Here we are in December. The mad rush of the holidays are upon us. I hope you all enjoyed your Thanksgiving weekend and that you took time to enjoy your family and be thankful for your many blessings. I know I sure did, and that we were especially grateful for good health. I know the holidays can be stressful so don't forget to take some time to unwind and relax with a good book. There is nothing better than a feel good holiday read this time of year, and I have the perfect recommendation. I am thrilled to once again welcome back author Carolyn Brown. If you haven't met Carolyn, sit back you are in for a treat. Carolyn writes sweet, fun and feisty cowboy romances, and this one is terrific for the holidays. I love when Carolyn stops back, she never ceases to make me smile. Let's me Carolyn:
Carolyn Brown is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author and a RITA finalist. Her books include historical, contemporary, cowboys and country music mass market paperbacks. The Blue Ribbon Jalapeño Society Jubilee is her debut woman’s fiction book. Born in Texas and raised in Oklahoma, she refers to herself as a Tex-Okie. She and her husband live in Davis, Oklahoma. They have three grown children and enough grandchildren to keep them young. Find Carolyn on her website,Facebook, and Goodreads.
Here is Carolyn:
Thank you, Heidi, for inviting me to your blog this holiday season. It’s always so much fun to drop by but especially during the season when everything is all pretty and glittery with decorations and the smell of fresh baked gingerbread fills the house. And that makes me think of Verdie’s ginger cookies in Cowboy Boots for Christmas (Cowboy Not Included) and how the children loved her cooking.
The countdown has begun. 24 days until Christmas. Is your shopping done? Do you have everything you need to make cookies, candy and the big Christmas dinner?
Thinking of the holidays reminds me of Finn and Callie’s Christmas on Finn’s new ranch, Salt Draw and of the Christmas that they talk about having in the past when they were in Afghanistan together. Back then as they put up the ugliest tree in the whole world, they never thought that they’d see the day they’d celebrate a Christmas together back in the states. After all, in those days Finn was all but engaged to Lala, a woman from the area and Callie, well, the crush that she’d had on Finn from day one wasn’t ever going anywhere.
An excerpt from the memories of that Christmas in their military days when Finn was a sniper and Callie was his spotter:
Finn scooted his feet toward the fireplace. “Remember when my cousin, Sawyer, sent me the whiskey in a mouthwash bottle?”
A smile played at the corners of her mouth and lifted his spirits. He knew how hard it was to shake off the nightmares.
“We saved it for just the right time,” he said.
She nodded. “And after that Christmas, we figured since we’d missed the turkey, we might as well drink the whiskey.”
“And you got drunk as a skunk. I swear you can’t hold your liquor worth a damn,” Finn said.
“That’s because you let me drink the whole damn thing except for two shots,” she said.
He moved closer so that his feet were against hers. “Well, you were the one bitching about not getting to eat the big turkey dinner, and I was being a gentleman, letting you have all you wanted so you’d be happy. I bet it was even frozen turkey and the gravy was that canned shit.”
“You couldn’t see past Lala in those days, cowboy. I didn’t give a shit about the dinner itself. I just wanted to share it with you,” she said.
“Why didn’t you say something?” he asked.
“You were up in Lala’s brown eyes,” Callie said.
He set his half-empty cup on the coffee table and took hers from her hands and put it beside his. Then he laced his fingers in her hands and leaned in closer, gazing right into her eyes.
“Right now I only see Callie Brewster,” he whispered.
From that declaration to Christmas day they have to deal with a feud that would make the war in Afghanistan look like a Sunday school picnic, some very difficult decisions about foster children and offering Verdie, former owner of Salt Draw, a permanent residence and what seemed like dozens of other obstacles that kept getting in their way. It’s not easy to fall in love with all that going on but where there’s a will there’s a way, even when strays keep showing up and Callie has to keep reminding the women on both sides of the feud that she’s more than Finn’s friend and former spotter. Although she’s fighting it the ranching business, Callie just might be getting a pair of cowboy boots for Christmas after all, and if she does they’d dang sure better come with the cowboy.
Here’s hoping y’all enjoy reading Cowboy Boots for Christmas (Cowboy not Included). Remember to keep your boots on because Sawyer and Jill’s story, The Trouble with Texas Cowboys, will arrive Jan. 6 as the feud continues and gets even hotter.
In celebration of the holidays, I’d love to give away two copies of Cowboy Boots for Christmas (Cowboy not Included). I’ll even let the two winners choose if they’d like to have a signed paperback copy or an ebook copy for their Kindle or Nook (Paperback for U.S. residents only). To be entered in the contest simply tell me your favorite ever Christmas romance novel and fill out the Rafflecopter.
