May #BookReviews Part 2 – @stacitroilo @m_morganauthor @ErskineCaldwell

This is Part 2 of my May Book Reviews and I am thrilled to share my thoughts on these three books with you!

Life in the Colorado mountains isn’t easy for immigrants Anita and Ottavio Notaro, particularly when they’re isolated on a hillside and barely speak the language. Anita is carrying their first child, and Tav works many long, hard hours away from home. This isn’t the American dream they were promised; this is a brutal life on the frontier. Tav has been saving money to make their lives easier, and he stumbles on a windfall. The only problem is, he isn’t the only one who knows about it. Trouble befalls these two humble Italians, threatening their livelihoods—and their lives.

A strange posse made up of fellow countrymen ride to their rescue. But will they get there in time?

PURCHASE LINK

MY REVIEW:


This short story sets the stage to begin the Medici Protectorate Series and after reading this introduction, I will be reading the rest of this series. The story gripped me from the first word on the first page to the last. A young Italian couple living on the rugged frontier in the Colorado mountains is struggling to survive. Ottavio and Anita Notaro have one dream and that is to return to their beloved homeland. Anita is heavy with their first child. Ottavio works hard and when he finds a treasure that will pay for their trip back home, he is overjoyed. But he isn’t the only one who knows about the treasure. The tragedy that befalls Anita and Tav is heartbreaking. This story is written in rich narrative, heavily descriptive, and filled with emotion that drips off the pages. It includes folklore, history, and even a touch of mysticism. I am anxious to dive into book one of the Medici Protectorate Series to see what happens next!

Known as the Barbarian, Magnar MacAlpin is a fierce ruler for those under his command. As leader of the Wolves of Clan Sutherland, his loyalty and obedience lies with Scotland. However, the king’s last demand is not something Magnar will tolerate.

After Elspeth Gunn’s brother the Chieftain of Castle Steinn is murdered, she flees with her nephew, and finds safety amongst a band of men who are rumored to be part wolf. When the king forces her to wed a heathen Northman, she fears losing her heart and soul not only to the man, but the beast as well.

In order to restore peace to a shattered clan, Magnar and Elspeth travel a treacherous path that challenges their beliefs. When evil seeks to destroy ancient traditions, will Magnar be compelled to restrain his wolf or allow him free to protect those he loves?

PURCHASE LINK

MY REVIEW:


This is the first book in the Wolves of the Clan Sutherland series. Set in Scotland in 1206, this story combines history, magic, folklore, and myth with reality. Magnar is the powerful and undisputed leader of the Sutherland Wolf Clan. All members of the clan are part man, part wolf but their power is in controlling the beast that resides within. They are fierce warriors and loyal to King William of Scotland. It would take a special kind of woman to win Magnar’s heart, to love both him and the wolf, and that woman is Elspeth. When her brother, Chieftan of Steinn castle, is murdered by heathen Northmen, she escapes taking her small nephew with her. Little Erik is now Chieftan by default, at the age of 7. Starving, she steals bags from two horses, never suspecting she has stolen from the king. When she and the young chieftain are brought before King William, he offers shelter and protection. He then commissions Magnar and his clan to go and rid the castle of the marauders. But to bring peace to the clans, the King orders Magnar to marry Elspeth. What starts out as a cautious and untrusting marriage soon turns steamy. This is a fantastic story with layers of side plots, including a twin brother unknown to Magnar. The two are destined to clash. This author did a fantastic job of weaving all of the layers together seamlessly and depicting the time period perfectly. I devoured the book and am now anxious for book 2, Rorik. If you love a steamy romance from that time period in the setting of Scotland and the Orkney Islands, this book is for you! If I could give it more than five stars, I would!

Single father and poor Southern farmer Ty Ty Walden has a plan to save his farm and his family: He will tear his fields apart until he finds gold. While Ty Ty obsesses over his fool’s quest, his sons and daughters search in vain for their own dreams of instant happiness—whether from money, violence, or sex. God’s Little Acre is a classic dark comedy, a satire that lampoons a broken South while holding a light to the toll that poverty takes on the hopes and dreams of the poor themselves. This ebook features an illustrated biography of Erskine Caldwell including rare photos and never-before-seen documents courtesy of the Dartmouth College Library.

