Punya Reviews...

An avid reader of Romance novels and her reviews...

SPOILER ALERT!

Ropin' the Moon

Ropin' the Moon - Deborah Camp

My reviews are honest & they contain spoilers. For more, follow me:

 

I’m a big fan of Western Historical Romances and fell in love with Deborah Camp’s writing when I first read one of her books back in 2017. It was a sudden thing. I felt curious and wanted to give it a try. Needless to say, I haven’t looked back ever since. So when I heard that she’s writing a new western historical, of course I had to read it. Honestly, I’m glad that I did!

 

Ropin’ the Moon is a completely stand alone read so you can read it as such. The story is set a few years after the Civil War in a small town of Kansas called Far Creek. Far Creek wasn’t a bustling town by any stretch of the word but the people here were getting by somehow. They had almost all they needed, including a moderately built hotel to accommodate visitors, a town mercantile, saloons etc. What the town didn’t have, however, was strong law enforcement. Well, there was a Marshall but he didn’t have the courage to stand ground with the owner of the neighboring ranch, the Pullman’s. Junior Pullman, a wealthy rancher, a dictator and an overall a$$hole, viewed Far Creek as one of the his ‘things’ to control and his equally sh!ta$$ ranch-hands would ride the town roughshod whenever it suited them. There was no one to leash them in and make them pay for their misbehavior. No one to say anything to be precise cause the so-called Marshall and most everyone thought that catering to Pullman’s whims was the best way to go, seeing how whoever declined to obey him would more often than not be visited by ‘bad luck’ where their home and livelihood would be completely ruined. Sometimes they paid with their lives as well.

read more
SPOILER ALERT!

Her Viking Warrior

Her Viking Warrior (Forgotten Sons Book 2) - Gina Conkle

My reviews are honest & they contain spoilers. For more, follow me:

 

I’ve loved Gina Conkle’s books ever since I read her first book back in 2014. She writes well-researched Viking romance that has everything from hot romance, actions and a healthy dose of what you’d call the ancient Viking lifestyle. Book 2 of her newest Viking series Forgotten Sons wasn’t any different. Her Viking Warrior had everything that you can expect in a romance novel.

 

The series titled Forgotten Sons is based on a band of Viking brothers where they’re mainly connected by circumstances, rather than bloodline. Book 1, Kept by the Viking largely focused on the H and h’s relationship and everything surrounding it, rather than building up a backstory for the heroes of the Forgotten Sons, as they call themselves. Then again, with 6 of them in total, I’m sure the author will reveal their stories one by one in their own books. This, I’d say, works as an element of surprise since right now you don’t know much about the Sons except for the 2 who had already had their stories told. These 6 Viking warriors had known each-other since childhood. They share a very strong bond and would do anything for one another. They’re called Forgotten Sons because of some circumstances or the other has made them leave their own home in search of glory, financial stability and, if possible, a home of their own where they can settle.

 

In Kept by The Viking, we’re introduced to the leader of the Sons, Rurik and a Frankish slave girl called Safira. They weren’t meant to be together though Safira needed Rurik’s help in getting away from a sh!tty household. In the end it was discovered that Safira was abducted from her wealthy merchant father’s household and sold into slavery. She wanted to get away and return to her family. Little did she know while she was planning that, that a handsome Viking would escort her. She wasn’t expecting much, but got more than what she bargained for. The story had actions and suspense, as Rurik was fighting for a land to settle down, but in a twist of fate he would have to fight someone with whom he shares his bloodline, even though no love was lost between the two. Someone who he’d hated all his life and tried his best to avoid. One of the reasons why he left his home and became a mercenary. Thankfully, with Safira by her side, Rurik would find the strength to claim what he can then rightfully call his own.

read more

Mrs. Sartin's Secretary

Mrs. Sartin's Secretary (Lords of Chance #2.5) - Wendy LaCapra

Read this short story as a part of the Second Chance Love anthology. My review can be found below:

 

http://punya.booklikes.com/post/1879377/second-chance-love-review-of-mrs-sartin-s-secretary

 

(As usual **spoiler alert**!! on the review above)

 

This story is connected to Wendy's Lords of Chance series.

