Category Archives: Carolyn Brown

Review: The Trouble with Texas Cowboys by Carolyn Brown

texas cowboysTitle: The Trouble with Texas Cowboys by Carolyn Brown
Burnt Boot, Texas Series Book Two
Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca
Genre: Contemporary, Romance
Length: 352 pages
Book Rating: B

Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Publisher Through NetGalley

Summary:

Can a girl ever have too many cowboys?
No sooner does pint-sized spitfire Jill Cleary set foot on Fiddle Creek Ranch than she finds herself in the middle of a hundred-year-old feud. Quaid Brennan and Tyrell Gallagher are both tall, handsome, and rich…and both are courting Jill to within an inch of her life. She’s doing her best to give these feuding ranchers equal time-too bad it’s dark-eyed Sawyer O’Donnell who makes her blood boil and her hormones hum…

The Review:

The Trouble with Texas Cowboys, the second installment in Carolyn Brown’s Burnt Boot, Texas series, is another sweet and fun-filled romance. After their inauspicious first meeting, Sawyer O’Donnell and Jill Cleary team up to avoid getting caught in the middle of a longstanding feud between the Gallaghers and the Brennans.

Jill and Sawyer have not had time to settle into their new home or jobs on Fiddle Creek Ranch before disaster strikes. Jill’s aunt is injured and in addition to their ranching duties, Jill and Sawyer are also busy manning the local bar and town store.  They easily handle their workload but keeping out of the clutches of the rival families? More work than all three of their jobs combined, but Jill and Sawyer quickly devise a plan to steer clear of the determined families. The feud promptly heats up but so does an unanticipated romance between Jill and Sawyer.

Jill and Sawyer are both fairly laidback and their relationship begins with an easygoing friendship. After they each attend one dinner with the rival families, they both know that they do not want to take sides in the feud. The Brennans and Gallaghers are pretty relentless in trying to convince them otherwise but Jill and Sawyer successfully avoid being alone with any of them. Constantly thrown together, Jill and Sawyer are both surprised by their unexpected attraction, but instead of fighting it, they agree to see where it leads them. Their resulting romance is slow growing but very sweet and steamy.

The Gallagher/Brennan feud is instrumental in bringing Jill and Sawyer together and it is a big part of the storyline. The various family members are involved in some pretty crazy and over the top schemes that keep everyone plenty stirred up. There are also plenty of cat fights between the women and fistfights and brawls erupt between the men. The feud is a unique device to keep Jill and Sawyer united in their efforts to stay neutral, but their romance is sometimes eclipsed by all of the fighting and scheming of the Gallaghers and Brennans.

The Trouble with Texas Cowboys is a light-hearted addition to the Burnt Boot, Texas series. Jill and Sawyer are engaging, likable characters and their romance is delightfully angst free. An overall witty and charming love story with just a touch of drama, this latest offering from Carolyn Brown is sure to be a hit with anyone who enjoys contemporary Western romances.

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Filed under Burnt Boot, Carolyn Brown, Contemporary, Rated B, Review, Romance, Sourcebooks Casablanca, The Trouble with Texas Cowboys

Review: Daisies in the Canyon by Carolyn Brown

daisiesTitle: Daisies in the Canyon by Carolyn Brown
Publisher: Montlake Romance
Genre: Contemporary, Romance
Length: 274 pages
Book Rating: A

Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Publisher Through NetGalley

Summary:

She’s here to claim her birthright…

Ex-army sergeant Abby Malloy feels no loss after the father she never knew passes away. Still, part of Ezra Malloy’s ranch belongs to her, and if the stubborn blonde has to live there for a year with two half-sisters who are strangers to her, so be it. Nothing could stand in the way of her inheritance…except a local sheriff wrapped in snug blue jeans and a sexy grin.

He’s here to claim her heart…

Cooper Wilson, the local sheriff and rancher next door, is having his world turned upside down. Abby is all straight talk and sweet, lush curves—the kind of woman who gets under his skin in just the right way. Whereas Cooper has roots in Palo Duro Canyon, Abby’s got wings. But he knows she belongs here. If she can stop running from her past, he’ll happily lead her to a brighter future, one hot cowboy kiss at a time.

The Review:

Daisies in the Canyon by Carolyn Brown is an exceptionally well-written, engaging and heartwarming romance. This wonderful novel set in the Palo Duro Canyon is a beautiful love story between Abby Malloy and Cooper Wilson. It is also a healing story about making peace with the past and embracing the unexpected as Abby and her newfound half-sisters, Shiloh and Bonnie, begin a new life on the ranch left to them by the father they never met.

