Category Archives: Carolyn Brown

Review: How to Marry a Cowboy by Carolyn Brown

marry cowboyTitle: How to Marry a Cowboy by Carolyn Brown
Cowboys and Brides Series Book Four
Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca
Genre: Contemporary, Romance
Length: 352 pages
Book Rating: B+

Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Publisher Through NetGalley

Summary:

From New York Times and USA Today-bestselling author Carolyn Brown comes a contemporary Western romance filled to the brim with sexy cowboys, gutsy heroines, and genuine down-home Texas twang.

Texas rancher Mason Harper’s daughters want a new mama in the worst way, and when a beautiful woman in a tattered wedding gown appears on their doorstep, the two little girls adopt her-no ifs, ands, or buts about it. Mason isn’t sure about taking in a complete stranger, but Lord knows he needs a nanny, and Annie Rose Boudreau stirs his heart in long-forgotten ways…

Annie Rose is desperate, and when a tall, sexy cowboy offers her a place to stay, she can’t refuse. After all, it’s just for a little while. As she settles in deeper, her heart tells her both Mason and her role as makeshift mama suit her just fine. But will Mason feel the same way once her nightmare past catches up with her?

Fans of Linda Lael Miller and Diana Palmer will thrill to this moving story of a lonely cowboy and his two little girls finding the family of their dreams.

The Review:

How to Marry a Cowboy is another delightfully charming installment in Carolyn Brown’s heartwarming Cowboys and Brides series. In this outing, widower Mason Harper finds love after he hires Annie Rose Boudreaux as his mischievous twins’ nanny.

Annie Rose is a down to earth, no nonsense woman. She has been in hiding from her abusive ex when she winds up on Mason’s front porch and despite a few suspicions on both sides, she agrees to stay on as the girls’ nanny. Although Annie Rose still has a few residual trust issues when it comes to men, her instincts are telling her Mason is a good man. There is an instant connection between Annie Rose, Lily and Gabby and she is a calming influence on the rambunctious little girls.

Mason has been raising Gabby and Lily on his own ever since his wife unexpectedly passed away eight years earlier. Although he has casually dated over the years, no one has really captured his attention, but that changes pretty quickly once Annie Rose enters the picture. He is instantly attracted to her but he has to come to terms with the uncomfortable feeling he is betraying his deceased wife by pursuing a relationship with Annie Rose.

Lily and Gabby are precocious yet lovable young hellions that pretty much steal every scene they are in. They are sometimes not too happy with Annie Rose’s efforts to keep them out of trouble, but they are pretty determined to keep her on the ranch.  They also try their hand at a little matchmaking between their nanny and their father (even though it really isn’t necessary).

Annie Rose and Mason’s friendship slowly turns to love and some of their sweetest scenes are on the front porch swing where they discuss their day with one another. Their relationship is mostly conflict free with only a few a tense moments when unresolved issues from their pasts briefly come between them.

How to Marry a Cowboy is a gentle love story that is humorous, romantic and just plain fun. It is the perfect conclusion to Carolyn Brown’s Cowboys and Brides series and I am very eager to dive into her next series!

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Filed under Carolyn Brown, Contemporary, Cowboys and Brides Series, How to Marry a Cowboy, Rated B+, Review, Romance, Sourcebooks Casablanca

Review: The Red-Hot Chili Cook-Off by Carolyn Brown

chiliTitle: The Red-Hot Chili Cook-Off by Carolyn Brown
Cadillac, Texas Series Book Two
Publisher: Sourcebooks
Imprint: Sourcebooks Landmark
Genre: Contemporary, Women’s Fiction, Romance
Length: 320 pages
Book Rating: B

Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Publisher Through NetGalley

Summary:

More Than the Chili’s Heating Up Cadillac, Texas

Carlene Lovelle, co-owner of Bless My Bloomers lingerie shop, found a pair of fancy red-silk panties in her husband’s briefcase, and all hell is breaking loose. She custom-made those fancy bloomers herself—and she remembers the bimbo who bought them. If her husband had a lick of sense, he’d known there are no secrets in a town like Cadillac.

