Thursday, March 31, 2016

What I'm Reading: Highly Anticipated Releases of April 2016

April is going to be a very busy month! Not only am I reviewing lots of new releases, but I’m also traveling to Las Vegas for RT in the middle of the month. Is anyone out there going to RT? I’m excited to attend and am looking forward to meeting lots of other readers, bloggers and some of my very favorite romance authors. Let me know if you plan on being in Vegas for the event!

The One You Really Want by Jill Mansell

Rerelease: April 5, 2016
Type: Women's Fiction
Standalone Novel

When it comes to love, never say never

When Nancy discovers the expensive jewelry her husband's been buying isn't for her, she decamps from the Scottish countryside to her best friend Carmen's posh Chelsea town house to sort things out.

Nancy finds herself in a surprising new world, where rock stars are nicer than you thought, social workers are not necessarily to be trusted, and the filthy rich are folks with problems just like you. Everybody falls in love with the wrong people, and the path to true love twists and turns before you discover who you really want.

The Beast: A Novel of the Black Daggar Brotherhood by J.R. Ward
Release: April 5, 2016
Romance Subgenre: Paranormal
Series: Black Daggar Brotherhood #14

Rhage and Mary return in a new novel of the Black Dagger Brotherhood, a series “so popular, I don’t think there’s a reader today who hasn’t at least heard of [it]” (USA Today).

Nothing is as it used to be for the Black Dagger Brotherhood. After avoiding war with the Shadows, alliances have shifted and lines have been drawn. The slayers of the Lessening Society are stronger than ever, preying on human weakness to acquire more money, more weapons, more power. But as the Brotherhood readies for an all-out attack on them, one of their own fights a battle within himself…

For Rhage, the Brother with the biggest appetites, but also the biggest heart, life was supposed to be perfect—or at the very least, perfectly enjoyable. Mary, his beloved shellan, is by his side and his King and his brothers are thriving. But Rhage can’t understand—or control—the panic and insecurity that plague him…

And that terrifies him—as well as distances him from his mate. After suffering mortal injury in battle, Rhage must reassess his priorities—and the answer, when it comes to him, rocks his world...and Mary’s. But Mary is on a journey of her own, one that will either bring them closer together or cause a split that neither will recover from.

Smoke and Fire: A Dark Kings Novel by Donna Grant

Release: April 5, 2016
Romance Subgenre: Paranormal Romance
Series: Dark Kings #9


A dragon shapeshifter and a computer mastermind, Ryder is sent to guard Glasgow after a devastating Dark attack. But when memories of an explosive affair come back to him―in the flesh―Ryder cannot help but want to protect the woman who haunts his dreams. Even if means shifting into the dragon he was never supposed to reveal...


Kinsey could never get enough of Ryder. His every touch only left her wanting more. But now that she’s seen him in his true form, Kinsey’s world is rocked to the core. She knows that to stay―and feel―alive, she must be with Ryder. But is Kinsey’s passion worth the risk of danger that comes with being a part of Ryder’s dark and fierce world?

Pass Interference by Desiree Holt

Release: April 12, 2016
Romance Subgenre: Erotica, Contemporary Romance, Sports Romance
Series: Game On #3

No Rules. No Limits.

Party girl Tyler Gillette has just one rule: no football players. As the daughter of the owner of the San Antonio Hawks, she grew up in the shadow of the sport and her father’s enormous wealth. She was even named Tyler because he wanted a boy. Life couldn’t have drawn up a better play for turning her into a wild child—until that same life is threatened by someone from the past . . .

Former Hawks running back Rafe Ortiz has a few rules of his own. First, no weaknesses. Second, no babysitting spoiled football princesses. But his new career as a bodyguard means he’s responsible for protecting the beautiful Tyler Gillette from her mysterious stalker. But keeping his hands off her might be harder than keeping her safe . .

Caught Up In Raine by L.G. O'Connor
Release: April 18, 2016
Romance Subgenre: Contemporary Romance
Series: Caught Up in Love #1


Forty-two and widowed, romance writer Jillian Grant believes hospitals equal death. Plagued by loss and convinced more is imminent when her aunt ends up in critical condition after heart surgery; she has come to equate the absence of pain with happiness. When she spots a hot, young landscaper working on the hospital grounds with an eerie resemblance to the male lead in her next novel, she convinces him to pose as her cover model. Working multiple jobs to put himself through college, twenty-four-year-old Raine MacDonald is no stranger to loss. Behind his handsome face and rockin’ body lies family tragedy and agonizing secrets. When circumstances put him back in the path of his abusive father, fate delivers Jillian as his unwitting savior. Thing is, when he thinks of her, his thoughts are far from platonic.

