Reconstruction era

B-
Badlands

Most of the present crop of steampunk romances can be divided into two subgroups: Steampunk set in a pseudo-Victorian England and steampunk using the American frontier experience as a backdrop. Badlands belongs to the second group, and the novella’s world-building is clearly one of its strengths. ...

A-
Heartbreak Creek

Kaki Warner proved how adept she was at telling sweeping tales of the Western United States with her Blood Rose trilogy in 2010. Now the first of her avidly awaited new series is finally here and Warner not only doesn’t disappoint, but proves that she’s the new go-to writer for Western romances. ...

C+
Reaper's Justice

This is one of those books that's incredibly difficult to grade because on one hand I liked it, but on the other there are problems that are extremely difficult to ignore. Often, the points that I enjoyed within the story were essentially the sources of the problems. Created as a killing machine ...

A
A Reason to Live

My Desert Island Keepers are those in which the author has given me something to think about beyond the romance and the two people involved. A Reason to Live does that by extending what could be an ordinary on-the-road story into a commentary essential to all of us. In fact, McKade’s entire ser ...

C+
Texas Hold Him

Texas Hold Him by Lisa Cooke is a pleasant, but average wallpaper-y romance set in the post-Civil War South. Lottie Mason has 6 weeks to come up with $15,000 to pay off a blackmailer and keep her ailing father out of jail. But the Mason family isn’t doing well after the Civil War, and none of t ...

F
The Education of Madeline

Note to self: Step away from the Brava westerns. The Education of Madeline is the second one I've read in recent months, and it's as disastrous as the first. I'm starting to get the impression that readers who want something more than a sexual checklist should look elsewhere for their entertainment. ...

A
The Wives of Bowie Stone

Could you tell from the title that Bowie Stone is a bigamist? Well, he is, to put it bluntly, but don't let that put you off. While I'm not much for men with more than one wife, after reading The Wives of Bowie Stone I will be happy to become Bowie's third wife and not give one hoot about the other ...

D-
The Southern Devil

I picked up The Southern Devil with great optimism. It has many things that usually draw me to a book: a Western setting, steamy love scenes, a female who isn't delicate, adventure, and a childhood connection between the hero and heroine. Sadly, each of the things I looked forward to are seriously f ...

A
Always To Remember

I can count on one hand the number of romance novels that have ever moved me to tears. Lorraine Heath's classic Always to Remember sits at the top of that elite list, head and shoulders above the rest. In the ten years since its initial publication, it has only gained power, as its themes seem even ...

B+
Winds of the Storm

I am so glad I read this book. I had never read any of Beverly Jenkins' novels before and didn't know what to expect, but I came away from this story very impressed. Jenkins does a wonderful job of balancing passion, emotion, an exciting story, and a masterful command of history, and, while this did ...