KINDLE PURCHASE LINK

MY REVIEW:

I have always been a huge fan of Erskine Caldwell’s writing and lucked out recently in finding several of his books in a half-price book store in Dallas. I bought all of them and am now rereading them. I started with “God’s Little Acre.” This book was first published in 1933 and there is no way on earth this book would be published in today’s social climate. Erskine depicts poverty, attitudes, and social separations perfectly in this story. It opens with Ty Ty Walden digging deep holes all over his small Georgia farm. He is convinced there is gold under the ground. Two of his sons help him daily with the digging while sharecroppers make a half-hearted attempt to farm the land that isn’t riddled with holes. Because Ty Ty is a god-fearing man, he has designated one acre of his farm as God’s little acre with all profits realized from that acre to be donated to the church. However, when he thinks he is close to finding gold on that acre, he moves it. 🙂 Caldwell had such a distinct style of writing. The dialogue is original and true to the times and demographics of the story. Phrases such as “and that’s a fact,” follow many conversations. The loose morals of the women in this story are depicted in such a way that is believable but not offensive (at least to me.) As the story unfolds, there are two major plots. The first being gold fever and the second being a different life that depends on the cotton gin running to survive. When the big wigs shut down the gin to starve out the workers, Ty Ty’s son-in-law takes the matter into his hands, determined to push past the guards, turn the power back on and return his people to work. It doesn’t end well for him. This book could possibly be classified as a tragedy, or perhaps as a high-drama, but at best it is the work of an author who dared to blur the lines and be boldly “real.” Caldwell’s greatest strength is in portraying three-dimensional characters and what motivates each. He writes from multiple points of view (a no-no in today’s literary world.) It is a classic no-holds-barred novel. If you have a weak stomach or strong social morals, this book is not going to be for you. But if you want to explore the writing genius of Erskine Caldwell, it’s a great place to start. Interestingly enough, the story is classified on Amazon as dark humor, classic humor, and literary satire. In my opinion, none of that fits. I will be making my way through the collection that I purchased. On a final note, Caldwell died in 1987. Thank goodness the publishing houses didn’t decide to keep publishing new work using a ghostwriter after his death.

May #BookReviews Part 1 – @LBroday @lisawellsauthor @1rburkey @CalebPirtle @CW_Hawes @jamesrcallan @virgilante

I have had SUCH a great month of eclectic reading! I’m happy to share my thoughts on these books but it is going to take two posts to share them all. Please keep in mind I only share four and five star review reads.

Deacon Brannock is determined to make a name for himself and the saloon he’s worked his whole life to afford. He was prepared for life in the Wild West, but he hadn’t counted on Grace Legend…

Grace has always fought hard for what she believes in, and after her best friend is killed at the hands of her drunk and angry husband, that includes keeping alcohol out of her town. When the owner of the new saloon turns out to be a kind and considerate man, she can’t help but wonder if they could have a future together…if they weren’t on opposite sides of every issue.

PURCHASE LINK

MY REVIEW:

I first met Grace Legend in book 2 of the Men of Legend Series. She was a baby, but a precocious one and soon had the calloused cowboys on the huge Lone Star Ranch wrapped around her little finger. In this book, she is all grown up and forging a life for herself. She’s ambitious and sassy. She joins a Women’s Temperance Movement and marches with other women into the notorious Hell’s Half Acre in Fort Worth, known for the danger that lurks there. However, she isn’t prepared for the handsome and kind owner she finds at the Three Deuces saloon. And when they smash his whiskey barrels, destroying his livelihood, things heat up. Deacon Brannock has gone through hell and back to establish his business and just when things are running smoothly, here come these women determined to destroy him. One of my favorite scenes in the book is when Grace Legend’s father, the great Houston Legend, forces her to go to the saloon and clean up the mess she helped the women make. Then Houston replenishes Deacon’s whiskey supply. The tension been Grace and Deacon is so thick you can’t cut it with a sharp knife. It is highly unlikely that the two could ever be civil to each other, much less fall in love. This story is filled with such powerful imagery. Broday has depicted life in the rough and rowdy town of Fort Worth, Texas in the late 1880s perfectly. She uses all of the senses to bring the scenes to life. The characters are well-developed and layered, each with their own bag of secrets. If you love western romance, you are going to love this new book! I highly recommend it.

Librarian Kinley Foster wants to write erotic romance—the steamy, sexy, curl-your-toes kind of stuff. The problem? She desperately needs a little erotic inspiration. And at a romance convention in Vegas, she finds it…or rather him.