Icing: An Aces Hockey Novel by Kelly Jamieson

Release: April 19, 2016
Romance Subgenre: Contemporary Romance, Sports Romance
Series: Aces Hockey #2

Hailed by Jami Davenport as her “go-to author for hockey romance,” the bestselling author of the Heller Brothers Hockey series sets the ice ablaze with another sexy novel featuring the gorgeous men of the Chicago Aces.

Duncan Armstrong may be an NHL star, but he’s a country boy at heart. His ultimate fantasy is going home with the Stanley Cup, not a gold-digging airhead who aspires to be a trophy wife and nothing more. Newly single and hoping to enjoy a night out with his teammates, he ends up hitting it off with a down-to-earth waitress who’s a complete breath of fresh air—until Duncan learns that she’s a part-time model. He tries to forget about her, but their sizzling chemistry has him coming back for more.

Amber is working hard to put herself through school, and has zero interest in dating a professional athlete. She’s seen firsthand how fame and fortune can mess with their heads—her father’s brilliant football career ended in a firestorm of addiction and infidelity. So Duncan’s attentions immediately have her on the defensive. Still, there’s something different about him. And once she stops trying to freeze him out, irresistible temptation turns into all-consuming passion.

The Wedding Pact by Katee Robert

Release: April 26, 2016
Romance Subgenre: Contemporary Romance

Series: The O'Malley's #2

New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Katee Robert continues her smoking-hot series about the O'Malleys-wealthy, powerful, and full of scandalous family secrets.

Carrigan O'Malley has always known her arranged marriage would be more about power and prestige than passion. But after one taste of the hard-bodied, whiskey-voiced James Halloran, she's ruined for anyone else. Too bad James and his family are enemy number 1.

Hallorans vs. O'Malleys-that's how it's always been. James should be thinking more about how to expand his family's empire instead of how silky Carrigan's skin is against his and how he can next get her into his bed. Those are dangerous thoughts. But not nearly as dangerous as he'll be if he can't get what he wants: Carrigan by his side for the rest of their lives.

Ride Hard by Laura Kaye

Release: April 26, 2016
Romance Subgenre: Contemporary Romance, Romantic Suspense
Series: Raven Riders #1

Brotherhood. Club. Family.They live and ride by their own rules.These are the Raven Riders . . .

Raven Riders Motorcycle Club President Dare Kenyon rides hard and values loyalty above all else. He’ll do anything to protect the brotherhood of bikers—the only family he’s got—as well as those who can’t defend themselves. So when mistrustful Haven Randall lands on the club’s doorstep scared that she’s being hunted, Dare takes her in, swears to keep her safe, and pushes to learn the secrets overshadowing her pretty smile.

Haven fled from years of abuse at the hands of her criminal father and is suspicious of any man’s promises, including those of the darkly sexy and overwhelmingly intense Ravens’ leader. But as the powerful attraction between them flares to life, Dare pushes her boundaries and tempts her to want things she never thought she could.

The past never dies without a fight, but Dare Kenyon’s never backed down before . . .

Magnate by Joanna Shupe

Release: April 26, 2016
Romance Subgenre: Historical Romance
Series: The Knickerbocker Club #1

New York City's Gilded Age shimmers with unimaginable wealth and glittering power. The men of the Knickerbocker Club know this more than anyone else. But for one millionaire, the business of love is not what he expected...

Born in the slums of Five Points, Emmett Cavanaugh climbed his way to the top of a booming steel empire and now holds court in an opulent Fifth Avenue mansion. His rise in stations, however, has done little to elevate his taste in women. He loathes the city's "high society" types, but a rebellious and beautiful blue-blood just might change all that.

Elizabeth Sloane's mind is filled with more than the latest parlor room gossip. Lizzie can play the Stock Exchange as deftly as New York's most accomplished brokers--but she needs a man to put her skills to use. Emmett reluctantly agrees when the stunning socialite asks him to back her trades and split the profits. But love and business make strange bedfellows, and as their fragile partnership begins to crack, they'll discover a passion more frenzied than the trading room floor...

