#15 A Review of The Last Cahill Cowboy by Jenna Kernan

The Last Cahill CowboyMost of you, my fabulous readers, know that I have a weak spot for romance novels.  I know they’re not written amazingly nor do they have the most creative plot lines, but damn – they hook me in.  I love those roguish rakes and loose ladies. I can’t help it. I’m addicted.  With that being said I ventured into the “western” branch of Harlequin romances and came out with The Last Cahill Cowboy by Jenna Kernan.

Traveling back to his hometown to help find the person who brutally murdered his parents, Chance Cahill is a much different person than when he originally left.  Now a bounty hunter, Chance feels that he has nothing to lose, and lives life on the edge.  Thinking that his hunting skills are his only asset to the town, he is taken aback when he meets his sister’s best friend Ellie Jenkins.  Her beauty astounds him, and he is ashamed to admit to himself that she is quite above his standards.  Ellie, however, feels a strong attraction to Chance that she just can’t seem to shake.  His sudden return to town makes her realize that she has loved him her entire life.  The only problem is Ellie’s mother: a dominant woman who Ellie is pseudo-controlled by.  Will Ellie be able to move past her mother’s commandeering nature and tell Chance how she really feels about him?  Will Chance be able to see past his depression and take the woman who so ardently loves him?

First thing that struck me about this book?  The amount of action in this book. No, not *that* kind of action – I’m talking the action with guns and duels and pistols!  Knowing that romance novels are written and geared towards a female audience, I was surprised that there was so much “manly” violence. I actually found myself getting into all the fight sequences: cheering on Chance and jeering at the bad guys.  I was temped to let my husband read the book when I was finished, knowing he has an affinity for westerns, but figured he’d die when he found out he was reading a Harlequin romance novel.

Anyway….moving on!  Chance was a pretty interesting character.  He’s got a grudge against the world and doesn’t look upon himself too kindly.  This is unfortunate for multiple reasons: he’s given his sister every dime he’s got to support her and her business, he puts his life at risk to save Ellie, and he’s a bounty hunter! (I say that in this case being a bounty hunter is good because it involves going after bad guys! Who doesn’t love a man who goes after the bad guy!?!)  Ellie is a woman who evolves a lot over the book.  I was really happy with her development, it seemed realistic and made sense for her storyline.  As for the supporting characters, their descriptions were all written like you knew them already.  I found out after reading the book that this was the 4th and final book in the “Cahill Cowboys” quartet.  If you haven’t read the first three though it’s 100% OK.  The plot for this book can stand alone.

As for taking on my first western romance novel I have to say I left feeling impressed.  The writing isn’t the best I’ve read, but it did the job it was supposed to.  If you’re looking for a quick, fast-paced read I would definitely add this one to your list.  (Warning: besides all the action there are the more mature romance scenes not meant for the faint of heart.)

3 out of 5 Stars

This is my fifth completed review for the Around The Stack In How Many Ways Challenge

The Last Cahill Cowboy by Jenna Kernan
Harlequin (2012)
Paperback 288 pages
ISBN:  9780373296750

#97 A Review of The Officer And The Proper Lady by Louise Allen

The Officer and the Proper LadyI was on a bit of a romance novel kick for a week or two last month, eagerly looking for a romance novel that impressed me.  I found one in Unlacing the Innocent Miss, which just so happened to be the sixth novel in Harlequin’s Silk and Scandal mini-series.  Impressed, and eager to learn more about the mystery that was unfolding in the prior books, I picked up book number seven with the hopes of being wowed again.

In The Officer and the Proper Lady, we meet Major Hal Carlow and Miss Julia Tresilian, two completely different people, from two very different social worlds.  Hal is a ladies man, and prefers a life of easy pursuits and lots of flirting, while Julia is a straight-laced person who must marry in order to save her family’s finances.  She moves to Brussels with her mother and younger brother in order to save money, and is turned off by the suitors who come to court her, as they all bore her to death.  Alas, she then meets Major Carlow.  Although the more logical side of her knows that he is an extremely unsuitable match, and that they are complete and utter opposites, her heart begins to tell her otherwise, and it has nothing to do with the aspect of marrying for money.  What happens surprises both Hal and Julia, and is far from the predictable “opposites attract” romance that is commonly found.  How will the Battle of Waterloo change both of their futures forever?  What will the future hold for them?

