Monday, August 31, 2009

My Favorite Westerns

I wanted to post a list of my favorite westerns for KristieJ's "Great Western Drive" (and Sybil & Wendy too). Okay, I know I'm two weeks late, so sue me.

I love Western Romances because the men and women were so tough, gritty, hard-working and persistent. But they were flawed and sometimes damaged people. I also love all the different characters besides cowboys, ranchers and farmers. There are doctors, gamblers, cavalry and mounties, outlaws, bounty hunters, gunslingers, just to name a few. And the women were the most amazing. They cooked, cleaned, gave birth, raised their children and helped their husbands or ran the ranch themselves, all at the same time. They endured fires, floods, indian raids, starvation, the loss of children and husbands but they were tough and they kept going. Several of my favorite westerns involve women who are desperate to save their farm/ranch and so marry some very shady characters.

The following are my favorites in no particular order. Some of them you may have already heard of and some of them may be hard to find but try PBS if you can't find them on Amazon, or at your local UBS. Most of these are keepers for me.

One Lonely Night
by Susan Kay Law
The beginning of this book reminded me very much of Linda Howard's White Out. One night during a raging blizzard a stranger shows up on the doorstep of a lonely spinster and collapses at her feet.




The Wives of Bowie Stone by Maggie Osborne
My review
Heroine marries a condemned man to save him from hanging and help her run the farm.





Joe's Wife by Cheryl St. John
My review
A young widow is afraid she will lose her ranch so she proposes marriage to a war veteran to help her run it. An emotional love story and a real tearjerker.






Prairie Wife by Cheryl St. John
Review
A marriage in trouble story about a couple who have lost a child. Another emotional tearjerker that was very well done.





His Secondhand Wife by Cheryl St. John
My review
A very strong heroine finds out she is pregnant after her husband is killed in a brawl. His half-brother is terribly scarred from injuries suffered when he tangled with some barbed wire at a young age and offers her a home with him. Another wonderful emotional story.



Rainbow Season by Lisa Gregory (aka Candace Camp)
An excellent redemption story with a tortured hero to die for.







A Reason to Live by Maureen McKade
My review
A road romance about a nurse and an ex-gunslinger as they travel from Virginia to Texas in post-Civil War era. Very powerful story.





High Plains Bride by Jenna Kernan
Heroine's twelve year old daughter is kidnapped by the Sioux. She also discovers that her husband let her believe he was dead for years. So she demands his help in rescuing their daughter.





The Horse Soldier by Merline Lovelace
Review (TRR)
Review (AAR)
A woman searching for her husband travels to Fort Laramie Wyoming instead finds the man she secretly married years before ... and who she thought was dead.



The Outlaw by Nicole Jordan
My review.
Romeo and Juliet type story. H/H fall in love even though their families are enemies. They become separated when hero is accused of murder and he runs away. Now he is back and has cleared up the charges against him.

1st book in Rocky Mountain trilogy.


The Heart Breaker by Nicole Jordan
My review.
Marriage of convenience story. A Colorado rancher needs a wife and mother for his infant daughter.

2nd book in the Rocky Mountain "trilogy".

Nicole Jordan keeps promising the 3rd book (Wolf's story) for years but she never completed it. Here is what I found on her website:
I would love to be able to write Book 3, Wolf's story – and in fact I have it all plotted out. But my publisher wants me to wait until the market for Western romances is stronger. So regrettably, it will be a while longer for Wolf.
*sigh* Same old story. You think maybe the "Great Western Drive" may have helped and maybe we'll get Wolf's story? Don't hold your breath.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Recent Reads

Where does the time go? Well, I'm done with summer quarter. Took 3 classes for a total of 12 credits and got straight A's :)

Yeah, I'm a totally obsessive student and always have been and I saw it all too clearly this summer. In one class (Excel spreadsheet class) I had a perfect score plus 60 extra credit points which is ridiculous really. Why do I do this to myself? My stressed out tummy has come back again so I need to de-stress and relax until fall quarter starts on September 21. I have been busy reading and have really been knocking down my TBR.

This Duchess of Mine by Eloisa James (2009)
Sensuality: Warm
Grade: B
This is the fifth book in the Desperate Duchesses series and I haven't read any of the previous books which goes to show I have overcome my OCD about reading books in a series in order. I haven't read many books by James (only 2) but I really must go find some of her backlist because I enjoyed this book. This is a troubled marriage plot which is one of my favorites. As the story begins Jemma and Elijah are reunited after a 9 year separation after she catches him in the act with his mistress. Now he wants an heir and Jemma has reluctantly returned from Paris to do her "duty". The beginning of the book felt like I had jumped into the middle of the story so I have a feeling I should have read the previous books (which was confirmed in some of the reviews I read), but I did enjoy the story anyway. There is lots of sexual tension and the plot involves chess (Jemma & Elijah are both chess masters) and some issues with Elijah's heart condition which was all expertly handled in both pacing and dialogue. A thoroughly enjoyable book. A secondary character, the Duke of Villiers, has an interesting storyline involving his illegitimate children and I look forward to his book, A Duke of Her Own, which was recently released. I'm also intrigued enough to checkout the previous books in this series.


One Reckless Summer by Toni Blake
Sensuality: Hot
Grade: B+
Good girl meets bad boy. Been there, done that. In fact the title and book reminded me a little bit of Robard's One Summer, one of my favorite books of all time. ORS is not quite as good as OS, but it's a great summer read. Jenny comes back to her home town to get her life back together after divorcing her cheating husband. She moves into the family vacation cabin on the lake and discovers that Mick, her tormentor from her teenage years, is also back living across the lake. I didn't like Jenny very much at first but Mick is totally yummy. Jenny is too much of a perfect good girl but when she meets Mick after rowing across the lake to do some stargazing, she does something reckless and they have a very steamy sexual encounter. Mick had a very rough childhood with two worthless parents. He is helping his brother who has escaped from prison and is now dying from cancer. Jenny is very attracted to Mick and is torn about keeping the presence of Mick's brother a secret from her father, the chief of police. The chemistry between them and their sizzling sexy affair really was the highlight of the book and made this an excellent book to take to the beach (which I did).

Stolen Fury by Elisabeth Naughton
Sensuality: Warm
Grade: B
This riproaring romantic suspense was another good summer read. It's filled with lots of action adventure in the tradition of Indiana Jones without detracting from the romance. Lisa is an archeologist hot on the trail of three bas-reliefs of the Greek Furies, Alecto, Megaera, and Tisiphone. After finding Alecto she meets Rafe, who seduces her, drugs her and steals Alecto from her hotel safe and she is now furious. With the help of her detective brother, she tracks him down in Key West, Florida, and she reluctantly joins forces with Rafe to get Tisiphone before other treasure hunters. I normally detest a thief hero, but there are some complex circumstances behind Rafe's motives. The book was fast paced and I loved the intrigue and all the twists and turns. The sexual tension was built slowly and I enjoyed the snappy dialogue between the H/H. When they finally get together the pages sizzled nicely. Lisa is a smart, tough heroine with a secret past. Rafe is so charming I couldn't stay mad at him for stealing Alecto (and neither could Lisa). This was my first book by Naughton and I can hardly wait to get my hands on the next book, Stolen Heat.