Tag Archives: western

Renegade Heart by Nina Barrett (Book Review & Author Interview)



As if Vegas didn’t have excitement enough, December brings the National Finals Rodeo to the city. Heading the Imperial Hotel’s participation as a host hotel, Kerstin Hennepin is rushing to a meeting when a fall sends her tumbling into a stranger’s arms and he’s in no hurry to let her go.

Jake Aaron is a troubleshooter for the rodeo Or maybe he’s just plain trouble. Their attraction is instant and one close encounter leads to another, but Jake comes with plenty of questions. True he’s busy handing the offstage antics of rowdy rodeo contestants, but does his job also include romancing a young barrel rider and carrying a concealed weapon?

With the finale of the Finals approaching, Kerstin needs answers. But when her search for the truth reveals more is going on behind the scenes than on the arena floor, she and Jake are squarely in someone’s cross hairs.

Below is a sneak peek of Renegade Heart – Let me know what you think.

“This way.”
It wasn’t a question.
Putting an arm around her shoulders, Jake steered her away from the entry to a shadowed alcove behind a pair of oversized ornamental urns. Droplets of water from the fountain misted the air. He pulled her into the dark recess as if it had been placed there for them. Kerstin flinched as the cold of the stone façade penetrated her thin clothing. The afternoon’s warmth was only a memory now. Before she could shiver, he swept her into an embrace. Her legs braced against his, he trailed kisses down her exposed neck.
It sounded like she was begging.
Was she? Backed against the stone of the Imperial, she was trapped between fire and ice.
He captured her head in his hands, his tongue parting her lips.
Her breath caught in her throat as she melted into him. The sweetness of his mouth was intoxicating, like drowning in honey.
Her hands made their way around him, savoring the tight muscles of his chest and waist. It was December and she was burning up. His thumb flipped the clasp of her bra. Was the Imperial’s director of special events about to be taken up against the wall of the hotel’s entryway? Over the years there’s been similar stories about some of the hotel’s randier guests.
Her hands found their way under his suit coat and down his back, feeling the dampness of her shirt. She caught her breath as he cupped her breasts. He was saying something about his room.
She jerked her head, staring up at him. Taking both hands, she shoved back against him. Her sudden strength must have caught him off-guard. He took a step back.
“Kers . . .”
She twisted away as he reached for her.
His room? His room?
She was at the entrance and inside before the doorman had a chance to open it.
His room? Not until Jake Aaron could convince her he wasn’t Ginny Mathieu’s lover and explain why he carried a concealed weapon in a back holster – .40 caliber if she knew her weapons.
And she did.
 (review request submitted by the author for an honest critique) 
For those who live the rodeo life or have every been to one, I know you’ll appreciate the attention to detail in Renegade Heart. She illustrated beautifully the hard work it acquires to pull off the rodeo. How much time and effort it takes to keep guests, vendors, competitors, basically everyone happy. For the most part, it appeared to be a 24-7 job but Kerstin did it with style and grace. 
For those not familiar with rodeos, Nina explained certain events in a rodeo without it appearing mundane. BTW, if you haven’t seen a rodeo before, check one out. It’s a helluva thing to witness — intense, on the edge of your seat action! Plus, you can’t go wrong with men or women in chaps. For that alone, I’d buy a ticket. 
Before I conclude this review, I want to touch a bit on the mystery portion of this western tale. For me, the mystery was boring. It didn’t hold my interest at all. The conclusion of it seemed rushed as well. Actually the last 10 or so pages seemed thrown together because the author needed to ‘wrap it up’. 
Hey, at least Jake and Kerstin got to ‘ride off into the sunset’ together and that’s all that matters…. Right?
Heart Rating System – 1 (lowest) and 5 (highest) 
Score: ❤❤

Hi, I’m Nina Barrett. I’ve been a public school teacher, focusing on early childhood education and am having a blast now writing contemporary romances. I’ve always wanted to be a writer. I was one of those children who loved going to bed at night because you could lie there and make up stories. I’d be out west with Roy and Dale or in Sherwood Forest with Robin Hood. It took time and persistence to gain publication. Winning a scholarship to the Antioch Writers’ Workshop gave me a boost and my forthcoming romance Renegade Heart is dedicated to them in appreciation. Musa Publishing released my first book Marriage Made in Haven in June 2012. The Wild Rose Press published Return of the Dixie Deb in December 2013 and A Man to Waste Time On in January 2015. Its sequel Renegade Heart is available April 27th.

I live in Southwest Ohio. My hometown recently was featured on the cover of Ohio magazine. I enjoy traveling – I’ve been to the top of Masada in Israel and the bottom of the great pyramid at Chichen Itza. Advocating for autism research and education is a passion.