Literary agent Ian Thompson is a professional. Mentoring an aspiring author is one thing, giving her a thoroughly satisfying sexy education is quite another. Especially when she’s as stunning and deliciously curvaceous as Kinley. Yet Ian can’t help himself when Kinley makes him a wager he can’t resist. A wager that will tempt Ian to cross every professional—and every sensual—boundary in the book…

PURCHASE LINK

MY REVIEW:

Steamy with a Capital S!!! This was such a fun book to read and I immediately fell in love with both characters. Kinley Foster has an older brother, so grew up around all of his friends. She’s had a major crush on his friend, Ian Thompson, since she can remember. But he rejected her and she’s never forgotten. Now she’s an aspiring author, writing steamy romance and heading to Las Vegas for a conference where she hopes to land a literary agent. To her surprise, the man she hasn’t seen in ten years who picks her up at the airport is none other than Ian Thompson. He’s every bit as handsome as she remembers. One debacle leads to another and she has to share a hotel suite with him. What a surprise to find that Ian Thompson is actually the acclaimed literary agent, I. Hartley. Kinley is in over her head after an indecent proposal from Thompson where he promises to teach her what she needs to know to write steamy romance. This is an off-the-charts steamy romance with a little light BDSM and a lot of hot sex with a series of missteps and mishaps. I won’t leave a spoiler, but I will say I enjoyed this light read. It’s a great way to escape from reality!

One photograph – A single image – A lonely boat on the edge of the sea.
Is it adrift? – Was it abandoned? – Did it wash ashore? – Was anyone aboard?
Did someone leave it behind? – Is anyone coming back? – Who knows.
The sea has washed the footprints away.
Look at the vessel and think: “If that old boat could talk, what stories it would tell.”
Wonder no longer. Twelve members of Underground Authors all gazed upon the same image.
And to each, the photograph told a different story. Same boat. Same image. Different genres. From mystery and technothriller to romance and magical realism, from horror and historical fiction to fantasy and suspense with a little paranormal thrown in for good measure. These stories are presented in Beyond The Sea and are the handiwork of award-winning authors. The stories are all different as the boat had more than one secret to tell. It had a dozen.

PURCHASE LINK

MY REVIEW:

This is a compilation of short stories from twelve different authors. Each story is unique and the twelve together cover a diverse compilation of genres. There is everything from mystery to apocalyptic to historical and suspense. While I enjoyed them all, there were a few that really stood out to me, as a reader. C.W. Hawes wrote a compelling short story that I didn’t want to come to an end. His words came alive and I joined in with the characters in a hair-raising survival journey in a post-apocalyptic world. Great world-building and great writing! The Breakfield and Burkey writing duo wrote an inspiring tale about taking that proverbial leap of faith not knowing if it will end all the hopes, dreams, and goals of two ambitious young ladies. James R. Callan offers a nail-biting tale about an unexpected kidnapping and daring escape. Linda Pirtle took me on a mystery-solving journey while Kelly Marshall left me with goosebumps from her chilling tale of revenge. The theme of all of these stories is the boat you see on the cover. That is the common thread. It’s so amazing to me how any group of people can view one photo and all see a different story in it. Again, while I enjoyed each story, these are just a few that stood out to me. If you are looking for entertaining diversity, this compilation of short stories is perfect as there is something for everyone! I highly recommend this book to all readers of all genres! And as a result of this book, I will be exploring other work by these authors.

Lizzie and the hat are back in action, only this time they’re up against the most tragic monster of all, a werewolf.

This adventure is more like hunting an animal, and the werewolf is unlikely to come to any of their musical performances. This puts Lizzie out in the dark corners and wooded areas of the city. It may be more beneficial to get the monster to hunt Lizzie than to stalk him on his own turf. All she has to do is be quicker on the trigger than the wolf is on his feet.

At the same time, the police think they’re after a serial killer. Lizzie tries to keep them alive while also keeping them out of her way. As the body count rises, so do the pressures. It doesn’t help that people are blaming Lizzie and the hat for the killings. This involves an urban myth about them that the locals call Hellpox.

Pull on your boogie shoes and join the hunt. Designed as an afternoon read, this one is tons of supernatural fun.

