America with her novels set in the small town of Harmony, Texas. Now she tells the story of the three hard-luck men who first settled the town, a place where last chances and long-awaited dreams collide…

Desperate to escape his overbearing father, Patrick McAllen disappears with his bride, heading north to build a new town—discovering strength, honor and true love along the way.

After drinking away the grief from his family’s death, Clint Truman avoids jail by taking a job in North Texas and settling down with a woman he vows to protect but never love—until her quiet compassion slowly breaks his hardened heart wide open…

All Gillian Matheson has ever known is Army life, leaving his true love to be a part-time spouse. But when a wounded Gillian returns home to find her desperately fighting to save their marriage, he’s determined to become the husband she deserves.

Amidst storms, outlaws, and unwelcome relatives, the three couples band together to build a town—and form a bond that breathes life into the place that will forever be called Harmony.

 

Tracy’s review of A Place Called Harmony (Harmony #8) by Jodi Thomas

Harmon Ely is a man who runs a trading post in northern Texas. There’s not a whole lot of anything around but people stop at his trading post on a regular basis. Harmon gets it into his head that he wants to start a town. He puts out ads looking for married couples. Three very different couples converge on the trading post to try and start the town.

The first to arrive is Daisy Matheson. She is married to an Army man named Gillian and they’ve spent most of their married life apart. Daisy sees Harmon’s ad and starts to write to him regarding the job but she does so under Gillian’s name. Gillian has no clue what Daisy’s doing but gets quite anxious when he gets a letter telling him to meet her at the trading post. Gillian’s mind goes crazy and all he can think is that she’s dying and that’s why he needs to get there by a certain date. He loves Daisy with his whole heart and can think of nothing worse than losing her. He heads off to the trading post but ends up with a traveling companion, Jessie, who’s about 15 years old. She has nowhere to go and when his attempt to drop her at a mission doesn’t work he decides to take her with him to meet Daisy. Once there Gillian has to decide whether he’ll stay with his wife and boys to start the town or go back to the Army.

The next couple is Patrick McAllen and his wife Annie. Patrick is the son of a preacher and has been abused his whole life. His father is a bit nuts and after seeing 2 of his brothers die in the war and 2 others escape his father he knows that his father expects him to follow in his footsteps. Patrick just wants out. He tried to escape once and his father caught him and whipped him almost to the point of death. He knows if he’s caught his father will kill him this time. When he escapes he takes a local girl with him. Annie has been little more than a slave to her stepmother and stepsisters and is anxious to leave. The pair get married and head off to meet Harmon. While there was is only friendship between them when they got married love soon grows and flourishes. Patrick is only 20 years old but he’s an accomplished carpenter and knows that he can bring his skill to help build a town.

Clint Truman is a man who joined the men fighting in the war when he was just a teenager. He saw and did things that still horrified him. He then met his wife and she seemed to calm him but his wife and two daughters died from a fever and he turned to alcohol to numb the pain. Two years later the local sheriff tells him of the opportunity to start a new life and town with Harmon Ely. Clint thinks it might be something to look into but he’s not real sure about it all when the sheriff tells him he must be married. His capacity to love died when his family died and while he agrees to get married he knows he’ll never love the woman. They find Clint’s new wife when she gets released from prison with her newborn baby. Karissa agrees to marry Clint as she has no other options. She’s terribly afraid of Clint but manages to start to trust him after a time. The more time they spend together the more they grow to care for each other.

The three couples each have their trials and tribulations. They’re fighting their own inner battles as well as other issues from their past. Together, however, they know they can make the new town a wonderful place.

If you’ve read the Harmony novels you know that it’s a contemporary series that’s set in the town of Harmony. When I opened this book and realized that it’s a historical that takes us back to the founding of Harmony I wasn’t quite sure what to think. I’m not a fan of western historicals in general but I should have known that Thomas would come through for me. Not only was it a really great story but I loved seeing how Harmony came to be.