I’m on Facebook as nina.barrett.315 and at nina@ninabarrett.net – love to hear from readers and fellow writers!


Tell us about your background – have you always been a writer?

(Nina) At least in my head. My mother was a great reader, reading to me nightly and on long car trips – Mother Goose, Thornton Burgess, later introducing me to the classics – Heidi, Treasure Island, Little Women. I finished my first complete story in junior high, an Agatha Christie type mystery, and continued writing through high school. College, marriage and a career in education kept me busy, but I continued writing and submitting manuscripts growing more and more discouraged. Winning a scholarship to the Antioch Writers’ Workshop re-energized me and led to the publication of my Western romance Marriage Made in Haven.


What lead to the writing of Renegade Heart?

(Nina) I was intrigued by the excitement and explosive energy of Las Vegas. In my previous release, A Man to Waste Time On, Cinnamon Smith is stunned to realize the general manager of the neighboring Imperial Hotel Casino is the waste of time loser who dated and dumped her sister back in their hometown. And he wants to date her. No way . . . but then securing an order from his hotel might prove salvation for her struggling teashop. And he is so good looking.

Doing research and finding out what goes on behind the scenes of a major Vegas property was so captivating it lead to Renegade Heart and Kristin Hennepin’s adventures when the National Finals Rodeo comes to Vegas and Kristin falls into the arms of a rodeo troubleshooter.

Who are some of your favorite writers?
(Nina) Jennifer Crusie, of course. She began by writing category romance for Harlequin while teaching English in a local school system before moving on to being the best selling author she is today. Having taken a class with her at Antioch, I can attest to the fact she is unfailingly supportive and encouraging to neophyte writers.

In historicals – Dorothy Dunnett; for mysteries James Lee Burke and for fun, Kristen Higgins.

What’s coming up for your readers?

(Nina) My work-in-progress, Deep, Dark, Delicious. And Deadly, continues my Vegas trilogy. When candy heiress Sofie Matthew wakes up from her coma in a hospital bed, there’s a strange man staring at her, a murder to be solved and a ring on her finger. What’s the story with that?



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Multi-Author Showcase featuring Hebby Roman & 7 Other Bestselling & Award Winning Authors – (CONTEST INCLUDED)

Man, oh man, are you all in for a treat today. Hebby Roman and her writing companions are here to promote Come Love A Cowboy and, with this promo, they are offering up three prizes. But first, let’s take a peak at anthology.




Overall Blurb with Short Individual Blurbs:
Eight stand-alone Contemporary Western Romance novellas from Bestselling and Award Winning Authors. 

From firefighters, bronco busters, and wealthy ranchers to bad boys, we have them all for you! If you’ve ever wanted to fall in love with a sexy, alpha cowboy of today…now’s your chance.
Luke’s Fate by Kathleen Ball 
Meg O’Brien hoped never to lay eyes on the one man who broke her heart. To her dismay, Luke Kelly arrives at her ranch a much different and broken man. Can Meg ever forgive his callous treatment of her and help Luke become the man he used to be? 

Grant Me The Moon by Caroline Clemmons 
All Tory Fraser intended was to show her high school history club students a local archeology dig. How could she know the excursion would involve a murder? 

Three for The Win by Keta Diablo 
Hollis should have known better than to fall for a bone-melting man like Stede. He’s gone now and Eli is left to pick up the broken pieces of her life. 

Border Affair by Hebby Roman 
When his partners’ daughter is kidnapped in México, a self-made millionaire must confront his feelings about their affair and the future of their relationship. 

Leaving Necessity by Margo Bond Collins 
Mac has one week to convince his ex-girlfriend Clara not to sell his oil company. In this high-pressure reunion, can they strike love again? 

The Shape of Destiny by Julie A. D’Arcy
A young male shape shifter. A beautiful female ranch owner. Can love be born in a web of deceit? 

Bad Boy, Big Heart by Andrea Downing
She’s a New Yorker escaping her parents. He’s a Wyoming cowboy supporting his dad. One summer, two young people—three months to find love. 

Desert Heat by Patti Sherry-Crews 
A single mother struggling to keep her guest ranch puts her own desires on hold. When a handsome and persistent fireman sets his sights on her, she must decide how much she’s willing to give.



No matter if you live here in the USA or abroad, anyone can be eligible to win one of THREE Amazon gift cards; each worth $10.

Pretty sweet deal, right? 🙂

To enter, all you have to do is leave them a question, comment or simply say hi. Heck, we will accept smiley and winky faces too.

So, whatcha waiting for. Drop them a line!!

(Contest will end Sunday at 11:59 p.m. – central standard time. Winners will be selected Monday, names posted on a comment, and I will send out a congrats email to each of you.  However, I do suggest you follow the posting and check back Monday afternoon to see if you are one of the lucky winners. Emails get lost and you DO NOT want this gift to go unclaimed!)