 

It's also currently a freebie (at the time of writing this review on August 31, 2019) for those of you who maybe interested in it : https://amzn.to/2LaLcxo

SPOILER ALERT!

The Outlaw's Mail Order Bride

The Outlaw's Mail Order Bride (Outlaw Mail Order Brides Book 1) - Linda Broday

My reviews are honest & they contain spoilers. For more, follow me:

 

The Outlaw’s Mail Order Bride is the first book in Linda Broday’s newest western historical romance series, Outlaw Mail Order Brides. I’m a big fan of western historical romances and read a few of Ms. Broday’s previous series. Been a fan of her writing style and storytelling since I read the series Bachelors of Battle Creek. This new book was no different. A story in general full of a lot of heart and warmth.

 

Outlaw Mail Order Brides series is connected to the author’s previous series, Men of Legend. Some were played important secondary characters, while others were just featured for a spell. In Men of Legend series, former outlaw Luke Weston Legend, one of the sons of well-known rancher Stoker Legend, had introduced us to some of the characters in this new series; whom he met while living the life of an outlaw. These men were outlaws like him who wanted to leave that life for good. Motivated by that need, former outlaw—who also worked in Stoker’s ranch briefly— Clay Colby, alongside a few of his former outlaw buddies, has been trying to build a town. Something to call their own where they can finally settle down and call it a home. But easier said than done. Interested females are hard to come by and Clay and his comrades have been having a difficult time trying to make Devil’s Crossing a habitable place. Located in Texas Panhandle, not only the place was middle of pretty much nowhere, it was a rough terrain still. Though the place was hidden enough with canyons around it, which would make it safer from unwanted snooping, it was also a far cry from the town that Clay wanted to make it. TBH, he had big dreams but by the looks of how things were going for him, he had no idea whether he can actually make it.

read more
SPOILER ALERT!

Legacy of Hunger

Legacy of Hunger: Druid's Brooch Series: #1 - Christy Nicholas

My reviews are honest & they contain spoilers. For more, follow me:

 

Legacy of Hunger book 1 of Druid’s Brooch is the first book I read by Christy Nicholas. I came to know about the author from a few blog tours I hosted of her books in this series and have always been rather intrigued by the covers... then I read the blurb of book 1 and found it to be a freebie so I grabbed it. TBH it was quite an unexpected journey!

 

Legacy of Hunger is an odd book. Slow and kind of gloomy but not at all unpleasant. The writing and the research was pretty fair and I enjoyed the pace. But the story was slow-moving and dark because of the subject matter which it centered around. The story is set in 1846, begins in America and ends in Ireland. The heroine (I’m not even sure if I should call her as such… she definitely was the only main character) Valentia had always been moved by the stories her Irish maternal grandmother had told her when she was young. She was fascinated by everything it entailed; the magic, the myth and everything in between. But what Valentia found the most intriguing was the story of an abandoned brooch—a family heirloom—that was left behind when she left Ireland many years ago. Now there was no saying if the brooch even existed or not. What I could gather from the vague recollection of Valentia of her now deceased grandmother, is that she may have encouraged her to look for it. But whatever the reason was, Valentia, now at 23 or 24, wanted to go visit Ireland. If only her ancestral land was her only interest here, that would’ve sufficed. However, Valentia was so obsessed with a drawing of the brooch she was given that she was totally ready to go on a wild goose chase in a land completely unknown to her.

read more
SPOILER ALERT!

Devil's Daughter

Devil's Daughter (The Ravenels, #5) - Lisa Kleypas

My reviews are honest & they contain spoilers. For more, follow me:

 

Devil’s Daughter is the book 5 of Lisa Kleypas’s ongoing historical romance series, The Ravenels. Though I’ve had quite the ambivalent feeling towards a few of the installments, I’ve largely enjoyed her return to the world of historical romance since this series debuted in 2015. It was given, that Weston Ravenel, one of the prominent secondary characters of the series, would have his own book. But was I really anticipating the release of his book? Did it meet my expectations?? Let’s see if I can elaborate.

