Review: The Cowboy’s Bride Collection

March 4, 2016 Becca Whitham, Christian, Darlene Franklin, Davalynn Spencer, historical, Jaime Jo Wright, Miralee Ferrell, Nancy J. Farrier, romance, Susan Page Davis, Susanne Dietze, Vickie McDonough 1

book review RIMSP

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Ride onto the open range alongside cowboys and cowgirls who embrace the adventures of living in the Old West from Kansas to New Mexico, Colorado to Texas. Whether rounding up cattle or mustangs, training horses, fending off outlaws, weathering storms, competing in rodeos, or surviving drought these cowboys work hard each day. But when hardheaded men have their weaknesses exposed by well-meaning women will they stampede away or will a lasting love develop? Find out in this exciting collection of nine historical romances.

Publisher: Barbour Publishing

Date: March 1, 2016

Pages: 448 pages

There are NINE stories in The Cowboy’s Bride by nine FABULOUS authors, so saddle up! This may take a spell. 😉

the cowgirl's lasso

1895, New Mexico

Jonah Sparks doesn’t know why his old mentor Charlie sent him CJ Matheson to be his new foreman. The two of them are constantly at odds on how to run his ranch, and to make matters worse (and more distracting) Jonah’s new foreman is a SHE! 

Oh y’all! This is such a cute story! The chemistry between Jonah and CJ (Celia Jo) sizzles as they walk that fine line between hate and love. The end result? Passion. I broke out my fan early on when, in the heat of an argument, Jonah dots CJ’s freckles with his finger… and there’s another line from toward the end that I really really want to quote but it would sorta be a spoiler so I’ll restrain myself. (But… seriously. I flailed. And swooned.) Jaime Jo Wright’s writing voice makes me smile, and the bits of humor she threaded through The Cowgirl’s Lasso made that smile even wider. From the dime novels to the spider attack – even the nod to pal Erica Vetsch’s The Legend of Obadiah Walker – you will find plenty of reasons to smile too! And Charlie – oh that man. Sweet and crusty and the epitome of cowboy – not to mention the source of THE FEELS in the story.  This debut offering by Jaime Jo Wright is definitely a winner!

jaime jo wrightAbout the Author: Professional coffee drinker, Jaime Wright, resides in the hills of Wisconsin. She loves to write spirited turn-of-the-century romance, stained with suspense. Her day job finds her as a Director of Sales & Development. She’s wife to a rock climbing, bow-hunting Pre-K teacher, mom to a coffee-drinking little girl, and a little boy she fondly refers to as her mischievous “Peter Pan”. Jaime completes her persona by being an admitted social media junkie and coffee snob. She is a member of ACFW and has the best writing sisters EVER!

Check out my interview with Jaime Jo Wright from Monday!

cowboy competition

March 1848, Southern Texas

Toby Lane’s name might as well be mud. Nobody in Texas will ever hire him once they know who his father is. Nia Lindley needs to prove to her father that she isn’t the same adolescent girl who fell in love with any man who showed her attention. The competition between cowboys – with a job at the Double L as prize – may be the solution they both have been seeking.

I love Becca Whitham’s stories. The way her characters light up a page. The emotion she can convey in a few words.  Her sense of humor. Her natural expressions of faith. I have enjoyed every one of her novellas that I’ve read so far, and Cowboy Competition is no exception. My particularly favorite scene in this case is when the story’s villain-type character gets his comeuppance – I thought that Nia in that scene was cute and sassy and fierce and I loved it!!  This is a beautiful story of restoration and grace….and of course romance 🙂

becca whithamAbout the Author: Becca Whitham (WIT-um) is a multi-published author who has always loved reading and writing stories. After raising two children, she and her husband faced the empty nest years by following their dreams: he joined the army as a chaplain, and she began her journey toward publication. Becca loves to tell stories marrying real historical events with modern-day applications to inspire readers to live Christ-reflecting lives. She’s traveled to almost every state in the U.S. for speaking and singing engagements and has lived in Washington, Oregon, Colorado, Oklahoma, and Alaska.  

Stay tuned later today for my fun interview with Becca Whitham!

the wrangler's woman

1881, Ford Junction Colorado

Josiah Hanacker is in trouble. He needs to find someone to teach his tomboy daughter how to act the proper lady before his late wife’s sister visits, or he may lose his baby girl. Could Corra Jameson be the answer to his prayers in more ways than one?