Good luck!! 


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The Art of Love and Murder by Brenda Whiteside (Book Review)

April 22, 2014 

Lacy Dahl never questioned her past until the deaths of her adoptive parents and her husband. A husband who wasn’t what he seemed. Her research uncovers secrets about the mother she never knew; secrets that dispute the identity of her father and threaten her life.

Sheriff Chance Meadowlark is still haunted by the murder of his wife and the revenge he unleashed in the name of justice. When he meets Lacy he is determined not to become involved, but their pasts may make that impossible. As they move closer to the truth, saving Lacy may be his only salvation.

Lacy begins to think the present is more important than her past…until Chance’s connection to her mother and a murder spin her deeper into danger and further from love. Will the truth destroy Lacy and Chance or will it be the answer that frees them?

(review request submitted by the author for an honest critique) 
I’ve grown accustomed to stories having one, maybe two whackadoodles but Brenda had the crazies popping up every which way we (me and the characters) looked. Three nutcases make for some stimulating reading material which is the point of any great author. A writer does want a reader to remember them, buy more books. 

I can safely say I don’t think I will ever forget Clark, Kitty, or Professor Sheffield. 

One thing did surprise me regarding The Art of Love and Murder.

With so many people causing trouble for Lacy, it’s a wonder she found time for lovin’ but I guess you can’t very well have a damsel in distress without a savior. 

Speaking of her savior, Chance might’ve not come riding to her rescue on a horse but he owns a Harley and that’s way better in my book. 


Heart Rating System:
1 (lowest) and 5 (highest)  
Score: ❤❤❤

Paperback  / Kindle 

Convinced she was born to be an artist, Brenda never took her love of writing seriously. And then one day, sometime after college, after marrying a man doing a stint in the army, and after the birth of her son, she found more satisfaction filling a blank page with words than an empty canvas with color.

Brenda and her husband are gypsies at heart having lived in six states and two countries. Currently, they split their time between the prairie in Northern Arizona and the RV life near Roosevelt Lake. At home or in the RV, she spends most of her time writing stories of discovery and love entangled with suspense.

Visit Brenda at www.brendawhiteside.com.

Or on FaceBook: www.facebook.com/BrendaWhitesideAuthor

Twitter: https://twitter.com/brendawhitesid2

She blogs on the 9th and 24th of every month at http://rosesofprose.blogspot.com

She blogs about prairie life on her personal blog http://brendawhiteside.blogspot.com/


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Review of “The New Cowboy” – Rebecca Winters

Living on her grandfather’s ranch, surrounded by her loving brothers and their families, is helping Avery Bannock put her painful past behind her. But ever since Zane Lawson came home, she’s been fighting her feelings for the rugged former Navy SEAL who’s sworn to keep her safe—in his arms.

After a decade undercover, Zane’s ready to settle in Montana horse country. Buying the ranch next to the Bannock spread was the first step. Now he’s got to convince the gun-shy archaeologist that he’s the only cowboy for her. As they work together to find out who’s stealing tribal artifacts from a nearby reservation, Zane will do everything in his power to win Avery’s trust…and turn their budding romance into a mission possible!


For the most part, I found the flow of the story lacking. I didn’t “connect” to the characters or the plot. I did find how Zane reacted/behaved towards Avery’s PTSD very sweet and endearing. 
Furthermore, I did enjoy the Native American stories Avery told Zane. If you like Native American history, then I do think you’ll enjoy this story very much. 

Heart Rating System:
1 (lowest) and 5 (highest) 
Score: ❤❤❤
Buy Now —–> Paperback or on Kindle

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Review of “Cowboy Boots for Christmas (Cowboy not Included)” – Carolyn Brown

‘Tis the season for…
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…
When Callie arrived on Finn’s doorstep with her nephew/adopted son, Martin, I assumed the story would revolve around their love being born while they awaited the trial in which Martin had to testify in as being the eye witness to a murder. 
However, Carolyn didn’t really address the incident until the very end and only then did she spend a couple lines on it. She did give Martin a couple nightmares but those scenes lasted (again) a few lines. 
Basically, the plot of the story wasn’t about what united Callie and Finn. The story was about two people who had feelings for each other while in the military, didn’t disclose them, but after reuniting, they fell into a natural rhythm of partnership in life and in love. 
During their journey to HEA they dealt with feuding neighboring families, unexpected houseguests and their own lingering doubts if they were meant to be. 
Of course, as you can imagine, they were meant to be and together they created a big happy family. 
Read the story and discover exactly how big their family became in such a short span of time. 
Heart rating system – 1 (lowest) and 5 (highest) 
Score: ❤❤❤❤

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