The Insta-Love Annual Sappy Holiday Romance Binge: The Historicals

It’s still the holidays. YES, IT IS. Because I’m the only one in the office at the dayjob.

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Now on the DIK Shelf….*

A Cowboy for Christmas by Lacy Williams

  • A Cowboy for Christmas by Lacy WilliamsTitle: A Cowboy for Christmas
  • Author: Lacy Williams
  • Series: Wyoming Legacy, #5
  • Published: Harlequin Love Inspired Historical, December 2014
  • Source: NetGalley
  • Length: 288 pages
  • Tropes: Faith, Forgiveness, Redemption, Angst-O-Rama
  • Quick blurb: Former bad boy tries to make amends with boss’s daughter for a horrific accident
  • Quick review: Lovely. Just lovely. *~*HAPPYSIGH*~*
  • Grade: A

“I thought, for a moment, that you might kiss me.” She rushed on, a fountain of words babbling out of her. “And I know you didn’t want to. I know you said we’re to be friends, and I didn’t want you to think that had I had any expectations, because I don’t—”

Three strides brought him to her, but it wasn’t until he took her upper arm in his hand that she went silent. Looking up at him, she could see his face was like a thundercloud, eyes stormy.

“You think I don’t want to kiss you?” He grated the words, as if it was hard to speak them.

“I know you don’t.”

“You don’t know anything.”

He reached for her, and before she could even think that she should push him away — that she didn’t want a pity kiss from him — he’d cupped her jaw, his calloused palm sliding along her cheek and sending sparks flying like a summer cowboy campfire….

It was like putting a match to tinder.

By the time I finished the first chapter, I was THERE. Book Trance. I can’t reveal too much without spoilers, but this book is a master class in angst as a plot device. And character- and relationship-building. And describing panic attacks and agoraphobia. And portraying struggles with faith. Also, there’s a puppy rescue.

I read a few of Williams’ earlier books on Scribd; they were on the OK-but-not-memorable scale. After finishing Cowboy, I bought the entire Wyoming Legacy series — I’m giddy about seeing how she’s evolved as a writer. Let the Author Binge continue!

*As soon as I update that page. Remind me to do that. DONE!

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More inspies….

Married by Christmas by Karen Kirst

  • Married by Christmas by Karen KirstTitle: Married by Christmas
  • Author: Karen Kirst
  • Series: Smoky Mountain Matches, #5
  • Published: Harlequin Love Inspired Historical, October 2014
  • Source: NetGalley
  • Length: 288 pages
  • Tropes: Faith, Forgiveness, Redemption, Marriage by Scandal, Angst Lite
  • Quick blurb: Former bad boy must marry woman whose life he disrupted with an unfortunate accident
  • Quick review: And…I bought the rest of the series.
  • Grade: B

I read Kirst’s The Husband Hunt first — a charming friends-to-lovers story. This one was really enjoyable too; the basic premise is very similar to the Williams book, but the difference in tone and voice make these completely unique reads.

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A Pony Express Christmas by Rhonda Gibson

  • A Pony Express ChristmasTitle: A Pony Express Christmas
  • Author: Rhonda Gibson
  • Published: Harlequin Love Inspired Historical, November 2014
  • Source: Purchased
  • Length: 288 pages
  • Tropes: Mail Order Bride, Marriage of Convenience
  • Quick blurb: Mail-order bride marries
  • Quick review: And…I bought the rest of the series.
  • Grade: C-

This one was disappointing, but that’s probably a bit unfair because I read it after Kirst and Williams. The premise and the world-building were great, but the pseudo-suspense plot didn’t work for me at all.

I would have given it a straight C, but I had to add the minus for one very glaring anachronism — a reference to plastic flowers. In 1860 Colorado. Where the h*** was the editor on that one?

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More westerns, for which I apparently have A Thing….

A Lawman’s Christmas and An Outlaw’s Christmas by Linda Lael Miller

  • A Lawman's Christmas by Linda Lael MillerTitles: A Lawman’s Christmas and An Outlaw’s Christmas
  • Author: Linda Lael Miller
  • Series: McKettricks, #14 and #15
  • Published: Harlequin, October 2011 and September 2012
  • Source: Library
  • Length: ~150 pages
  • Tropes: Widows and Orphans, Marriage of Convenience, Schoolmarm, Marriage by Scandal
  • Quick blurb: The marshal’s widow and the new marshal; the schoolmarm and the bad boy
  • Quick review: Oh, dear — my library has eight bajillion Linda Lael Millers. I maxed out my wishlist.
  • Grade: Lawman = B; Outlaw = C

Outlaw was a bit bland, but Lawman was really satisfying.

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The Regencies….

Season for Desire by Theresa Romain

  • Season for Desire by Theresa RomainTitle: Season for Desire
  • Author: Theresa Romain
  • Series: Holiday Pleasures, #4
  • Published: Kensington/Zebra, October 2014
  • Source: NetGalley
  • Length: 145 pages
  • Tropes: Grumpy Hero, Runaway Heroine
  • Quick blurb: A flight-to-Gretna gone wrong, then perfectly right, with some plot shenanigans in between.
  • Quick review: More like this, please.
  • Grade: B+

I read the first in this series a few years ago, and I didn’t remember anything about it. But the blurb for Desire (stranded at a country inn with a grumpy American on a treasure hunt) grabbed me, and I wallowed in every minute of it.

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A few more Regencies:

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The Baloghs and the Putneys

Just read them all. Trust me.

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