First of all, Corra is my girl.  She collects book boyfriends, too.  Though her sister calls them her “paper beaus”…. I like that term.  I may start using it. 🙂 In The Wrangler’s Woman, Davalynn Spencer paints a sweet picture of Corra’s influence on the Hanacker family.  It isn’t limited to just Jessica, and the effect of her presence in their lives is heartwarming. The romance adds to the story, but for me the highlight was the change in the family after Corra had been there for a couple of months.

davalynn spencer.pngAbout the Author: Davalynn Spencer writes inspirational cowboy romance – contemporary and historical – and she comes by that talent honestly since falling for her own handsome, brown-eyed cowboy. Her journalistic background includes a daily newspaper crime beat as well as the national rodeo circuit. These authentic experiences help her craft fictional characters who face struggle and heartache but find faith and fresh hope along the way. When she’s not writing inspirational Western romance or teaching writing as an adjunct professor, she enjoys teaching at writers workshops, and speaking and leading worship at women’s retreats, luncheons and other functions. She makes her home in Colorado where she continues to be amazed by God’s creative splendor.

a texan's surprise

May 1878, Sherman Texas

Trey Carpenter was expecting his mother – he was not expecting her to bring a young widow with two little girls along with her. The more time Sadie Hunter spends with Trey, the more she grows attached to him.  The more her girls grow attached to him, too.  With a bevy of eligible bachelors suddenly vying for her hand, Trey seems willing enough to let her go.  But is he really?

This is another of my favorite stories in the bunch! The little girls are just all kinds of adorable, especially Abby’s fascination with Trey.  Oh be still my heart! Plenty of opportunities for cute humor creep in as Trey agrees to teach Sadie how to be a rancher’s wife, and I just have to say that I’m glad I live firmly in suburbia. Even though my neighbors have a rooster that terrifies me. So, in that aspect, I could totally relate to Sadie. At least a little. And also, this story made me extremely hungry for pie. 😉 But in all seriousness, the story flows with a great pace and endearing characters that will work their way into your heart.

Vickie-McDonough-head-shot.jpegAbout the Author: Bestselling author, Vickie McDonough, grew up wanting to marry a rancher, but instead, she married a computer geek who is scared of horses. She now lives out her dreams in her fictional stories about ranchers, cowboys, lawmen and others living in the West during the 1800s. Vickie is the award-winning author of 35 published books and novellas. Her novels include the fun and feisty Texas Boardinghouse Brides series and Gabriel’s Atonement, book 1 in her Land Rush Dreams series. Vickie is a wife of thirty-nine years, mother of four grown sons, one daughter-in-law, and grandma to a feisty eight-year-old girl. When she’s not writing, Vickie enjoys reading, antiquing, watching movies, and traveling.

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1881, Wichita Kansas

Wes Harper is fresh off the cattle trail and eager to meet the woman with whom he’s been exchanging letters.  But when he sees Millie with his cousin and hears her disparaging words toward another cowboy, he fears she isn’t the person he expected. Millie’s etiquette class might give Wes the perfect opportunity to observe…and to impress.

Darlene Franklin has written a fun story about a young woman who sets out to teach a bunch of rough cowboys how to be gentleman – but finds she may be the one to learn a few lessons instead.  I enjoyed the glimpses into the etiquette of the day, as well as the timely reminders to look past the exterior to the heart of a person. There were a couple of other romances brewing in the background as well and I would love to see those as stories of their own someday 🙂

darlene franklin.jpgAbout the Author: Award-winning author and speaker Darlene Franklin lives in cowboy country—Oklahoma and loves writing about the American West. Oklahoma also has the benefit of being the home to her son, his wife, and their four beautiful children. Darlene loves music, needlework, reading and reality tv. Talia, a Lynx point Siamese cat, proudly claims Darlene as her person. Darlene is the author of seventeen contracted books and novellas, as well as several hundred short pieces. Two of her books have finaled in ACFW’s Book of the Year (now the Carol award) contest: her novella, Dressed in Scarlet, and her cozy mystery, A String of Murders.

love's sweet storm

January 1888, Southern Border of Colorado

Addie Patrick is on her way to be a mail-order bride when she’s stranded in a snowstorm with an injured man.  Grant Hollister is strongly drawn to this angel who rescued him.  But she’s promised to another, and she’s not the type of woman to break a commitment. 