 

As usual, I’ll begin with a bit of background to connect the dots. So the series is set in the Victorian England. Two brothers, Devon and Weston, two of the very few remaining Ravenels, suddenly come to an inheritance that they never thought of gaining. Devon becomes an Earl when the direct heir to the Treanor earldom suddenly died in a riding accident without leaving any heir. The circumstance of Theo’s death was an example of how wild and unpredictable a bunch the Ravenels are. Having a self-destructive bend is how they’ve always been, probably since the beginning of their line. They were known for wild and fast living and many of their ancestors died young too maintaining that lifestyle. Devon and Weston were most probably heading to that direction, though they had none of the burdens of money and properties… until they were burdened. In fact, Devon and Weston were poor enough to not have any prospects. Both were known rakes, sometimes bullies and had a very debauched lifestyle of a true Ravenel. They’d probably planned on dying young (at least Weston had thought so…). But owning the legacy that was never meant to be theirs changed everything for them. And boy with that legacy came burdens! Not only Devon was now responsible for a dilapidated, debt-ridden mansion that he ardently wanted to raze down and wash his hands off of, but also he had to take care of Theo’s young widow, Kathleen and his 3 sisters; Helen, and the twins, Pandora and Cassandra.

read more
SPOILER ALERT!

Heart's Desire

Heart's Desire (Lords of Chance #2) - Wendy LaCapra

My reviews are honest & they contain spoilers. For more, follow me:

 

Must say, I’m quite surprised by this new installment of Lords of Chance series by Wendy LaCapra. No, it wasn’t Wendy's beautiful storytelling that always hooks me right into the story. I already knew of it. It’s because on one hand, Markham wasn’t the hero I was expecting to see getting his book so early. On the other, I didn’t think he had quite the depth of character he’d shown throughout Heart’s Desire.

 

Lords of Chance is a Regency set series with 3 peers of the realm, who are also old friends, as the center of the storyline. They go by sobriquet taken from the game of card—Spades, Clubs and Diamonds. The latest, a new addition to that small group came in the form of Lord Markham; Hearts to complete the circle. He’s also the youngest in the group at 24 and often jokingly called as the ‘pup’. But unknowing to him, he was being groomed by our Spades for an ultimate purpose. No, nothing nefarious but that didn’t mean it was any less important to Spades’ own existence.

 

In his story, in book 1 Scandal in Spades, we found Giles Langley the Marquess of Bromton, in a dilemma. A big one TBH. He had a very serious family issue that he needed to take care of. It involved the survival of the Bromley bloodline and Giles was ‘trained’ to become someone who’d do anything in his power to keep that bloodline flowing to the next generation. But there was a dark twist in his story which led him to find a proper (or improper, didn’t matter) solution to his aforementioned dilemma. And that’s how Markham came into the picture. There was a card game, naturally. An already set-up game ‘won’ by him which led Giles in search of a bride. Help came in the form of Markham’s elder sister Katherine, the scandalous spinster who made the Regency ‘headlines’ a few times in her life; not because she wanted to make any headline, but because she seemed to had a singularly bad luck where Beaus and fiancés were concerned. But her meeting to Giles was the thing of magic. Full of spark and chemistry that both felt and were unable to deny. Both were scared to fall but fall they did despite everything. I love LOVED that book and highly recommend that you read it first.

read more
SPOILER ALERT!

Montana Wrangler

Montana Wrangler (Bear Grass Springs #6) - Ramona Flightner

My reviews are honest & they contain spoilers. For more, follow me:

 

Montana Wrangler is the book 5 in Ramona Flightner’s Bear Grass Springs series. I’ve had quite a love-hate relationship with this series, yet I can’t help but being curious about what the characters are up to, all credit is to the author! I’ve enjoyed this series enough to keep coming back to it.