Carlene’s cohorts—and their mamas—plan to exact revenge on Lenny Joe where it’ll hurt the most: break his ten-year winning streak at the prestigious Red-Hot Chili Cook-Off. Never before has a woman dared to compete. But the ladies of Bless My Bloomers are cooking up a storm…and it seems the whole town is taking sides in the showdown.

Welcome to Cadillac, Texas, where the chili is hot, the gossip is hotter, and friends stick by each other, no matter what the challenge.

The Review:

Carolyn Brown’s The Red-Hot Chili Cook-Off is another delightful fun-filled adventure in her Cadillac, Texas series. In this outing, a pair of red panties sets the small town on its ear when Carlene Lovelle, her cousins and their mamas decide to exact their revenge on Carlene’s cheating soon-to-ex husband by claiming this year’s Red-Hot Chili Cook-Off trophy. Hilarity ensues, rumors are flying and sides are chosen, but through it all, family and friends provide Carlene with plenty of support as she picks up the pieces of her life.

Alma Grace and Patrice know something is wrong when they arrive at work before their cousin Carlene. Both are flabbergasted at Carlene’s news that her husband Lenny has been cheating on her for months and she is planning to divorce him. Patrice is staunchly loyal and offers encouragement but both are stunned (and annoyed) when Alma Grace tries to convince Carlene to give Lenny the benefit of the doubt and save her marriage. Of course the girls’ mamas, Gigi, Tansy and Sugar are on hand to lend moral support, but things really heat up when Carlene’s horrid mother-in-law stirs up trouble with Carlene’s Aunt Sugar. The women are soon immersed in their quest for the perfect chili recipe but there is plenty of time for romances to unexpectedly bloom for two of the cousins.

Alma Grace, Patrice and Carlene are as close as sisters but the three women are completely different from one another. Alma Grace is deeply religious and super involved in church activities. Using scripture to prove her point, she prays for Carlene to forgive Lenny and honor her wedding vows. Patrice is a fun-loving party girl who lives her life exactly like she wants and could care less about what people think of her. Carlene’s struggles with her body image are resurrected when she discovers Lenny’s infidelities and she is the most affected by the strife with her cousins.

The town is scandalized by the upcoming divorce and the rumor mill is working overtime with all of the shenanigans going on. Gossip spreads faster than wildfire and longtime feuds heat up as everyone takes sides in the upcoming chili cook off battle. Cheating husband Lenny’s fall from grace is long overdue and the final revenge for his misdeeds comes from a surprising source.

The Red-Hot Chili Cook-Off is a lively and zany addition to the Cadillac, Texas series. The characters are vibrant and engaging, the story is endearingly off beat and full of down home folksy charm. A wonderfully heartwarming and highly entertaining novel that old and new fans of Carolyn Brown are going to love.

Although The Red-Hot Chili Cook-Off is the second novel in the Cadillac, Texas series, it can be read as a standalone story. Read my review of the first installment HERE.

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Filed under Cadillac TX Series, Carolyn Brown, Contemporary, Rated B, Review, Romance, Sourcebooks Landmark, The Red-Hot Chili Cook-Off

Review: The Cowboy’s Mail Order Bride by Carolyn Brown

mail-orderTitle: The Cowboy’s Mail Order Bride by Carolyn Brown
Cowboys & Brides Series Book Three
Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca
Genre: Contemporary, Romance
Length: 384 pages
Book Rating: B

Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Publisher Through NetGalley

Summary:

She’s Got Sass…

Emily Cooper promised her dying grandfather that she’d deliver a long-lost letter to a woman he once planned to wed. Little does adventurous Emily know that this simple task will propel her to places she never could have imagined…with a cowboy who’s straight out of her dreams…

He’s Got Mail…

When sexy rancher Greg Adams discovers his grandmother Clarice has installed Emily on their ranch as her assistant, he decides to humor the two ladies. He figures Emily will move on soon enough. In the meantime, he intends to keep a close eye on her—he doesn’t quite buy her story of his grandmother as a mail-order bride.

A lost letter meant a lost love for Clarice, but two generations later, maybe it’s not too late for that letter to work its magic.

The Review:

The Cowboy’s Mail Order Bride is a sweet but spicy addition to the Cowboys & Brides series. With her trademark wit and delightfully appealing characters, Carolyn Brown’s latest release is sure to be a hit with fans of contemporary Western romances.