Thank you so much to Carolyn for stopping by on short notice. I can't tell you how much I appreciate her. Carolyn is the best to work with! Carolyn is offering a two chances to win either an ebook copy or paperback copy (U.S. only) of Cowboy Boots for Christmas (Cowboy Not Included). This giveaway is open Internationally. To enter read the Contest Policies and fill out the Rafflecopter. Good Luck!
Here is my review:
Cowboy Boots for Christmas (Cowboy Not Included) by Carolyn Brown
Callie Brewster didn’t figure she’d ever see Finn O’Donnell again when they parted company in Afghanistan.
But when her little brother witnesses a killing, everything changes.
The government says they’ll put him in witness protection, but Callie doesn’t trust anyone to protect her brother—except for Finn O’Donnell.
All Finn wants for Christmas is some peace and quiet on his newly purchased ranch. But he owes Callie Brewster his life, and he always repays a debt.
Now there’s a woman in the house who joined the army to get away from ranching, a boy who is scared of his shadow, and a feud going on amongst the other ranchers.Paperback, 352 pagesPublished October 7th 2014 by Sourcebooks Casablanca
Source: Publisher in Exchange for an honest review.
Four stars: A sweet, feel good holiday story that will make you laugh and cry.
Finn is still trying to reassemble is life after his tour of duty in the military. He has just settled into his new ranch when a surprise pulls up to his door. His former sniper partner, Callie, arrives with her nephew Martin in need of a place to stay for awhile. Callie and Martin are in the witness protection program, and what better place to hide out than a ranch in Texas in a small town? Callie and Finn were solid partners, but neither admitted their attraction to one another. Will love and holiday cheer find its way to Burnt Boot?
What I Liked:
- Without a doubt, Carolyn Brown has become one of my go to authors when I need a fun, feisty romance. Her books have terrific characters, and they never fail to make me smile. I loved that this was a true holiday themed book that incorporates everything you love about the holidays. If you want a lovely holiday book this is one to add to your list.
- The romance is a nice, steady slow burn. Callie and Finn were partners in the military, and they both were attracted to each other, but never acted on their feelings. Now two years after they parted, they are back together, and those sparks of attraction are stronger than ever. I liked that even though there was chemistry, the romance took its sweet time building. It bloomed slowly and sweetly. I liked the way the two fit together and that they healed one another as both Callie and Finn were carrying around baggage from their tours of duty. This romance was just right.
- A Carolyn Brown story isn't complete without animals, adorable children and a feisty old gal to whip everyone in shape. It seems that Finn's ranch becomes the perfect place for strays and before long Finn is taking in abandoned animals: a foul mouthed parrot, a Chihuahua, and an injured kitten. I loved the animals. Then the family grows with the return of Verdie, who becomes the ranch's surrogate grandma. There is still one more addition to this hodge podge group, but I won't spoil it for you, read the book. It is truly heartwarming.
- This is a feel good read perfect for when you need a pick me up or for the holidays. This isn't one of those books that is billed as a holiday book but doesn't fit the bill. Carolyn Brown incorporates snow, holiday parties, Christmas trees, home cooking and generous hearts who show the true spirit of Christmas. Everything you want in a good holiday themed book. Without a doubt the best holiday book I have read this season.
And The Not So Much:
- There was some type of relationship in Finn's past while he was on active duty that prevented he and Callie from getting together. I kept expecting a full reveal of what went down but there are only brief mentions. Something about a girl that Finn dated who turned out to be a spy. I wanted more information on this part of the story.
- The whole witness protection program thing never felt genuine. It isn't a big issue but it felt a bit contrived.
- Burnt Boot is a small town with generations of family. Two of the settling families, the Gallaghers and Brennans, are in a long standing Hatfield and McCoy type feud. While some of the antics were funny, many of them were downright mean, and it took away a bit from the feel good theme of the book. I wasn't a fan of the women slapping and hitting and bad mouthing one another any time any place. I just didn't like the nastiness in my warm and fuzzy holiday read.
Cowboy Boots for Christmas is a charming, sweet holiday read that will melt your heart. It has a slow, satisfying romance built on a long term friendship. Not to mention a well rounded an entertaining cast of characters from cute animals to adorable kids. If you want a warm, fuzzy book perfect for the upcoming holiday season, do yourself a favor and grab a copy of Cowboy Boots for Christmas.
I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own and I was not compensated for this review.