What We Find by Robyn Carr

Release: April 26, 2016
Type: Women's Fiction

Join Robyn Carr, #1 New York Times bestselling author of the Virgin River and Thunder Point series, as she explores the healing powers of rural Colorado in a brand-new story of fresh starts, budding relationships and one woman's journey to finding the happiness she's long been missing

Named for Maggie's great-grandfather, the land and charming general store at the crossroads of the Colorado and the Continental Divide Trails have been passed down through the generations and now belong to Maggie's eccentric father, Sully. When she shows up unannounced, he welcomes her with open arms, and she relishes the opportunity to indulge in his simple way of life.

But shortly after arriving, Maggie's world is rocked once again and she must take on more responsibility than she'd planned. Though she's relieved a quiet and serious-looking hiker, Cal Jones, is willing to lend a hand, Maggie is suspicious of this mysterious man's eagerness to help—until she finds out the true reason for his deliberate isolation.

Though Cal and Maggie each struggle with loss and loneliness, the time they spend together gives Maggie hope for something brighter just on the horizon…if only they can learn to find peace and healing—and perhaps love—with each other.

Are there any books you are looking forward to reading in April?

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Just Like Heaven (Smythe-Smith Quartet #1) by Julia Quinn

Mini-Review and Curated Soundtrack

I’ve been doing a lot of historical rereads over the past week and I restumbled upon Just Like Heaven by Julia Quinn. Just Like Heaven is one of my favorite Quinn novels. Sure, I like the Bridgerton’s series (who doesn’t), but something about Honoria and Marcus just makes me swoon. Friends-to-lovers is a trope I could read all day, everyday, and Just Like Heaven certainly plays into my weakness. By the time of the musicale at the end of this novel I’m dying for Marcus and Honoria to just get on with it already.

The playlist I’ve created for Just Like Heaven is full of pieces that the Smythe-Smith Quartet actually could have played in any given year. The instrumentation of the pieces on the playlist may not be exactly what the Smythe-Smith ladies attempted, but all of songs were popular “parlor music” or “drawing room songs” in the Regency. The list consists of classical sonatas along with several Irish and Scottish tunes that were popular at the time (in the right setting, of course, due to the political undertones). The three movements of the Mozart piece that the Quartet played at the musicale in Just Like Heaven are the first things on the list.

I rate this book:
What did you think of the Just Like Heaven?
Are there any songs that remind you of Honoria, Marcus and their HEA?

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

The Undoing (Call of Crows #2) by Shelly Laurenston

{I received an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.
This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.}

Review and Curated Soundtrack

There just isn’t an author around that can make me laugh like Shelly Laurenston. Any book I read by her makes me laugh out loud; I need to remember to read her stuff at home so I don’t embarrass myself at the local coffeeshop. The Undoing is Shelly Laurenston’s second Call of Crows novel and I loved this one just as much as I loved The Unleashing. Even with a complicated plot and a gazillion characters, Jace and Ski are such a interesting couple emotionally and physically that the book reads exactly like a romance should, HEA and all. Not only do these books fulfill everyone one of my desires for a paranormal romance, they also weave in the, somewhat elusive, element of female friendship.

The Good

  • Ski is a fun character to read. He is slightly nerdy and deliciously enamoured with Jace. I just love a cute geek. I can honestly say I’ve never understood the phrase “book boyfriend” until I read The Undoing and met Ski.
  • This book is awesomely hilarious. If you've read Laurenston before and appreciate her quirky sense of humor and banter this book will not disappoint.
The Bad
  • The plot of this book is somewhat complicated. There are a lot of characters and a lot of gods. At several points during my initial read I thought about making cheat sheet to keep everything straight. Unfortunately, all of the "extras" in the story had me skipping ahead when things didn't directly involve both Ski and Jace.
The Unique
  • The Call of the Crows books fulfill everyone one of my desires for a paranormal romance, and they weave in the, somewhat elusive, element of female friendship. The Crows seriously have each other's backs (girl power)! Even if they don’t get along and start shit on a regular basis, when Jace’s rage hits, they go to bat for her. In particular, the interactions between Kera, Jace, Erin and Chloe completely take this book over top. The four Crows make this book into one of the wittiest and zaniest books I’ve read in a long time.
The Playlist
  • In celebration of the Crows and female friendships, I’ve created a curated soundtrack full of dance hits all sung by women!

I rate this book:
What did you think of The Undoing?
Are there any songs that remind you of the Crows or Ski, Jace and their HEA?

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

The Billionaire's Defiant Acquisition by Sharon Kendrick

{I received an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.
This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.}

Review and Character Study Playlist

I’m going to preface this review with a few notes. 1) I’ve never, ever read a category romance before. 2) Billionaire romances aren’t my thing.