Two things I love: snow and stories about a couple who is stranded in snow. I don’t know why this trope attracts me so much, but I do find it quite romantical in fiction. Love’s Sweet Storm by Miralee Ferrell does not disappoint. I loved Grant’s character, though I did want to shake him a time or two, but he was so honorable and good.  And Addie – fierce and strong and yet she still needed a hero. Added to the mix is the angst of falling for each other, knowing that a relationship is impossible. Ahhhh THE FEELS!

miralee ferrellAbout the Author: Miralee Ferrell and her husband, Allen, live on eleven acres in Washington State. Miralee loves interacting with people, ministering at her church, (she is a certified Lay Counselor with the AACC), riding her horse, and playing with her dogs. An award-winning and bestselling author, she speaks at various women’s functions and has taught at writers’ conferences. Since 2007, she’s had seventeen books release, both in women’s contemporary fiction and historical romance.

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The last person Cait Sullivan wants to see is Jonas Hall – not after he broke her heart, and her sister’s – all those years ago. But her father needs Jonas’ skill with breaking horses if they hope to save the ranch, so Cait doesn’t get a vote in the matter. Will the two ever find a way to work together?

There’s a lot of emotion and action packed into this little story! Lots of buried feelings and some not-so-buried ones. A heroine who has given her heart to her horses, and a hero who lost his heart long ago to the heroine. Crazy about Cait has a very sweet side as well, particularly surrounding Jonas’ relationship with God and his discussions with Cait on the subject.

nancy j farrierAbout the Author: Nancy J. Farrier is an award-winning author of numerous books, articles, short stories, and devotions living in Southern California. She is married and the mother of five children and one grandson. Nancy feels called to share her faith with other through her writing. Nancy’s books have won awards such as the Heartsong Contemporary Book of the Year, and have been finalists for the National Reader’s Choice Contest, Inspirational Reader’s Choice Contest, and the Holt Medallion.  Her book, Tucson, reached number four on the CBA Bestseller list.

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April 1858, South Texas

All Jackson Bridge wanted was two songbirds – one red and one yellow – for his daughter.  So why did his Aunt Martha from Massachusetts show up with two women? Well, they’re his problem now, at least until the stagecoach returns. Now if only the redhead wasn’t so pretty…

I LOVED this story!! 5 stars! The humor, the romance (whew – I needed a fan a time or two), the faith nudges.  All of it was so well-written and engaging!  Aunt Martha both delighted me and touched my heart, reminding me of my precious grandmothers.  I wanted to just hug her, though I’m sure had I tried I would have promptly received a lecture on my lack of propriety.  The chemistry between Lily and Jackson was immediate but the romance built naturally, despite the limited space of a novella.  A couple of subplots further deepened the poignancy of For A Song.

SusanneDietzeHeadshotAbout the Author: Susanne Dietze began writing love stories in high school, casting her friends in the starring roles. Today, she writes in the hope that her historical romances will encourage and entertain others. A pastor’s wife and mom of two from California, she loves fancy-schmancy tea parties, travel, and curling up on the couch with a costume drama and a plate of nachos. Susanne is the author of six new and upcoming novellas. You can visit her on her website, www.susannedietze.com.

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June 1880, near Beaumont Texas

A daughter with dreams of becoming a writer, despite her father’s disdain for her poetry. A handsome ranch hand who inspires her… or does she inspire him? A bunch of cowboys prone to teasing, and an unpredictable dog with a penchant for tricks.  What could possibly go wrong?

The Cowboy Poet is a really cute story with a shy cowboy and a sweet girl and a nice dose of humor. I especially enjoyed the ribbing from the other ranch hands (sorry Bat!), though I wouldn’t have wanted to be the target of it.  Some of the poems cracked me up, as did the individual authors’ analysis of their own work as they wrote. And Woolly the dog was basically the star of the show … I need to teach Zuzu how to do that hat trick. You never know when it might come in handy 😉

Susan Page Davis cropped.JPGAbout the Author: Susan Page Davis is the author of more than fifty novels, in the romance, mystery, suspense, and historical romance genres. A Maine native, she now lives in western Kentucky with her husband, Jim, a retired news editor. They are the parents of six, and the grandparents of nine fantastic kids. She is a past winner of the Carol Award, the Will Rogers Medallion for Western Fiction, and the Inspirational Readers’ Choice Award. Susan was named Favorite Author of the Year in the 18th Annual Heartsong Awards.  Visit her website at www.susanpagedavis.com.

Whew! Such great stories! Which ones most strike your fancy?

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(I received a copy of this book in exchange for only my honest review.)

 

Carrie

One Response to “Review: The Cowboy’s Bride Collection”

  1. Author Interview: Becca Whitham | reading is my superpower

    […] The delightfully sweet and funny Becca Whitham is chatting with me today, and I could not be happier! 🙂  Her latest novella “Cowboy Competition” is part of The Cowboy’s Bride Collection which released earlier this week from Barbour Publishing. (Check out my review here.) […]