I have to say I loved reading about these three very diverse couples. Their lives were so different, as were their personalities, but they all were so determined to make the town work together that they all managed to get along and actually become friends.

The building of the town, along with the romances, interspersed with the more suspenseful parts of the book, were all woven together so well. Thomas truly knows how to build a story and characters that have a depth that I just love. The secondary characters in the book, Patrick’s brother Shelly along with Patrick’s sisters, and the Roma family rounded out the cast so well and added that much more to the story.

Whether you like western historical romance or not if you love the Harmony series I think you’ll love this one as well.

Rating: 4 out of 5

This title is available from Berkley. You can buy it here or here in e-format. This book was provided by the author in exchange for an honest review.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

four-stars


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Guest Author: Jodi Thomas talks about A Place Called Harmony (+ a Giveaway!)

Posted October 1, 2014 by Tracy in Promotions | 4 Comments

Today we have Jodi Thomas here to discuss her upcoming release, A Place Called Harmony.

Once in a while in my career of forty books, there comes a story I know I have to write.  It waits like an impatient child in the back of my mind for its time to shine.  A PLACE CALLED HARMONY was one of those stories.  As I moved through the Harmony series, getting to know the people of Harmony, Texas, better with each book I knew that someday I’d tell the beginning of their town.  From the day I started writing the characters came through clear.  I had to find men strong enough to influence the generations of Mathesons, Trumans and McAllens.

Patrick McAllen had grown up on the gulf coast of Texas.  He had to run away to avoid his father’s wrath and shy little Annie agreed to go with him.

Captain Matheson didn’t even know his family was relocating to build a town where only a trading post stood.  When he got to his wife Daisy, he realized how much having him near meant to her and how dearly he needed his ever-growing family.

Clint Truman had been looking for a way to die since he’d lost his family.  Drunk and down on his luck, a sheriff offered him a choice.  Go to jail or head north to build a town.  Clint didn’t think much of the idea but when he met a woman half-dead from starvation and caring a newborn in her arms, he saw someone who needed him and he couldn’t turn away.

When Truman, Matheson and McAllen’s stories began to dance in my mind, I found myself staying up later every night to write more.  I love the way the three men interacted and the way all three loves storied grew.  I have a feeling that readers will be staying up a little later to read one more chapter.

Step into the beginning of a town called Harmony.  Ride along with me through the adventures and the love stories.

Enjoy the adventure,

Jodi Thomas

 

About the book:

A Place Called HarmonyJodi Thomas has captivated America with her novels set in the small town of Harmony, Texas. Now she tells the story of the three hard-luck men who first settled the town, a place where last chances and long-awaited dreams collide…

Desperate to escape his overbearing father, Patrick McAllen disappears with his bride, heading north to build a new town—discovering strength, honor and true love along the way.

After drinking away the grief from his family’s death, Clint Truman avoids jail by taking a job in North Texas and settling down with a woman he vows to protect but never love—until her quiet compassion slowly breaks his hardened heart wide open…

All Gillian Matheson has ever known is Army life, leaving his true love to be a part-time spouse. But when a wounded Gillian returns home to find her desperately fighting to save their marriage, he’s determined to become the husband she deserves.

Amidst storms, outlaws, and unwelcome relatives, the three couples band together to build a town—and form a bond that breathes life into the place that will forever be called Harmony.

Giveaway:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

About Jodi:

Jodi ThomasJodi Thomas is the NY Times and USA Today bestselling author of 40 novels and 12 short story collections.

A four-time RITA winner, Jodi currently serves as she Writer in Residence at West Texas A&M University in Canyon, Texas.

www.jodithomas.com
Twitter.com/jodithomas
www.facebook.com/JodiThomasAuthor

 

 

A Place Called Harmony releases October 7 and is available for pre-order at www.jodithomas.com.