Now you may be asking yourself, why would I read a book that clearly involves a billionaire when I know that type of hero doesn’t do it for me? Well, that’s a darn good question actually. I occasionally read books to “stretch” my comfort level or to see if my reading preferences are changing. As well, I try to have an overall sense of what is happening in the larger romance genre and that sometimes means reading books that I know won’t be a 5 star book in my mind.

That being said, I didn’t dislike everything about this billionaire book (even though that was completely my expectation). I found the book to be witty and entertaining.

The Good

  • I liked that both Conall and Amber had hidden talents that created some character depth. Conall had a passion for modern art and Amber had linguistic talents along with her unique artistic style. Most of the billionaire romances I’ve read in the past simply show the billionaire as a man who is good at making money. Honestly, the shallow billionaire hero doesn’t interest me. Although Conall is certainly wealthy, he’s made a good portion of his fortune dealing in the modern art he loves and cherishes; this facet of Conall’s persona kept me interested in him and the outcome of the story.
  • A very satisfying epilogue. Getting a glimpse of the characters a few months or years into their HEA is the perfect ending to a book for me. The epilogue in The Billionaire’s Defiant Acquisition tied up the last few loose ends and allowed me to relax a bit seeing that the hero and heroine truly did commit to one another.
The Bad
  • Amber’s party-girl beginning was just bad, bad, bad. I almost stopped reading this book since I found everything about Amber to be so annoying for a decent part of the novel.
  • I felt like there was a lot going on in this book. Billionaire, party-girl turned good-girl, virgin, fake marriage, friend’s sibling, heroine having to prove herself, hero working for heroine’s father...and on and on. There were certainly a lot of romance tropes represented here, almost too many for the storyline to handle!
The Unique
  • In a lot of ways this book reminded me of the romances of yesteryear. It felt like a throwback to some “bodice rippers” I’ve read in the way the plot progressed, in the way the hero clearly had the upper hand in the situation and in the way the heroine’s virginity was presented.
The Playlist
  • The playlist I’ve created for The Billionaire’s Defiant Acquisition has two songs for Amber, two for Conall and two for the HEA. Amber’s songs are “American Sweetheart” by Elle King and “human” by Christina Perri. Conall’s additions are “Perfect Storm” by Braid Paisley and “Sparks” by Coldplay. Note: I DO NOT think Conall would be country music guy, but the lyrics for “Perfect Storm” were just too close of a match for Conall to pass up. “Stay With Me” by Sam Smith and “I Love You More Than You Think” by Rizzle Kicks represent Amber and Conall’s HEA.

I rate this book:
What did you think of The Billionaire’s Defiant Acquisition? Are there any songs that remind you of Conall, Amber and their HEA?

Monday, March 21, 2016

Heller Brother Hockey Series by Kelly Jamieson

Mini-Review and Character Study Playlist

When I saw the Heller Brother Hockey Series books were on sale for only $.99 I quickly 1-clicked and began reading. I had heard about the books on a Smart Bitches Trashy Books podcast awhile back but never pursued purchasing the books. I'm so glad I took the time to read this boxed set and I can't recommend these quick and funny reads enough. If you like sports romances and prefer your romances on the super spicy side, these books are full of catnip. My favorite book of the set was Breakaway since I'm a sucker for the fling trope, but I also thoroughly enjoyed Faceoff.

The playlist for the Heller Brothers Hockey series includes one song for each of the HEAs. Each song on the playlist was chosen for it's lyrics but I also paid attention to musical style and genre. For Jase and Remi I chose "Accidentally In Love" by Counting Crows. For Tag and Kyla we have "It Was Always You" by Maroon 5. For Logan and Nicole there is "Sort Of" by Ingrid Michaelson. Finally, for Matt and I added in "Overload" by Life of Dillon.

I rate this book:
What did you think of the Heller Brother Hockey series?
Are there any songs that remind you of the boys and their HEAs?

Friday, March 18, 2016

Officer Off Limits (A Line Of Duty #3) by Tessa Bailey

Mini-Review and Curated Soundtrack

We all have that friend who just completely understands your book reading habits. Luck for me, my book-habit-understanding-friend is a romance author who recommends all sorts of lovely books all of the time. Her latest recommendation was Officer Off Limits by Tessa Bailey. Have you read it? If not, you right now. Hot cops make everyone's weekend reading better. I'll certainly be reading the next book in the series over the weekend (Hayden, I'm coming for ya)!

Since it's Friday and I needed a little Friday awesomeness, I put together a playlist full of karaoke favorites for Officer Off Limits. It starts with a little TLC in honor of Story, but the rest of the musical gems are just some of my personal karaoke favorites.