PURCHASE LINK

MY REVIEW:


This story, which is book 4 in The Hat series, is multi-layered. Lizzie St. Laurent and her magical sidekick, The Hat (a creature from another dimension) find themselves entrenched in a futile search for a killer. Not only a killer, but one who devours its victims, leaving behind only a few small body pieces and rivers of blood. This quickly earns him the nickname of “Sausage Maker” from the media. While Lizzie and The Hat normally hunt down vampires and ghouls, this one is different and The Hat tries to talk Lizzie out of pursuing it. The other plot unfolding in the story is police sergeant, Joe Yoder, who is grieving the death of his wife. He keeps a pomander drenched in her perfume (Emeraude) and smells it when he needs to feel her near or wants to communicate with her, which he does quite often. When he’s assigned to the murder cases, he’s at a loss. This doesn’t seem like anything human. Yet, what else could it be? Everyone knows werewolves and vampires don’t really exist, even if all of the killings do occur on the full moon. One of the things I’ve loved in each of The Hat books is the banter back and forth between Lizzie and The Hat. It adds a nice helping of humor to an otherwise dark story. The Hat loves surfing the internet and spending money. The Hat is also the manager for the band, Lizzie and the Pythons, where he plays the stand-up bass through Lizzie’s fingers. In this book, we get a closer look at some of the other band members. Lizzie fears one of them could be the murderer. The way this book concludes, we get to see a softer more vulnerable side of Lizzie that’s not been shown before. This is an entertaining read with fabulous world-building and engaging characters. I highly recommend this and the other books in The Hat series. Also, it’s worth noting that you do not have to read the previous books before this one. It works well as a standalone

PART 2 OF MY MAY REVIEWS COMING UP!

#NewRelease – A Cowboy of Legend @LBroday @WesternRomance #Giveaway

I am thrilled to announce the winner of the giveaway!!

Congratulations, Parris Afton Bonds!

You have won A Cowboy of Legend!

Thank you for having me, Jan. I’m so excited to be here talking about my new book.

Excuse me, what’s Your Name?

This question wasn’t asked much on the American frontier and if you were so bold, you were liable to get shot. The old West offered men (and women) a multitude of places to disappear into and leave behind whatever trouble he/she found themselves in.

No telephone. No internet. No Social Security numbers. Nothing. It was perfect.

There were probably hundreds of men back then looking to change their identities and disappear, and did. Outlaws checked into hotels and boardinghouses under an alias as did most politicians and famous people and still do today. In fact, in the 1800s it was such a common practice that, when introduced, people naturally assumed that the name was fake.

Elvis Presley used Jon Burrows when he sought anonymity. Frank Sinatra became Frankie Satin. Marilyn Monroe was Zelda Zonk.

In 1974, a singer/songwriter named Connie Converse told her family and friends that she’d had enough and was going to disappear. She packed up her Volkswagen Beetle and drove away. No one ever heard from her again despite many searches.

In my upcoming release, A Cowboy of Legend, Deacon Brannock has taken a fake name in order to disappear. All is well and good until firebrand Grace Legend marches into Hell’s Half Acre with burning determination to shut down his saloon, The Three Deuces. She’s a member of the Temperance Society and hellbent on running him out of business. All her life, she’s taken up one cause after another but this one springs from her heart and is what she’s most passionate about.

But here’s the thing…Grace is also a reporter and writes a weekly column under her own alias in an attempt to hide it from her family. Like a bloodhound, she discovers that Deacon Brannock is hiding a humdinger of a juicy secret. Oh, I love it!

A Cowboy of Legend contains a lot of secrets. Writing about secrets is fun for an author. Where there are secrets there’s conflict and those are what drives a story. I just love it when a book contains mysteries. I can’t turn the pages fast enough.

You can find an excerpt on my webpage: https://lindabroday.com/books/lone-star-legends/a-cowboy-of-legend-1-lone-star-legends/

This is Book 1 of a new series called Lone Star Legends and released April 27th. Book 2 – A Cowboy Christmas Legend – follows in September.

My question: If you could change your identity and disappear, would you? My generation really overdid the Lindas and I’ve hated my name so I think I’d chose to be Sierra or maybe Summer or Sapphire. What new name would you choose if you were going to disappear?

I’m giving away an autographed copy (either print or ebook) so I wish you luck!

PURCHASE LINKS:

AMAZON BARNES & NOBLE APPLE KOBO

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

NY Times and USA Today Bestselling Author, Linda Broday

I’m a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of historical western romance books and short stories. Here in the Texas Panhandle, I reside on ancient land that carries the voices of those who’ve gone before on the wind. If I close my eyes and get real still, I often hear them whispering stories in my ear.

My love of history and the Old West was born from watching TV westerns and visiting museums and libraries. I’ve always been an avid reader and books opened up entirely new exciting worlds that seemed limited only by my imagination.