To fulfill her grandfather’s dying request, Emily Cooper plans on delivering a long lost letter to ranch owner Clarice (Barton) Adams then heading off on her month long vacation. But Emily is charmed by both Clarice and her good friend Dotty, so she winds up agreeing to stay on at the ranch as Clarice’s assistant and part-time ranch hand instead. What Emily doesn’t bargain on is Clarice’s super sexy grandson Greg and their very unexpected, but deliciously hot, attraction to each other.

Emily and Greg are perfect for one another. They both adore their grandparents to distraction but they really bond over their mutual love of ranching. Greg is impressed by Emily’s strong work ethic and her easygoing acceptance of Clarice’s (and her cohorts) shenanigans. Emily is intrigued by Greg before she even meets him and she is utterly charmed by his relationship with Clarice. Their friendship blooms almost right from the start and love quickly follows.

Clarice, Dotty and two of their other good friends, Madge and Rose, have been doing a little scheming behind Greg’s back to help him meet that special someone. Their well intentioned (but way of their depth) matchmaking provides some of the funniest moments in the novel. Poor Greg doesn’t have a clue what’s in store for him, but Emily handles all of their meddling with good humor.

As always, Carolyn Brown delivers an angst-free but romantic story with quirky but lovable characters. The Cowboy’s Mail Order Bride is another slightly wacky but fun-filled novel that is full of down home country charm, authentic Texas dialect and witty banter. Although it is the third installment in the Cowboys & Brides series, it can be read as a standalone.

Read my review of the other novels in the series HERE.

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Filed under Carolyn Brown, Contemporary, Cowboys and Brides Series, Rated B, Review, Romance, Sourcebooks, Sourcebooks Casablanca, The Cowboy's Mail Order Bride

Review: Cowboy Seeks Bride by Carolyn Brown

Title: Cowboy Seeks Bride by Carolyn Brown
Spikes & Spurs Series Book Seven
Publisher: Sourcebooks
Imprint: Sourcebooks Casablanca
Genre: Contemporary, Romance
Length: 384 pages
Book Rating: B

Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Publisher Through NetGalley

Summary:

He’s Tough as Nails and Ready to Ride…

Rancher Dewar O’Donnell is just an old-fashioned cowboy at heart, and he can’t wait to reenact the historic Chisholm Trail ride with his buddies. The trial-run cattle drive for a reality TV show sounds like a great time—until H.B. McKay pulls up in her slick red sports car…

She’s Way Out of Her Element…

Haley McKay is a feisty, high-powered businesswoman with the power suit and stiletto heels to prove it. She’s keen to research her company’s hot new idea for a reality TV show—but mount up with a bunch of modern-day cowboys? Are they kidding?

It’s too late to back out now, so Haley sets out to prove that it will take more than snakes, storms, and stampedes to make her back down.

The Review:

Take a step back in time in Carolyn Brown’s Cowboy Seeks Bride as Dewar O’Donnell and Haley McKay fall in love while reenacting a cattle drive on the Chisholm Trail. This fun romance will have you laughing out loud at some of the mishaps that befall them as they travel by horseback from Texas to Kansas. While it is a contemporary novel, the lack of modern conveniences gives the story a old-fashioned vibe that fans of contemporary and historical romances will enjoy.

I wasn’t sure if I was going to like Haley at first. She comes across as rather prissy and I was sure she was going to spend most of the cattle drive complaining. But I was pleasantly surprised by how quickly she adapted to the simpler life and I loved how she rose to the different challenges facing her. Haley is quite feisty and she can definitely hold her own against all the men on the trip with her. She is a little slower to change what she considers the perfect man, but Dewar is a hard man to resist. What I liked best about Haley is how much the cattle drive changed her perceptions of herself and what she is looking for in life.

Dewar is the quintessential cowboy and he loves his life on the ranch. While he is satisfied with his life overall, Dewar is ready to settle down, but he has not found Miss Right just yet. Haley is just his type except for the fact that is a city woman through and through. He is upfront that city life is not for him and with Haley’s adamant insistence that country life is not for her, Dewar is reluctant to act on his attraction for her.