I rate this book:
What did you think of Officer Off Limits? Are there any songs that remind you of Daniel, Story and their HEA?

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Some Like It Scot (Scandalous Highlanders #4) by Suzanne Enoch

Review and Character Study Playlist

Some Like It Scot by Suzanne Enoch is actually very different from most of the books I read. Heck, it’s even different from most regency books I’ve read. It's not overly explicit and it's not full of plot twists or deception; I’ll even admit it starts off fairly slow. However, as a whole, the book is very genuine and relatable. Bear and Cat’s shared feeling of being a misfit within their own clan and their slow-to-build emotional connection, was especially satisfying as it developed over the course of the book.

The Good

  • Cat’s feelings of unworthiness and self-doubt are relatable for a lot of female readers (they are certainly relatable for me at least). I’ve read quite a few books where the heroine feels unworthy for one reason or another, but no other book I’ve come across explores the heroine’s feelings so thoroughly or walks us through her internal transformation so meticulously. It’s worth reading this book simply to explore Cat’s character development.
  • This book had serious tension. Tension between Bear and Cat, between Bear and Ranulf and between the entire MacLawry family kept me engaged and absorbed once I fell head-first into the story.
  • The MacLawry familial bonds: I really enjoyed Rowena standing up for Bear and the closer look at the relationship between the brother and sister. Bear reaching out to Rowena in order to get Cat prepared to meet his family was really very sweet.
The Bad
  • The book is slow to start. For readers who have read the previous Scandalous Highlanders books and met Bear before, the initial set-up of this book will seem tedious. On the flip side though, this book can certainly be read as a stand-alone since Enoch explores the MacLawry world so thoroughly in the beginning.
The Unique
  • I love me a Highlander. I love me a shirtless man in a kilt on a cover. For those of us who have read books set in Regency Scotland before, this world is not new; the lairds, the Highlands, the kilts and the terminology just aren’t that unusual anymore. Enoch is able to make many of the pieces of this world seem unique again by viewing them through Cat’s eyes. Since Cat has been somewhat removed from typical Highland culture, and certainly typical feminine Highland culture, to view the world through her lens is a very interesting take on this popular romance time period.
The Playlist
  • The playlist I worked on for Some Like It Scot was crazy fun to work on. I tried to really capture Cat’s transformation in the lyrics of her songs. "Another Day" by Mark Broussard, "Ready to Run" by the Dixie Chicks and then "Fight Song" by Rachel Platten each point to a different point in Cat’s emotional journey. Bear’s songs all relate to his desire to make Cat realize her worth and the intensity of his feelings for her. For Bear I included three love ballads sung by men: "Make You Feel by Love" by Bob Dylan, "Just The Way You Are" by Bruno Mars and "She’s Always A Woman" by Billy Joel. There are two HEA songs too; "1000 Stars" by The Webb Sisters and "All Day and All of the Night" are on different ends of the music spectrum but the lyrics both fit Cat and Bear’s HEA perfectly. Bonus: The Piano Guys’ version of "Fight Song/Amazing Grace" with bagpipes!

I rate this book:
What did you think of Some Like It Scot? Are there any songs that remind you of Bear, Cat and their HEA?

Friday, March 11, 2016

Begging For It by Lilah Pace

Review and Curated Soundtrack

Asking For It had been out for quite some time when I got around to reading it, but, when I finished the book late last year and I wasn’t sure if I was ready to tackle Begging For It quite yet. So, I waited a month or so until I was in the right mood and then dove into Begging For It. Begging For It was a little less edgy for me than Asking For It, maybe because I previously grown to love and trust in Jonah and Vivienne. Although less edgy, it wasn’t at all less sexy and thought provoking. For me a key to all of Jonah and Vivienne’s “play” was consent, freely given and absolutely beautifully written. The last few paragraphs of the book made me heart seriously happy; I just love how Jonah is strong and tender at the same time. Oh...and the studio scene near the end of the book...HOT! If you liked Asking For It and are able to dive back into Jonah and Vivienne’s world and “play”, Begging For It should be on your “must read” list.

There are some books that seems to have built in playlists. The music jumps right off the page or specific song titles and artists are called out. Begging For It is one of those books. Not only did author Lilah Pace mention several songs by name (in the Krewe of Templars scene) but she also names some specific genres and gave us leading clues as to which songs were permeating specific scenes. I found my opera and latin music research for this playlist to be remarkably fun and illuminating. What Don Giovanni piece was actually playing during the Redgrave House scene? Exactly what kind of latin piano music does Maddox listen to in his car?