 

I keep saying it because it’s the truth. I’m a big fan of Ramona’s Banished Saga series, which will end pretty soon. Bear Grass Springs is quite different than Banished Saga in the sense that the latter is more of a family saga spanning generations, rather than your typical story and HEA for one couple per installment. The Saga always comes highly recommended from me. Though Bear Grass Springs does have HEA in each installment for each H and h featured, you still get the vibe of being with a family and getting to know them better while reading about the MacKinnons.

 

Bear Grass Springs began with the stories of the 3 MacKinnon brothers Cailean, Alistair and Ewan, in the first 3 installments respectively titled Montana Untamed, Montana Grit and Montana Maverick. They also have a younger sister called Sorcha. They’re from Scotland, but have settled in the Bear Grass Springs Montana in search of a better life. Cailean and Alistair own the only livery in town, which they’ve managed to make a successful business out of. Ewan is a carpenter and his business is thriving as well. The brothers were much sought after bachelors until they settled down with the love of their lives, Cailean with the town baker Annabelle, Alistair with Leticia who was a school teacher before she began helping Annabelle with her rapidly growing bakery business. Ewan finally found someone to love in Jessamine, a news reporter at that time newly arrived in Bear Grass Springs. The backgrounds of all 3 of heroines are told in their books. However my feelings for all 3 books were pretty ambivalent. The first two, the brothers were being obtuse and in turn, there were loads of misunderstanding and frustration that made me wanna kick their a$$. And for book 3, I didn’t like the heroine AT ALL.

read more
SPOILER ALERT!

Second Chance Love (Review of Mrs. Sartin’s Secretary)

Second Chance Love: A Regency Romance Set - Cynthia Sterling, Jenna Jaxon, Wendy LaCapra, Catherine Tinley, Annabelle Anders

My reviews are honest & they contain spoilers. For more, visit:

 

3.5 stars. This rating and review is ONLY for “Mrs. Sartin’s Secretary” by Wendy LaCapra. If I read the other stories later, I’ll try to review them. Of course, the rating may change too.
****

Mrs. Sartin’s Secretary by Wendy LaCapra

 

When I read book 1 of Wendy LaCapra’s Lords of Chance series titled Scandal in Spades last year, I was blown away not only by Wendy’s beautiful writing but also the story and its protagonists. The H and h shared amazing chemistry that was palpable right from the moment they met. It was a straight winner so I was eagerly waiting for book 2...which turned out to be Heart’s Desire.

 

While I waited, I heard about Wendy writing a short story in between these two books, somehow connecting to book 2 through its hero, Lord Markham or Heart. But why is Markham called ‘Heart’? I talked about it a bit more elaborately in my review of book 1. In a nutshell, the other heroes of this series formed a group of sort where Markham joins later, and they called each other by sobriquets taken from the cards. The hero of book 1, the Marquess of Bromton Giles went by as Spades. Two of his close friends that will have the next books in the series, Lord Farring and Lord Rayne, are known as Club and Diamond. In that order.

 

In book 1 I had the hint that Markham, the youngest of them all, was a bit of a rake, hence he was the Hearts. It was said that he never left his lovers wanting. Just how much of a rake, you get a glimpse of it in this really short story here. From the beginning though, I had issues. I had a difficult time connecting this story with the series. For one, Mrs. Sartin or her secretary, the two protagonists were never even introduced in book 1 so I had no earthly idea who they were and why they even had a story to begin with?! Well apart from the fact that it becomes clear very early on that Mrs. Sartin is Markham’s lover. (note here that Mrs. Sartin may well have been briefly introduced in book 1 but I don’t remember her at all so my point stands)

 

In the end though, Wendy’s note explains that we’ll be seeing more of Mrs. Sartin in Markham’s book, Heart’s Desire. She wanted the lonely widow to have a story so she gave her one.

 

Fair enough.

read more

It's been a while.............. :P

SPOILER ALERT!

