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Can a chef from the Rose City find true love in the heart of Texas?

I was caught by the cover, so of course, I wanted to know the answer to that question!

I loved everything about this book, the cover, the descriptive passages painting a humid picture of Texas, the horses, and did I mention the cover? There is humour here, heartache, frustration, hope, and did I mention horses? The writing is top-notch. The characters are so real, you can feel their dreams, feel their disappointments, their passion and fears. I could smell the horses, see the stars, taste the food…oh, the food! The food alone is a great reason to read this book.
Seriously, I did not want this book to end. If I could give it fifteen stars, I would.
I will be reading this one again. It has definitely earned a place in my read-once-a-year-pile.

It’s that good.

And not just because of the horses.
Did I mention how much I love that cover?

Thank you to Jenn Alexander for a wonderfully captivating book, and Bywater Books for the ARC in exchange for an honest review that resulted in my love affair with this book.

Wild Times

Wild Times

An aged Western showman reflects over his long and colorful career 
Few bother to separate the myth of Colonel Hugh Cardiff from his real life. The nation knows him as a sharpshooter, buffalo hunter, moving pictures pioneer, and one-time proprietor of the greatest Wild West show the nation has ever seen. Some of the stories are true, some exaggerated, and some rank among the wildest of tall tales. But for a man who has lived like Colonel Cardiff, the facts trump the myth. In the spring of 1868, Denver is the richest, wildest city west of the Mississippi. When an overweight Easterner named Dr. Bogardus rolls into town to announce a shooting contest with a $1,000 prize, ears prick up. Young Hugh wins the shoot with an ancient muzzle-loading rifle, knocking glass balls out of the air and missing only four out of one hundred targets. He is famous at nineteen, and the Colonel’s wild life is just getting started.

I had read the paperback version of this book years ago – a copy from my library. I fell in love with the story. I was so glad to see it in ebook form years later, I had to buy it. It is every bit as charming and engaging as I remember. Fantastical in some aspects, surprisingly real in others. (There really was a Capt. Bogardus that was a champion shooter!) I will read, and re-read this book again and again. I highly recommend this book to every Western fan.

If you’re into Westerns, you can find this book in your favourite format at your favourite bookseller. Have you read this one yet?

Mail Order Bride

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Austin’s killed a man. Escaping his nefarious past and running from those who would force him to live as a woman, Austin dreams of becoming an upstanding man and homesteading alone on the fringes of the wild frontier.
The burgeoning tent township of Molasses Pond is clenched in the bloody fist of the deadliest gunslinger the country has ever known, Lightning Jack McKade. McKade knows who Austin is. In fact, McKade knows more about Austin’s past than Austin does. He had a hand in creating it.
On the last stagecoach until spring, a mail order bride, Sahara Miller, arrives in Molasses Pond. She claims to be Austin’s and has the documentation to prove it. But McKade’s gang will do anything to have her. Now Austin must choose: Strap on his twin six-shooters to protect the bride he never wanted, or turn a blind eye and keep his dream alive.
This is a brilliant book that meets every convention of Western fiction, but then goes far beyond. There are a couple of fascinating sub-plots that really added to my overall enjoyment of the book. The characters are all unique and memorable, and there seem to be more bad guys than good. A couple of them don’t make their allegiances clear right away, and we’re left wondering whose side they’re on. At times, it seemed like the townsfolk hated Austin, and then they didn’t, then did…so we’re left guessing. And there are twists! Twists written so well that they seemed to make perfect sense.
Now, I know a thing or three about the old muzzle-loaders. I know how to load a flintlock, and a percussion-cap, and I know first-hand how heavy Two-Feather’s Hawken is. So I can tell you that the author knows their stuff when they write about the guns in this novel.Yes, there are a couple of places that the book stumbles into a speed-bump, but overall, the pacing is great. This is a debut, and it’s not going to be perfect. it’s hard to write a book, y’all. But ignore those speedbumps and let yourself get sucked into the story.

I loved every moment of this book. It’s going to the top of my read-this-one-over-and-over-again pile.
Thank you to the author for writing the best Western I’ve read in years. Thank you to Bold Strokes for taking a chance on a Western and letting transgender folks see themselves represented. (And the cover artist needs a raise!) Thank you for letting me read such a great book in exchange for me gushing about it.

Did I mention I loved this book?

A Town Held By Fear

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There is a town held fast by the powerful grip of fear – of one man. No one dares to stand against him until a mysterious stranger comes to town looking for medical help. They just want to be patched up and leave town, but the raging infection and a stunning brunette doctor won’t allow that. When enforcers start dying quietly, one by one, suspicion starts to fly as thick as the dust on the street. But no one suspects the stranger.

It’s the perfect solution to isolation. A quick read that won’t threaten your bank account. There are horses, a cow named…Cow, a tyrant and a hero. Wander back to the glory days of Louis L’Amour and get your copy at Amazon or Smashwords.

I’d love to know what you think!