Also, make sure to visit Lilah’s website! She has her own soundtracks for Asking For It and Begging For It posted!

Spoiler Alert: I waivered on whether or not to include "Don’t Stop Believin’" on this curated soundtrack. For some reason the negative feelings I have regarding Chloe’s betrayal of Vivienne far outweigh my feelings about the Redgrave House scene. I’m sure my hesitation to add "Don’t Stop Believin’" to this list says something about personality or emotional state, but what that is, I’m not really sure :)

I rate this book:
What did you think of Begging For It? Are there any songs that remind you of Jonah, Vivienne and their HEA?

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Unlucky in Love (The Lucky Series #1) by Jill Sanders

{I received an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.
This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.}

Review and Curated Soundtrack

Unlucky in Love was a super quick read. In some regards, I’m not surprised since the book takes place over the course of a short amount of time and the characters have similar jobs/locations so there isn’t a lot of “ground” to cover. However, the plot of the book also involves a lot of events or “general roadblocks” and not a lot of character development. The lack of character connection seems to be the reason why the length of the book is a bit lacking rather than the general plot timeframe.

Things that happened to Kristen: boyfriend steals stuff, dates a married man, car gets stolen, locked out of office in the cold, elevator stuck, visited super hot boyfriend’s father’s bedside, stayed overnight in swanky hotel room, boyfriend attacked by a poisonous spider...I mean, A LOT of stuff happened for a short book. Even with all the “events” it didn't seem like the dramatic moments bring Aiden and Kristen closer emotionally (physically though, sure). It almost felt like an overview of their relationship, like I was skimming the surface throughout the entire 22 chapters.

Also, short rant, the people on the cover of this book don't seem indicative of how the author describes Kristen and Aiden!

The character study playlist for Unlucky in Love includes two songs for Kristen ("I Knew You Were Trouble" and "Beautiful Disaster"), two for Aiden ("Baby Come Back" and "Mirrors") and two for their HEA ("Let’s Never Stop Falling in Love" and "Middle of My Mind"). The songs I picked for Kristen revolved around the fact that Kristen is just not looking for a relationship when she meets Aiden. Aiden's songs were chosen for their brief fight/breakup towards the end of the book.

I rate this book:

What did you think of Unlucky in Love? Are there any songs that remind you of Aiden, Kristen and their HEA?

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

One Texas Cowboy Too Many (Burnt Boot #3) by Carolyn Brown

{I received an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.
This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.}

Review and Curated Soundtrack

When I was granted a chance to review One Texas Cowboy Too Many by Carolyn Brown I was over the moon excited. See, one of my favorite cowboy romances of all time is by Carolyn Brown, so I am all game for exploring another contemporary western by her. The Brown book I’ve loved for awhile even has a song that factors into the story on several occasions. In fact, I can’t hear How Do I Live by LeAnn Rimes without thinking of Lucky in Love (oh how I love a good secret baby). So what did I think of One Texas Cowboy Too Many? It was a solid three star romance. I didn’t love it but I found it entertaining and sweet, it’s a solid read that is light-hearted and fun.

I had two main problems with the plot. One: I just wasn’t feeling the meet-cute and relationship build-up between Rhett and Leah. Sure, they liked each other and had some chemistry, but I didn’t quite understand what drew them together. Besides a “love at first sight” thing going on, they didn’t have similar personalities or life experiences. What kept them coming back to one another? I just couldn’t seem to find the emotional connection between the two of them. Two: Do families seriously have feuds like in this book? The family feuds between the Brennans and the Gallaghers just seemed so far-fetched that I couldn’t suspend belief for what was, otherwise, a very realistic contemporary romance.

What I did like about the book was the idea of Leah having an alter ego, Eve. I found the conversations between Leah and Eve to be so very, very enjoyable. Who doesn’t want a sassy alter ego sometimes? Leah’s evolution, personally, over the length of the book was also wonderful to read about. She was already competent, but she became self-aware and self-assured throughout the book. It’s great to read about characters who are complex emotionally and aren’t afraid to show some emotion and agency. This book also came ready-made with an awesome playlist. Old school country mixed with some newer country hits? Yes please! Note: Brown specifically mentioned all of the songs and/or artists in this curated soundtrack!

I rate this book:

What did you think of One Texas Cowboy Too Many?
Are there any songs that remind you of Rhett, Leah and their HEA?