Not the Duke's Darling

Not the Duke's Darling - Elizabeth Hoyt

My reviews are honest & they contain spoilers. For more, visit:


Elizabeth Hoyt’s Not the Duke’s Darling is the book 1 of her brand new historical romance series, Greycourt. It was one of my most anticipating releases of 2018. Her previous series, Maiden Lane, which stole many hearts and made many new Hoyt fans—as a huge fan myself I’d like to think that’s happened!—had ended in 2017 after a long run with 12 books and some novellas under its belt. Naturally, we fans were eagerly waiting for this new series to see what Ms. Hoyt has in store for us in this new journey. I’m excited that there’s a new series, even if the introductory installment wasn’t as good as I was hoping it’d be.

Not the Duke’s Darling, so far, doesn’t look to have any connection to Maiden Lane whatsoever. I haven’t come across anything that pointed to me to that direction. However, it’s only the beginning and one can only hope! Though still set in the Georgian-era, the setting is slightly after the time-frame of Maiden Lane. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t any possibilities of.......

Okay okay, that’s the Maiden Lane fan in me blabbering away. :P I’ll just get into the review... The story begins with our heroine, Freya de Moray, running from some miscreants while also protecting a baby and his nanny as they ran. At first, it’s all very confusing. Is the baby hers? Or is he a family member? Then, within a few pages we discover that she’s the ‘Macha’ or spy of a secret ladies group called the Wise Women and been working for them for a while now. The Wise Women were women with healing powers (healers) who existed for generations and openly helped people with their knowledge. They abounded all over England since the ancient times. But as time went on and the threat of witch hunt—as they were termed at one of point of history—and many killed, the number of Wise Women has now gone down drastically.

The Wise Women were, and still are, selected from various families (wasn’t sure if only peers or from any family) and given education and training from a young age. These days all that is done in secret. Well they don’t have any magical powers but they have other knowledge to help. Nowadays, with a new form of witch-hunter fanatics called the Dunkelders after them, they had to go in hiding. Wise Women also love living an independent life that doesn’t go with the social norms. Some live unmarried, while others marry and go as far as to have children. Some would take lovers. Many of them live among normal people hiding that part of their identity. After all, they have to be very selective of who they trust. Many now live in Scotland where their headquarters is. Or so I thought it was. I’m not sure how far the Wise Women are still scattered all over England cause, for this book, we only learn about the Wise Women that live in an estate called Dornoch in Scotland conveniently close to Freya’s own ancestral home.

read more
SPOILER ALERT!

The Unlikely Master Genius

The Unlikely Master Genius (St. Brendan Book 1)  - Carla Kelly

My reviews are honest & they contain spoilers. For more, follow me:


After reading and loving a short story ‘The Christmas Angle’ by Carla Kelly in an anthology, I was anticipating The Unlikely Master Genius, book 1 in the St. Brendan series. The above mentioned short story is kind of a prequel to this one and I enjoyed it so much, I was totally invested in the series already. I mean, who doesn’t like a hero who is a nerd and a genius with a heart of gold? Who is also a gentleman that loves his wife to distraction? However, after reading it can’t say I loved it as much as I thought I would. I’ll try to elaborate as best as I can.

Born in a street behind a church in Scotland, where his supposed mother died right after his birth without even giving him a name, Durable or ‘Able’ Six has come a long way. The name he’s got is the aftermath of becoming a nameless orphan left unclaimed in a workhouse of Dumfries, where his life was everything that was never nice, loving or pleasant. He’d shortened the silly name to Able later in life to give it some semblance of normalcy. After his initial resistance to death–hence he surpassed the first 5 ‘Durables’ and became number Six that lived—Able fought to survive. He fought hunger, abuse at the hand of his so-called teachers but most of all, he fought death to stay alive.

