Breaking Down Her Walls by Erin Zak

Julia Finch is running away from life. The destination is 100% unknown. How can you run away totally from your past and self-hatred? She tries like hell too, that is until her beat-up old clunker of a car finally gives up on her journey in a teeny tiny Colorado town. With little money, she has to make a deal to work off her automobile repair debt by lending a hand at a large cattle ranch.

Julia spends her days shoveling manure and bonding with the ranch’s horses. Her immediate connection to these beautiful working animals endures her to the ranch’s owner, Elena Bennett.

Elena Bennett spends her time working her ranch and being perpetually pissed off. Her heart has been broken too many times and she cannot shake off her anger. Her wife was killed in an automobile accident breaking her heart the first time, the second women she trusted with it decided to up and leave her with little warning. Now she’s just angry and a bit broken. When she first meets Julia she is hard bitter and has very little patience for the new ranch hand.

I like the premise of the story. Two characters overcoming past tragedies to find their way to love, trust and respect. For the most part, I enjoyed this book. I will be honest I thought the ex-girlfriend showing back up after her disappearing act was a bit contrived and made to story slow way down and become a bit too contrived. I mean if your ex-lover dumps you with no word, disappears out of town and now you have a new lady you are just pining for you’re going to hang out with said ex when she shows back up. Hell no! Penn showing back up was a monumental waste of reading space. It would have been infinitely better spent on dialogue between the two mains.

Overall a good book that I am happy that I spent some time with.

3 out of 5 stars

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Letter of the Law (Lone Star Law Series, #3) by Carsen Taite

I loved Bianca’s character in Above the Law, so I was super excited to see that she was the headliner for Letter of the Law. Bianca Cruz is a federal prosecutor who works diligently to keep the bad guys off the streets of Dallas. She works hard and when she isn’t saving the world she is the mother to a pre-teen girl. Bianca is spunky, this a ball of energy in a beautiful package has a sharp mind and holds nothing back. If she thinks it you can bet she is going to say it. I’m totally smitten with this character.

Our other main is tall and broody, Jade Vargas. If you have been following this series, you know the name Vargas is synonymous with her two uncles and their crime syndicate currently evading the law. Jade doesn’t associate with her uncles, their business is well known and she stays far away. What she does is spend her time breeding horses.

Bianca and jade run into each other and Jade is less than thrilled to find out about what has been happening back home while she was away on business. She doesn’t want anything to do with her uncles or the federal prosecutors trying to find one. Fiery clashes and lots of chemistry, you betcha!

My only complaint is I wish more time would have been spent just between Bianca and Jade. There is a lot of story, crime wise we are working through and I felt their buildup was a bit cheated. Overall a good story as always by Carsen Taite.

4 out of 5 stars

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Amounting to Nothing (Tacoma Mounted Patrol #3) by Karis Walsh

Karis Walsh is known for quality books. Her characters are likable and well developed, her stories have interesting/realistic dialogue. She is one of my go-to authors for an easy, enjoyable read.

Billie Mitchell is one of the mounted patrol officers for the Tacoma Police Department. As a former soldier, Billie suffers from PTSD from her time in the Middle East. She uses her past to help others as an in-house counselor of sorts. She is readily available for the department to help victims who have experienced trauma and grief. This skill leads her to Merissa Karr.

Merissa has just witnessed a murder. Driving around a less than desirable inner city neighborhood, Merissa and her boss, David were scouting locations for their newest housing development. As Merissa leaned down to pick up a dropped piece of paper, David was shot and killed. Why would a successful architect be murdered for no apparent reason? Billie becomes Merissa’s contact with the TPD, trying to find bits of information that may help uncover the killer’s identity.

This is a mix of mystery and romance. Each part is done with enough balance for the other. As the mystery is uncovered piece by piece, you have the two main characters moving closer together to solve the crime. Their interactions with each other a cute and slowly draw you into the story and hold your attention. The book was slower than expected for a murder mystery, but I found myself enjoying it’s less than frantic pace. The story and the romance build slowly and cautiously. Overall, I really liked this one more than I suspected I would.

4 out of 5 stars

To Purchase: Amounting to Nothing (Mounted)

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Spirit of the Dance by Mardi Alexander

Spirit of the Dance by Mardi Alexander is a wonderful novel. It is well written, well thought out, and has great characters.

Major Sorla Reardon has come back to her to her father’s homestead after serving in Iraq. She is been through hell and back, and has her mind set on bringing her father’s horse and cattle business back to its former glory. Sorla fights her through PTSD and the scars of war to establish a her new life as a civilian.

Riley Johnson runs the local farm supply store. She is the daughter of a former bronc rider, a man who’s glory days have passed and now is a bitter alcoholic. Riley has spent her life on the rodeo circuit, and it has not been easy. She has learned to close off her heart, to protect her self from the abuse of the man who should love her the most. Riley’s life changes the moment she meets Major Sorla Reardon.

I really enjoyed my time with this book. Mardi Alexander covers a lot of tough subjects in this book and she does it well. While each character has emotional and physical issues that they must overcome, you still get that this is a romance. It can be heavy at times, but the author did a good job of not letting these issues overwhelm the book. Both of the main ladies are strong, intelligent women who have had to persevere monumental  obstacles in life. This western is worth your time!

3.25 out of 5 stars

Spirit of the Dance
by Mardi Alexander
Link: http://amzn.com/B018A2PPG8