Fresh out of the Army, Abby has lived a transient life for so long that the thought of putting down roots is a foreign concept. But to inherit the ranch left to her by her absentee father Ezra, she has to stay on the ranch for one year. Abby is reluctant to commit to the entire year, so she decides to stay until spring, then she will re-evaluate whether or not it is time to move on. But when she begins to fall for Sheriff and neighbor Cooper Wilson, Abby must decide if she is ready to risk her heart despite not knowing what the future holds.

Abby is a strong, capable woman and she is more than up to the task of learning the ins and outs of ranching. Although she had a stable, happy childhood, Ezra’s abandonment left its mark and she has struggled with commitment issues and a sense of not belonging for most of her life. Her time on the ranch provides the opportunity for Abby to gain a better understanding of herself and some of the choices she has made. But it is not until Abby begins to fall for Cooper that she realizes how deeply Ezra’s rejection has affected her.

It is not at all difficult to understand why Abby is drawn to Cooper. He is deliciously sexy, dependable and hardworking. Between his Sheriff and ranching duties, he has been too busy for a serious relationship but that does not stop him for pursuing Abby once she catches his eye. For the most part, Cooper is content to patiently wait while she works through her problems, but he does gently nudge her towards staying both in the canyon and with him.

Cooper and Abby’s relationship heats up really fast, but the two quickly step back once they realize they have very different plans for the future. However, their paths cross fairly frequently and they become friends all the while trying to ignore to ignore their simmering desire. Cooper and Abby decide to explore their attraction but a misunderstanding and Abby’s fear of commitment threaten their blossoming romance.

The one area of Abby’s life that is relatively trouble free is the unanticipated bond she finds with Shiloh and Bonnie. There is little animosity between them and although their backgrounds are diverse, the three find common ground as they settle into their new lives. Their individual strengths offset one another’s weaknesses and they are surprised by how compatible they are. When Abby’s fears about the future jeopardize her relationship with Cooper, Shiloh and Bonnie are a welcome source of advice and comfort.

Daisies in the Canyon is a sweet, humorous and sometimes poignant novel that is quite captivating. The cast of characters is beautifully developed, appealing and very easy to root for. Carolyn Brown’s love for the Palo Duro Canyon is always apparent and her descriptive prose brings the picturesque setting vibrantly to life. The storyline is refreshing with very little angst or drama. All of the necessary ingredients for a heartfelt, feel good story that I absolutely loved and highly recommend!

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Filed under Carolyn Brown, Contemporary, Daisies in the Canyon, Montlake Romance, Rated A, Review, Romance

Review: Cowboy Boots for Christmas by Carolyn Brown

cowboy bootsTitle: Cowboy Boots for Christmas by Carolyn Brown
Burnt Boot Series
Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca
Genre: Contemporary, Romance
Length: 352 pages
Book Rating: B

Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Publisher Through NetGalley

Summary:

‘Tis the season for…
Feasting
Frolicking
And…Feuding?

All he wants for Christmas is peace and quiet…
After two tours in Afghanistan, retired Army sniper Finn O’Donnell believes his new ranch outside the sleepy little town of Burnt Boot, Texas, is the perfect place for an undisturbed holiday season. But before he can settle in, an old friend shows up looking for protection and a place where nobody knows her name.

But that’s going to take a miracle…
Callie Brewster must relocate to protect her young nephew, Martin, and the only person she trusts is her old Army friend, Finn. Burnt Boot seems like the perfect place to be anonymous, but it turns out a small town with big drama is no place to hide…

The Review:

Cowboy Boots for Christmas is the wonderfully heartwarming first novel in Carolyn Brown’s newest series, Burnt Boot, TX.  It is another highly entertaining story with plenty of sass, a sighworthy romance and just to keep things interesting, a long running feud that pretty much surpasses the one between the infamous Hatfields and McCoys. Throw in a mess of adorable pets, lovable kids and feisty seniors, and you have an unforgettable tale that will leave you grinning from ear to ear at all of their crazy antics.

Although Finn O’Donnell and Callie Brewster were extremely close during their deployment to Afghanistan, they lost touch after they returned stateside. Two years later, they are reunited at Finn’s isolated ranch outside the small town of Burnt Boot, TX when Callie needs a safe place for her and her nephew Martin to hide for a few weeks. Callie and Finn settle right back into their easy friendship and now they are no longer working together, they are free to explore their smoldering attraction to one another.