Able joined Navy to escape the workhouse so I doubt he had any big ambition but as Sailing Master Able Six at 26 he’d already climbed the ladder of success when it comes to HRM Navy. At least as far as success is concerned for a total nobody like him. No one ever heard a person becoming a sailing master at the age of 22 but Able had become what no one has been before. Hell, he’s someone so unique that no one probably had seen anyone like him in the past decades, maybe more, and likely won’t see another for a long time to come. Able Six, what you can describe in the simplest terms possible, is a genius. A prodigy if you’d like that word too. Someone with photographic memory. He’d read/see/hear, basically experience anything, and he’d remember every single crisp detail.

read more

Prince of Magic

Prince of Magic - Anne Stuart

Wanted to give it 3.5 stars but don't know. I thought it'd be an interesting read... which it sadly was not. I didn't connect with the heroine at all (from the beginning TBH) though I tried. She was the typical immature and rash heroines who 'grace' Anne Stuart's novels now and then. Sometimes I like them, other times I just wish them gone. This one was neither here nor there. Didn't care for her at all. The hero was your typical a-hole rakish Anne Stuart hero who thought he's beyond redemption. He tried to be over-the-top but he won't really top our favorite Killoran from To Love a Dark Lord. And though you could see Killoran's vulnerability under the mask, and in turn him garnering a bit of your sympathy if nothing else, the hero of this story was just an entitled and presumptuous a-hole. Though it sounds like I hated him, I didn't cause he failed to leave any mark on me really. These two had some chemistry and if the heroine was mature and smart enough to be his equal, I think we'd have had the interesting story I had hoped to find in Prince of Magic.

Once again, I liked the secondary romance between the hero's half-sister and a servant of the house - who was more hero's friend than a servant - more than the original romance. I'm not going into the whys and the hows cause I have no intentions of doing a full review. Needless to say, even with all the paranormal happenings, didn't enjoy it as much as I thought I would. :/

 

Guess for now I'll take a break from Anne Stuart's books for a bit.

SPOILER ALERT!

Guarding the Countess

Guarding the Countess - Lily Reynard

My reviews are honest & they contain spoilers. For more, follow me:


Guarding the Countess by Lily Reynard was definitely a breath of fresh air. I love me a good medieval romance so I picked this up totally randomly cause I was bored. Then I began reading, and found a gem that hooked me pretty much right from the beginning. I loved the flow of the story, as well as the historical aspects as went so well with it. The book wasn’t a short read by any means but I wasn’t bored once. Needless to say but I’m a new fan!

Guarding the Countess is set around the time of King Charles II (in 1666) with nicely done descriptions of that era. Bonus was the incorporation of historical figures such as Charles II himself and his famous mistress Barbara Palmer. If done well, I really enjoy it in a historical novel because it lends the story a different kind of richness. I’d recommend Morgan O’Neill’s Elizabethan Time Travel series if you’re interested in checking out a few more novels that takes this direction. But, for me, Guarding the Countess—though oftimes pretty dark and intense—romance-wise came off very sweet. Kit and Antonia were simply adorable together. Their journey to HEA was by no means a smooth sailing but they belonged to one another pretty much the moment they met. I give the author a round of applause for her knack for storytelling, her character-building and the way she incorporated those historical characters into this novel.

Antonia, a widowed Countess, have been trying to fend off suitors most of the past year and a half since her husband passed away from small pox. It seemed like though they had a big difference in age, the marriage was a success, in the sense that they had affection for one another and the sex life wasn’t dull either though it didn’t result in any offspring. Antonia is still grieving her husband’s passing but the majority of those suitors didn’t care. It’s mainly because now she’s an extremely wealthy widow and greedy, fortune hunters had no time to wait despite the rumors that Antonia’s beauty was marred by the pox which she contracted while taking care of her husband. Unfortunately, it was no rumor because it did happen. Poor lady’s face was marred, still red from the wounds, though they’re healing and may fade quite a bit in the coming years. But there was no doubt she’s scarred for life.

read more
SPOILER ALERT!