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Guest Review: On the Mountain by Peggy Ann Craig

Posted September 14, 2014 by Tracy in Reviews | 0 Comments

Guest Review: On the Mountain by Peggy Ann CraigReviewer: Tracy
On the Mountain by Peggy Ann Craig
Publisher: Self-Published
Publication Date: July 18th 2014
Format: eARC
Add It: Goodreads
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three-half-stars

On a cold and still night, a frightened woman makes a frenzied escape down a wooded mountainside. Fear is her only companion. Silence is her only salvation.

Anna Nicholson had lived all her life under the shadow of prejudice in the remote village high on Mount Louis whose reclusive people were considered as wild and primitive as the wilderness from which they lived. So when she awakes one morning to find herself in a stranger’s barn with a rifle to her face and no memory of how she got there, she is overcome with a gripping fear. Yet, instinctively knew it did not arise from the big and burly cowboy standing directly behind the Winchester rifle or the other nine fierce cowboys who called the ranch home, but instead from a memory she could not recall. One, she feared, in which she was the source. Mistaken for a mute teenage boy, Anna is able to hide unseen and unheard from an evil she could not recall.

Wade Haddock is the rough and tough but lonely cowboy who finds a frightened Anna in his barn. Convinced the isolated wilderness was no place for a woman, he allows Anna to hide away on his sprawling Rocky Mountain ranch believing her to be a mute teenage boy. While gradually succumbing to the bond growing between them, the wall around his guarded heart begins to slowly crumble. Only to discover Anna’s deception. And a memory that could destroy their love.

 

Tracy’s review of On the Mountain by Peggy Ann Craig

Anna is frightened of something, but she has no idea what. She knows who she is and she gets glimpses of memories of her family, but has no idea how she ended up on Wade Haddock’s farm or what she’s running from. She instinctively knows that there is something evil that is still hunting her so when Wade offers to let her stay on his homestead she agrees.

Wade thinks that Anna is a boy. Wade’s brother, Prescott, names her Peter so that they don’t have to keep calling her boy and Wade finds that he has a bond with the boy. He thinks of him kind of like a son, in a way, and tries to protect him at every turn.

It is eventually discovered that Anna is a girl and what her true name is. She has never been able to tell anyone because due to the trauma she suffered she’s been mute for almost a year. She finds herself falling deeper in love with Wade every day but feels he can never lover her the way she loves him. He’s not thrilled at her deception and tries to push her away emotionally. He’s not sure what to do with Anna, and his feelings for her confuse him.

This was a darned good book. I really liked the whole premise of the story and very much liked the characters. Anna was pretty fearful of everything so I couldn’t necessarily get a bead on who exactly she was when she wasn’t living in fear. I wanted to see Anna’s true self but unfortunately we never got to see that.

Wade was definitely the epitome of the strong, silent type. He kept his thoughts and feelings close to his vest and even up until almost the very end of the book I was wondering what his true feelings for Anna were. I figured he loved her but he had quite the odd way of showing it, I must say.

The secondary characters in the story were wonderful. Wade’s brother Prescott and their sister, Katherine were both lovely people who truly cared about both Wade and Anna. Prescott’s girlfriend, Elizabeth, and the ranch hands also added to the story quite well and were definitely needed to round it all out.

My issues with story were twofold. I felt that there were large parts of the story that seemed to be filler. I think that the book would have been a stronger, tighter, more satisfying read if I hadn’t had to wade through that excess. The other issue – and this was the biggest – was the constantly misspelled words in the story. For the most part there were no typos in the story but then I’d get to a word and it would be completely wrong. A few examples:

Shutter when it was supposed to be shudder.

Bare when it was supposed to be bear.

Patients when it was supposed to be patience.

Through when it was supposed to threw.

That only names a few. This happened consistently in the story and drove me more than a little batty. I guess I was frustrated because the rest of the book was well written and when these words popped up it threw me out of the story completely.

Despite my issues with the book I did find it quite enjoyable and would definitely recommend it if you are a fan of western historical romance.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5

This title is self-published. You can buy it here or here in e-format. This title was received by the author in exchange for an honest review.

three-half-stars


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