Their previous acquaintance is the perfect set up for love to flourish between Callie and Finn. Although they were attracted to each other in Afghanistan, their relationship remained platonic and Finn was momentarily distracted by another woman. Callie is surprised to discover that Finn is still single while Finn is pretty shocked that Callie is now the legal guardian of eight year old Martin. Callie is a little dismayed to discover she is still attracted to Finn but with her aversion to all things cowboy, she is not planning to act on her desire. Meanwhile, Finn is left wondering why he never acted on his long ago attraction to Callie and since he remembers she wants nothing to do with ranch life long term, he does not see any reason to act on his passion either.

The relationship between Callie and Finn is slow growing, and their friendship makes their inevitable transition from friends to lovers believable. Their romance is very sweet with plenty of sexual tension. Their lovemaking is deliciously steamy but the scenes are not very explicit. While their romance is mainly conflict free, Callie has some uncertainties to come to terms with before she can fully commit to a future with Finn.

Cowboy Boots for Christmas is another absolutely charming romance by Carolyn Brown. An eclectic but (mostly) lovable cast of characters brings the story vibrantly to life. This engaging novel has a refreshingly unique plot that is sweet, sexy and just plain fun. With the local feud heating up and the unexpected arrival of Finn’s cousin Sawyer, readers are going to be chomping at the bit for the next installment in the Burnt Boot, TX series.

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Filed under Carolyn Brown, Contemporary, Cowboy Boots for Christmas, Rated B, Review, Romance, Sourcebooks Casablanca, TX Series

Review: Long, Hot Texas Summer by Carolyn Brown

long hotTitle: Long, Hot Texas Summer by Carolyn Brown
Publisher: Montlake Romance
Genre: Contemporary, Romance
Length: 249 pages
Book Rating: B+

Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Author

Summary:

A sassy redhead with an axe to grind…

After catching her husband kissing another woman in the barn, Loretta Sullivan Bailey left Lonesome Canyon Ranch and swore she’d never come back. But when her daughter threatens to drop out of college to become a rancher’s wife, Loretta refuses to let her baby make the same mistake she did. She returns to the ranch, determined to get her daughter back in school by the summer’s end…and resolute on ignoring her feelings for her ex-husband.

A bullheaded but oh so sexy cowboy…

A cowboy from his hat to his boots, ruggedly handsome rancher Jackson Bailey is none too pleased that his feisty—and gorgeous—ex-wife has suddenly shown up seventeen years after their divorce. But despite all their fighting and fussing, the two stubborn former lovers soon discover that old flames burn the hottest. Can they finally put aside their differences and find happiness together…forever?

The Review:

Long, Hot Texas Summer is a very sweet and sassy second chance at love romance by Carolyn Brown. Set in beautiful Palo Duro Canyon, TX, it is a completely charming and captivating love story between a long divorced couple who discover they still have feelings for one another seventeen years after their marriage ended.

Loretta and Jackson Bailey are childhood sweethearts who married young and settled on his family’s ranch to raise their daughter Nona. However, their idyllic marriage ended a few years later after Nona caught Jackson in a compromising situation. Loretta’s plan to never return to Texas comes to an abrupt end when Nona announces she is dropping out of college and staying on the ranch with the cowboy who has stolen her heart. Determined to change her daughter’s mind, Loretta packs her bags and shows up unannounced at the ranch where she is planning to stay until she convinces Nona to change her mind. Loretta’s got her work cut out for her convincing Nona to go back to school, but pretty soon, the biggest problem she’s facing is her unexpected (and unwanted) attraction to Jackson.

Loretta is a feisty woman and given how stubborn she is, it is hard to believe that she walked away from Jackson without a fight. The reasons for her decision are multi-faceted and it takes a lot of introspection before she can figure out the underlying reasons for her long ago choices.

Jackson fully accepts his share of the blame in their break up and until Loretta’s return, he has not delved too deeply into what precipitated his foolish actions so long ago. Like Loretta, it takes a lot of reflection to understand why he so easily let her go.

Jackson enjoys having Loretta back in his life and he gently teases, coaxes and annoys her while trying to tempt her back into his bed. Loretta is surprised by how easily she slips back into the day to day operations on the ranch and pretty soon, her animosity towards Jackson begins to diminish. As Loretta and Jackson work together, they begin to reminisce about the good times they shared, but more importantly, they have a long overdue, honest discussion about what led to their break-up. As they lay the ghosts of their past to rest, Loretta and Jackson decide to explore their passion for one another, but does this mean they have a chance for a future together?

Long, Hot Texas Summer is a warm and inviting story with a fabulous cast of lovable characters and a realistic storyline. The various conflicts are credible and the resolution of the various story arcs is believable and delightfully angst free. Another down-to-earth and fun-filled romance by Carolyn Brown that I highly recommend.

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Filed under Carolyn Brown, Contemporary, Long Hot Texas Summer, Montlake Romance, Rated B+, Review, Romance

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