A Country Christmas (Review of The Christmas Angle)

A Country Christmas - Josi S. Kilpack, Jennifer Moore-Mallinos, Carla Kelly

My reviews are honest & they contain spoilers. For more, follow me:


It’s been a while since I read a Carla Kelly book so gathered it’s time to read something new. I bought her latest back in May 2018, which is book 1 of the new St. Brendan series. Then I found out that the H and h of the story were introduced in a novella in the anthology A Country Christmas. This review and rating (4.5 stars) is solely based on Carla Kelly’s “The Christmas Angle”.

Sailing Master Able Six maybe only 26 years old but he’d already climbed the ladder of success when it comes to HRM Navy. At least as far as success is concerned for a total nobody, a bastard (and an orphan) like him. No one ever heard a person becoming a sailing master at the age of 22 (I don’t know a whole lot about this bit of HRM Navy so I’m solely relying on the author’s knowledge) but Able had become what no one has been before. Hell, he’s someone so unique that no one probably had seen anyone like him in the past decades, maybe more, and likely won’t see another for a long time to come. Able Six, what you can describe in the simplest terms possible, is a genius. A prodigy if you’d like that word too. Someone with photographic memory. He’d read/see/hear, basically experience anything, and he’d remember every single crisp detail. His memory is like sponge; it takes everything and can reproduce when the need arrives. Detail by detail.

read more

Gunsmoke and Lace

GUNSMOKE AND LACE -  Linda Broday

For more, visit:


4 stars as a whole. A collection of short stories that leaves you wanting for more. They read like slivers from bigger novels. However, as the author explains in the author note, these stories weren't meant to become full-length novels. I've been meaning to read this collection since I bought it but anthologies aren't my favorite things so I kept pushing it back. Right now I'm glad I finally read it. :)

I liked all the stories, though some more than the others. Following is a short review of all 4 of them. I'll just copy the blurb and try to express what I felt about that particular story with my rating after each:

The Telegraph Tree
Desperate and alone, Maura Killion writes notes to God and ties them to a scrawny tree. But who's writing new ones?

4 stars. This one probably had the strongest message of never giving up on hopes and dreams than the other 3. A widow basically living in the middle of nowhere with a small baby to feed, who was gradually giving up on life because of the tough living condition and acute loneliness, finds hope anew in a message for her, tied on a tree on her land. I really liked it, though the following bugged me; how come she never saw/noticed who it was leaving those messages. From the description it didn't sound like the tree was too far away. In any case, the story was way too short for me to even seriously think of it. Would've loved for it to have a few more chapters.

Moon Dog Night
Bounty hunter Bonner Raine is surprised to see a nine-year-old boy and his little sister riding into his camp. The boy wears a gun and holster, determined to find the outlaw who took their mother. But will they find her alive? Or dead?

4 stars. Also loved this one a lot. Very short but packed a lot of punch. The story pretty much goes as noted in the blurb. The ending was about finding a new lease on life for both Bonner and his prospective sweetheart. If you're looking for full-on romance you won't find any. BUT, there's the hint of a new beginning that I simply adored. Could've been a great full-length novel IMO.

The Gunslinger
Skye O'Rourke thinks she's seeing a desert mirage when a gunslinger staggers across her field and awakens buried memories. But do second chances really exist for people like them?

3 stars. I wanted to like this one but I didn't as much as the previous 2. Skye was a widow and the gunslinger was someone from her past. They had a history, which is all good. However I hated the way they simply forgot about her deceased husband like he was a nobody, considering the gunslinger is also related to him. He wasn't a bad person from the meager description of things. His only failure was he couldn't make Skye love him the way she did the other man. And now that he's dead he didn't matter at all? Poor guy. :(

Hard Luck
Bank robbing isn't ever easy—especially when it's in Hard Luck, Texas. Logan and Wade discover that crime doesn't pay, and love can come from unexpected places.

3 stars. This one read more like an excerpt of a bigger story than the rest. There was no exact beginning or ending that can mark it a story on it's own. A robbery going wrong introduces us to two childhood friends; one is relatively smart, the other... not so much. From there we find them attending a dance not expecting much yet ending up with prospective sweethearts. Love? I'm not so certain in such a short space. In time, maybe for Logan. But Wade? I doubt it.