#BookReview: Her Renegade Cowboy by Lora Leigh

Strong Romance – With A Couple Of Issues. As a romance book, this one works. It has the all the requisite parts and even a couple of the optional ones – clean/ sweet crowd, you’re not going to like all the XXX sex in this one, and there is more of it here than many romance novels, even those that include such scenes. As a bit of a psychological drama, it still kind of works, with the female lead clearly having issues she needs to work through. As a suspense… well, the only actual action here occurs in the last few chapters, the rest of the suspense here is more of the “looming threat” variety. Which works well enough here, but never really makes the pulse pound.

No, there really are two primary issues, one of which has been mentioned by at least one other reviewer and the other of which no existing review on Goodreads mentions: First, this is a female who it is made quite clear fairly early on (to the reader) has been assaulted. While there is indeed a fair amount of studies and even anecdotes of this turning the woman a bit promiscuous – for a variety of reasons – the more general feel seems to be that women become much more closed off to sex after this, particularly when still struggling with dealing with the events – as our female lead here is. And yet, the sex scenes here start pretty damn rapidly once she and our male lead connect. Again, in-story, it works well enough. This is mostly a “wait a second” level observation after the story, at least for this reader. (For others, it may well be a true game-stopper.)

The other issue, that hasn’t been mentioned in a Goodreads review yet, is the constant mention of a gun’s “clip”. NO! It is a “magazine” or “mag”. It is NOT a “clip”, and a former Army Ranger and current US Marshall would *damn* well know this! Still, even with this rather glaring example of complete unfamiliarity with the subject, it is one that readers similarly unfamiliar with the subject would think works reasonably well within the story.

And then there is the whole thing about this being titled as a cowboy story… and yet there is very little cowboy’ing happening here. Other than a ride inspecting fence posts, the rest of the “ranch” scenes could pretty well have any other location as their base of operations and the book would both read and work the same, almost without any even word changes.

Still, these are mostly more observational level issues that didn’t really detract from the book – other than the “clip” / “magazine thing – and the story itself, even with the magazine issue, is pretty solid with an action packed ending. And despite being marked as “Book 3” here, it actually works quite well as a standalone, which is how I read it.

Very much recommended.

This review of Her Renegade Cowboy by Lora Leigh was originally written on August 23, 2021.

#BookReview: Driving Back The Nazis by Martin King

Engaging Account Of Oft Overlooked Era. The period between D-Day (and the summer of 1944 generally) and the Battle of the Bulge (again, and winter 1944-45 generally) is one of the more overlooked eras of WWII, particularly in the zeitgeist of at minimum Americans. (I cannot speak to what Europeans think/ know, as I’ve never been closer to that continent than off the coast of the State of New Hampshire.) Here, King sets out to tell the tales of this overlooked period via numerous first hand accounts and other sources, showing through the eyes of the people that were there what was happening and through the other sources of history what was going on around those events. This is one of those books that will serve as a wakeup call to those who romanticize this particular war and these particular soldiers, as King makes the point quite well – and repeatedly – that given the pervasive and frequent abuses from *all* sides, there truly were truly few innocents involved in any angle of this, certainly of the adult (and even teenager/ young adult) variety. Even knowing that both of my grandfathers were there among some of these very events (both would survive the Bulge itself), I find King’s prose and commentary compelling here. He does a tremendous job of truly showing just how horrific this period was on *everyone* involved, not just the soldiers and not just the victims of the Holocaust – though he does indeed cover many of the horrors both of those groups saw in this period as well. Truly an outstanding book, and one anyone interested in WWII needs to read. Very much recommended.

This review of Driving Back The Nazis by Martin King was originally written on April 25, 2021.

Featured New Release Of The Week: Take It Back by Kia Adbullah

This week we’re looking at a strong British courtroom thriller that seems to set up a new series. This week we’re looking at Take It Back by Kia Abdullah.

Writer’s block still plagues me, but here’s the Goodreads/ BookBub review:

Nuanced Courtroom Thriller. This is an interesting one. One with a main protagonist that… has several rough edges, at least a couple of which come back to bite her. One with a strong commentary about the role of Muslims in British (and by slight extension, Western) society, at many different levels. One with a strong discussion of what it means to be the “other”… in so many different ways. And one with secrets almost literally to the last word. Tremendous book, and very much recommended.

#BookReview: There’s No Such Thing As A Bad Kid by Thaddeus Bullard

Gator great Thaddeus Bullard writes a compelling memoir.

Of his time in WWE, he says little but brings up his two most “defining” moments.

Despite his conception, his tale is of a poor inner city kid becoming comfortable

And giving to as many as possible the leg up that was given to him.

While Thaddeus didn’t have an easy childhood, he shows the power of

Good, caring, hard working men stepping in and showing him a better path.

Since these mentors meant to much to him, he has made it is mission to pay it forward.

And thus ends my creative attempt at a review. Truly an amazing tale of some of the worst hardship possible being overcome with the power of a caring adult mentor. WWE fans looking for a “WWE lockerroom” book won’t find that here. Gator fans looking for a book about his time at Florida will find a bit more of that here, but even then, it isn’t the actual focus of the book. But Bullard’s message is one that needs to get out, and he has done a remarkable job using the fame he has to get it out. Truly a commendable man and a very much recommended book.

This review of There Is No Such Thing As A Bad Kid by Thaddeus Bullard (aka Titus O’Neil) was originally published on July 3, 2019.

Featured New Release Of the Week: Only One Life by Ashley Farley

This week we are looking at a generational tale of love, loss, secrets, and a mother’s enduring love for her children. This week, we are looking at Only One Life by Ashley Farley.

Structurally, this book was intriguing. The “normal” structure for these types of books that delve into stories in both past and present is to alternate chapters or sometimes even scenes within a chapter. This book takes a seemingly novel approach to the novel and instead opens in the present, goes back to the past to tell that entire story up to the present day, and then comes back to the present to finish out the overall story. For the story of this particular tale, this structure worked very well indeed – and even within this structure, managed to save some surprises for late in the book.

The tale itself was heartbreaking and yet also full of hope. The struggles that the primary mother and daughter go through are immense, but the ending gets to a happily ever after that manages to leave at least one key plot point resolved yet ready for a sequel, should Ms. Farley choose to pursue it. Overall an excellent tale, my first from this Lake Union author, and yet again not my last. Very much recommended.

And as always, the Goodreads/ Amazon:
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