Cowboys have always fascinated me and I often think I was born 150 years too late. I love writing about those men, their ladies, and the struggles they endure in trying to carve out a small place to call home. Western romance is my passion and I feel truly blessed. Humble roots and the love of family have become focal points in my stories. I sincerely hope readers enjoy what I strive to bring to life on the printed page.

I’m a mother, grandmother, and now a great grandmother. In my family, I’m the storyteller and the one who records our history. I come from a long line of poor but prideful people. That’s okay. I’m happy with that. This is my legacy.

FOLLOW LINDA:

WEBSITE

FACEBOOK

TWITTER

BOOKBUB

Once Upon A Mail Order Bride – Linda Broday #NewRelease @LBroday

Wow! I am super excited to get the opportunity to showcase my sister’s latest book, “Once Upon A Mail Order Bride!” This is an amazing story. But I’ll let Linda tell you about it!

Once Upon a Mail Order Bride is the fourth and final book of my Outlaw Mail Order Brides series and this makes my 30th publishing milestone. I warn readers to put their feet in the stirrups and hang on tight because this story is full of twists, turns, and surprises as Ridge and Addie fight tooth and nail for their happily ever after.

Ridge Steele is an ex-preacher weary of the outlaw life on the run and yearns for someone to share his days and nights with. He’s excited when Adeline Jancy agrees to marry him sight unseen upon her release from prison.

She’s as beautiful and kind as he’d dared hope for—except she can’t speak a word, resorting to written communication only.

The look in her pretty eyes reveals fear that he’d send her back. Only he’d been through enough hard times to know he can’t do that to her. He’s in it for the long haul. But married life isn’t easy. They both find it littered with one problem after another that threatens to steal their happiness and culminates in an on-the-edge-of-your-seat fight for justice…and a future glimmering ahead.

I think readers will find the story gripping. From the moment Ridge and Addie walked onto the page, I knew they were perfect for each other and that opinion never wavered. I hope you give their story a try.

“Broday concludes the Outlaw Mail Order Bride series with a sizzling finale that features a tantalizingly slow build to intimate trust that catapults into adrenaline packed ardor.”  ~Booklist

BLURB:

Accused of crimes he didn’t commit, ex-preacher Ridge Steele is forced to give up everything he knew and make his home with outlaws. Desperate for someone to confide in, he strikes up correspondence with mail-order bride Adeline Jancy, finding in her the open heart he’s been searching for. Upon her arrival, Ridge discovers Addie only communicates through the written word, but he knows a little of what trauma can do to a person and vows to stand by her side.

Addie is eager to start a new life with the kind ex-preacher and the little boy she’s stolen away from her father―a zealot priest of a terrorized flock. As her small family settles into life at Hope’s Crossing, she even begins to find the voice, and confidence, she’d lost so long ago.

But danger is not far behind, and her father will not be denied. While Addie desperately fights the man who destroyed her childhood, a determined Ridge races to the rescue. The star-crossed lovers will need more than prayers to survive this final challenge…and find their way back to each other again.

MY REVIEW:

5.0 out of 5 stars  Ridge and Addie will grab your heart! Reviewed in the United States on November 24, 2020

I loved everything about this story! The tough preacher turned outlaw, the woman who has endured more than anyone should ever have to, and the circumstances that bring them together are like an intricately woven blanket. These two have what seem to be insurmountable obstacles from the price on Ridge’s head to Addie’s inability to speak. They find ways to communicate, to heal, and to rebuild everything that is broken. If you love stories set in the old West with strong heroes and heroines, you will love this story from Linda Broday! I highly recommend it!

PURCHASE LINK:

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

I’m a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of historical western romance books and short stories. Here in the Texas Panhandle, I reside on ancient land that carries the voices of those who’ve gone before on the wind. If I close my eyes and get real still, I often hear them whispering stories in my ear.

My love of history and the Old West was born from watching TV westerns and visiting museums and libraries. I’ve always been an avid reader and books opened up entirely new exciting worlds that seemed limited only by my imagination.

Cowboys have always fascinated me and I often think I was born 150 years too late. I love writing about those men, their ladies, and the struggles they endure in trying to carve out a small place to call home. Western romance is my passion and I feel truly blessed. Humble roots and the love of family have become focal points in my stories. I sincerely hope readers enjoy what I strive to bring to life on the printed page.

I’m a mother, grandmother, and now a great grandmother. In my family, I’m the storyteller and the one who records our history. I come from a long line of poor but prideful people. That’s okay. I’m happy with that. This is my legacy.

FOLLOW LINDA:

WEBSITE

FACEBOOK

TWITTER

LINKEDIN