Going into this novel, I was expecting a typical love story where two completely different people fall magically in love and live happily ever after.  Fortunately, Allen was quick to dispel this preconceived notion with new plot twists and a great back story for both of the characters that rounded out the entire work really well.  For her part in this series, Allen does a wonderful job in making the story effortlessly flow while including tons of details to keep me entertained.  I’m always prone to liking stories where the male character goes through a major transformation to make himself worthy of the woman he loves.  Hal is one of those types of characters, deciding that love is worth changing for and doing so full force in order to secure the woman that he now knows is the one for him.

This is one of the first series I’ve ever read with a continual storyline involving multiple authors.  I was concerned at first that with multiple authors unveiling more of the story with each book that the storyline would become inconsistent and hard to follow.  I have to say my fears were completely unfounded! The “mystery” that looms in the background of all the books in the series continued without a hitch, making me wishing that the eighth book was right next to me upon completion of The Officer and the Proper Lady!

4 out of 5 Stars

The Officer and the Proper Lady by Louise Allen
Harlequin (2011)
Paperback  278 pages
ISBN: 9780373296200

#92 A Review of Unlacing the Innocent Miss by Margaret McPhee

Unlacing the Innocent MissA few weeks ago I reviewed my first Harlequin romance novel and was not the biggest fan.  Some of my twitter friends who had read my review convinced me to give it another go.  I ordered some free books from the Harlequin ‘Silk and Scandal’ series and have to tell you that I was pleasantly surprised.  Unlacing the Innocent Miss by Margaret McPhee is the sixth book in the ‘Silk and Scandal’ series, and reads as a stand-alone.

Rosalind Meadowfield lives in constant fear.  Terrified that she will be discovered as the daughter of a man who has been hung for being a thief, she wills away her days as a lady’s companion.  However even this guise can’t save her, as her employer’s necklace goes missing and she is tagged as the prime suspect.  Even though she is not the actual thief, she runs away to evade capture so as not to face the same fate as her father.  Alas, she does not escape and is captured by “Wolf” Wolversley, the famous thief-taker who is tasked with bringing such people into captivity.  Interestingly, as they travel back to London, Wolf begins to understand that there is more to Rosalind then meets the eye, and he begins to doubt his better judgement in bringing her in for a reward.  Even as Wolf begins to realize this, Rosalind cannot catch a break as the black cloud that has been following her ever since the beginning of the novel rears its ugly head and makes things even more complicated.  What will happen between Rosalind and Wolf?  Will she be saved from the fate of her father?

As I said earlier, I was pleasantly surprised with this novel!  The fact that the entire plot didn’t revolve around sex scenes may have helped.  The last Harlequin novel I read was literally just sex scenes with a story around it.  Unlacing the Innocent Miss actually had a decent story idea that was filled with twists and turns all over the place.  The sex scenes that are contained within the novel are placed in appropriate places, and are written in a tasteful manner that makes them part of the plot movement.

The characters were also intriguing and easy to follow along with.  From what I understand, certain characters in this novel have appeared in one or more of the 5 prior books in the series.  Each book can stand alone, but they have a central mystery that flows between all of them.  I’m planning on reading the entire series now that I’ve read book 6 and 7.  I’m interested in seeing how the central mystery of the series appears with more information and facts.  It’s already full of danger, murder, and spies, and that’s just the little knowledge I have from these two books!

I’m still shocked that I liked a Harlequin romance novel, especially after my critical thoughts on His Lady Mistress.  If all of their romance novels could start with a plot and focus on filling in the details of the story before writing anything else in the way of seductive passages, we would all be better off.  Many accolades to McPhee for taking the high road on this one and building the story from the ground up.

4 out of 5 Stars

Unlacing the Innocent Miss by Margaret McPhee
Harlequin (2010)
Paperback  288 pages
ISBN: 9781426874963