#BookReview: A Homestead Holiday by Elizabeth Bromke

Complex And Short Tale. Bromke manages to show that if a storyteller is truly great, they can manage to pack quite a bit of complexity into a still short-ish (seemingly less than 200 page) book. Here, Bromke manages to show a teacher’s passion for her particular craft, a son’s devastation over losing his father, and how the two can come together in some very unexpected ways. Heck, she even manages to toss in elements reminiscent of Mr. Holland’s Opus (without the actual concert). And again, all in a short-ish book and *while still telling a compelling romance tale* to boot! Truly excellent work. Very much recommended.

This review of A Homestead Holiday by Elizabeth Bromke was originally written on November 1, 2022.

#BookReview: Pretend To Be My Cowboy by Sophia Quinn

Solid Series Starter. This is the beginning of a new series by two authors combining under a single pen name, and while I had only read one of the two before… this is truly a solid sweet romance that her fans will enjoy, but also shows where she is not the only voice in the room. And yet, there is never a *blatant* change of perspective or anything that overtly gives away that two different people were writing this – which actually speaks to just how well they work together both as storytellers and through the editing process. Absolutely one for the sweet/ clean crowd – there is barely any kissing, much less anything else. (Sorry, steamier fans.) Also one for the Hallmark Movie type crowd, as this is absolutely one of their infamous general plots – big city girl comes to the wide open country, falls in love with the charming small town and one of its resident cowboys. While this book had *some* minor (Hallmarkie) level drama, there is a fair amount of foreshadowing here that there is at least the potential for meatier drama down the road in the series, and that could actually be a welcome change of pace for the one author I’m familiar with here. (For those that read this book and enjoy it, you’re absolutely going to love that author’s work as well.) Excellent work, and I’m looking forward to seeing how this progresses and how many books are ultimately in the series. Very much recommended.

This review of Pretend To Be My Cowboy by Sophia Quinn was originally written on December 1, 2021.

#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.