I absolutely loved watching Dewar and Haley fall for one another. Even though they really do not know where their relationship is going, Dewar and Haley spend every free moment they can together after they decide to give in to their desire. The backdrop of the cattle drive adds romance to relationship because seriously, is there anything more romantic than making love under the stars?

What really made the story enjoyable for me is the cattle drive. It is a very unique setting and I really liked the change of pace from complicated every day life. One of Carolyn Brown’s strengths as a writer is her ability to bring the scenery vividly to life and wow, she really outdoes herself in Cowboy Seeks Bride. I could feel the raging thunderstorms and easily visualize the beauty of the moonlit nights. The cattle drive is not always exciting and this is reflected in the day to day monotony. It would be easy to romanticize the experience but Ms. Brown does not downplay the inconveniences and hardships they face along the way. At the end of the trip, each of the cowboys gives their honest opinions of their adventure and I thought their various reactions were realistic.

Cowboy Seeks Bride was a little slow in the beginning, but it picks up speed about a quarter of the way in. The romance between Dewar and Haley is sweet but sexy and their sex scenes are quite steamy. Their transition back to real life is a little bumpy but their conflict is wrapped up fairly quickly. The ending is pure romance and I savored every luscious second of it.

Cowboy Seeks Bride is the seventh (and final) installment in the Spikes and Spurs series but it can easily be read as a standalone story.

Read my reviews of the other books in the series HERE.

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Filed under Carolyn Brown, Contemporary, Cowboy Seeks Bride, Rated B, Review, Romance, Sourcebooks, Sourcebooks Casablanca, Spikes & Spurs Series

Review: Billion Dollar Cowboy by Carolyn Brown

Title: Billion Dollar Cowboy by Carolyn Brown
Cowboys and Brides Series Book One
Publisher: Sourcebooks
Imprint: Sourcebooks Casablanca
Genre: Contemporary, Romance
Length: 352 pages
Book Rating: B

Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Publisher Through NetGalley

Summary:

A Billionaire Can Buy Anything…

Colton Nelson was twenty-eight years old when he won the Texas Lottery and went from ranch hand to ranch owner overnight. Now he’s desperate to keep the gold diggers away. It shouldn’t be too hard to find a pretty girl and hire her to pretend to be his one-and-only.

Or Can He?

Laura Baker’s got mixed feelings about this—she’s on the ranch to work, not to be arm candy. On the other hand, being stuck for a while in the boondocks with a gorgeous cowboy isn’t half-bad.

What neither Colton nor Laura expects are the intensely hard lessons they have to learn about the real cost of love…

The Review:

If you have ever dreamed of winning the lottery, then you are going to love Billion Dollar Cowboy. This first novel in Carolyn Brown’s Cowboys and Brides series, is a delightful (but slightly unrealistic) romance that is full of charming characters.

Laura Baker has a long history of bailing her sister Janet out of trouble. Janet’s latest disaster involves loan sharks and a huge debt, so Laura turns to her cousin Andy Joe for a loan. Andy gladly loans her the money and gives her a job as his personal assistant on Colton Nelson’s ranch. Laura’s life take an interesting turn when she agrees to pretend to be Colton’s girlfriend in an attempt to discourage the gold diggers continually plaguing him.

Laura and Colton are wonderfully developed and likable protagonists. Laura is a what you see is what you get type of person and she always stays true to herself. She is unimpressed with Colton’s wealth and that never changes throughout the story. Colton is pretty much the same guy he was before he won the lottery and he is very generous to his family and employees. Both have insecurities and trust issues stemming from their childhoods that threaten to derail their burgeoning relationship.

Now I will be the first to admit that the premise of Billion Dollar Cowboy is a bit of a stretch of the imagination. But I liked the Colton, Laura and the secondary characters enough to overlook some of the more improbable plot points and just enjoy the overall story. Colton and Laura’s romance is sweet with just enough spice to make their relationship believable.

Billion Dollar Cowboy is an entertaining homespun romance that is sure to appeal to fans of contemporary romances and leave them eagerly anticipating the next novel in Carolyn Brown’s Cowboys and Brides series.

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Filed under Billion Dollar Cowboy, Carolyn Brown, Contemporary, Cowboys and Brides Series, Rated B, Review, Romance, Sourcebooks, Sourcebooks Casablanca