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Review & Giveaway: Cowboy Charm School by Margaret Brownley


COWBOY CHARM SCHOOL 
HAYWIRE BRIDES, #1

by
MARGARET BROWNLEY
Sub-genre: Western / Clean Romance
Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca
Date of Publication: September 4, 2018
Number of Pages: 384
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When Texas Ranger Brett Tucker accidentally derails a wedding, he’s determined to bring the estranged couple back together…but he never dreamed he’d start falling for the bride!
Texas Ranger Brett Tucker hates to break up a wedding, but the groom—notorious criminal Frank Foster—is a danger to any woman. So he busts into the church, guns blazing…only to find he has the wrong man.
 
STOP THAT WEDDING!
Bride-to-be Kate Denver is appalled by her fiancé’s over-the-top reaction to the innocent mistake and calls off the wedding—for good. Guilt-ridden, Brett’s desperate to get them back on track. But the more time he spends with Kate, the harder he falls…and the more he yearns to prove that he’s her true match in every way.
“Light and airy as cotton candy, this tale charms.” 
— Publishers Weekly
 
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review
From the very first chapter, I could tell that this book wasn’t written by your typical romance novelist. I can’t put my finger on it, but perhaps it is Brownley’s word choice – none of those overused descriptions we see in most western romance novels – that sets this book apart from all the other romance novels I have read. Or maybe it’s because that first chapter, so suspenseful and visceral, doesn’t read like a romance at all. But don’t worry, come chapter two, you definitely know that you have picked up a romance novel, if the pretty book cover hasn’t tipped you off yet.
If you follow my blog, you know that I have recently reviewed another western romance that featured a young woman who makes candy for a living and eventually falls in love with a law man. You can rest easy that this book is completely different and exciting to read. The search for the robbers is paced nicely with very subtle clues about who the culprits might be. Kate’s job as the town’s candymaker is more than just a quaint occupation she holds, but a family legacy and vehicle with which she spreads hope and goodwill to the citizens of Haywire.
The part that I enjoyed most, that also had me sighing with exasperation at times, was Brett’s tutelage of Frank – very Cyrano de Bergerac. Although, I got the impression that Brett was easier on the eyes than Frank, which is not the typical Cyrano reincarnation. The whole “Cowboy Charm School” thing had me at war with myself. The idea that a guy can learn to be more romantic was sweet, but at what point is it like the games guys play nowadays just to land the girl? And the sticky situation of falling in love with someone that you’re trying to help someone else woo, that doesn’t usually work out well either. No matter, it was fun to read and to guess how it would work out in the end.
While Brownley’s language is beautiful, it’s not too flowery. There are no wasted descriptions or useless dialogue. I really am amazed that although this book can be considered a mystery, it very solidly reads like the western romance that it is classified as. I look forward to reading about the other Haywire brides.
I recommend this book to anyone who loves a cozy romance, but also to anyone who likes mysteries as well.
New York Times bestselling author MARGARET BROWNLEY has penned more than forty-five novels and novellas. She’s a two-time Romance Writers of American RITA® finalist and has written for a TV soap. She is also a recipient of the Romantic Times Pioneer Award.  
 
Her story, A Pony Express Christmas, will appear this fall in the Old West Christmas Brides collection, and book two of her Haywire Brides series will be published May 2019.  Not bad for someone who flunked eighth-grade English.  Just don’t ask her to diagram a sentence.
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Review and giveaway: A Stolen Heart by Amanda Cabot

A STOLEN HEART
Cimarron Creek Trilogy #1
by
AMANDA CABOT

  Genre: Historical Romance / Christian

Publisher: Revell / Baker Publishing Group
Date of Publication: March, 2017
Number of Pages: 352
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“Endearing characters, a tender love story, and intriguing mystery all work together to make Amanda Cabot’s A Stolen Heart a compelling and enjoyable read.”
—Margaret Brownley, author of Left at the Altar
Bestselling author Amanda Cabot takes readers back in time to the 1880s Texas Hill Country in her new historical romance novel, A Stolen Heart. This is the first book in a brand-new series packed with tension, mystery, and a tender love story that readers won’t soon forget.
Cimarron Creek seemed like an idyllic Texas town. But as soon as former schoolteacher Lydia Crawford stepped onto its dusty streets, she noticed a deep-seated resentment of Northerners—like her. 
That won’t get Lydia down, though. She looks forward to the day when she reunites with her fiancé—until she discovers her fiancé has disappeared without a trace and has left behind a pregnant wife. The handsome Cimarron Creek sheriff urges Lydia to trust him, but she is having a hard time trusting anyone in a town where secrets and suspense prevail.
Cabot weaves an elegant tale of pure love amidst heartache. With an absorbing plot and engaging characters, A Stolen Heart is a springtime showstopper fit for every historical romance reader.

 

Review
Lydia takes a leap of faith following her fiancé to Cimarron Creek. Etiquette of the times aside, Edgar’s hands were covered in blood when he proposed to her. That alone makes you wonder if things will work out the way she hopes. Despite being a scorned Yankee every step of the way, Lydia leaves behind the safety of a home and the security of a good job to follow the man she loves.
If the bloody proposal didn’t make you think that maybe Lydia was too hasty to say yes to Edgar, the handsome sheriff of Cimarron Creek certainly makes you think twice. The attraction is instantaneous at both sides. Every moment that those two are together and fighting their feelings is as delicious as the candy Lydia makes. I imagine. Oh, if only you could taste the food when reading a book!
Even though you can guess who Lydia ends up with, it is still suspenseful to see what has happened to Edgar. And you can’t help but hold your breath until you find out how he could have possibly fell out of love with Lydia, and into love with the plain Opal.
Cabot does a great job of using misdirection so that it’s not completely obvious who the bad guy is. I think some of the clues laid out are a bit too much, but the characterization of each suspect softens any hard conclusions I tried to draw.
This is another Christian book that doesn’t hit you over the head with God and the good word. I think that readers who shy away from the genre would like this book a lot. It reads like a great historical romance, not a Christian book that is trying to sell or defend the faith.
From a Christian point of view, I like that this book clears up the tussle between “Honor your father and mother” and cleaving to your spouse. I think that is not addressed enough in the church and many real love stories have fallen apart because of the confusion.
I genuinely enjoyed this novel and had difficulty putting it down. I am eager to read the next two installments.
 Amanda Cabot is the bestselling author of At Bluebonnet Lake, In Firefly Valley, and On Lone Star Trail, as well as the Texas Dreams series, the Westward Winds series, and Christmas Roses. Her books have been finalists for the ACFW Carol Awards and the Booksellers’ Best. She lives in Wyoming.

  

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