REVIEW: Marin Thomas’s A COWBOY OF HER OWN, Or Girl Gets to Have It All

Cowboy_of_Her_OwnMarin Thomas’s A Cowboy Of Her Own is the final volume in her Cash Brothers series and it shows. There are plenty of brothers, wives, and babies peopling the narrative, though the first half focuses near-exclusively on the hero, baby brother Porter, and heroine, Wendy Chin. Thomas is a new-to-Miss-Bates category author and she was loathe to read this romance: she’s not keen on entering a series at the end and, frankly, she’s tired of cowboys. Cowboys seem to have taken over from the military, or ex-military heroes that were de rigueur in contemporary romance. (Now that our countries are once again embroiled in various Middle East conflicts, they should reappear.) Nevertheless, there were other deviations from the norm in Thomas’s romance that proved most interesting.

Though it’s a frequently-used trope, opposites-attract is one of Miss B.’s favourites for its potential banter-conflict. In Thomas’s hero and heroine, we have a bad-boy/good-girl pairing; with a Chinese-American heroine, the appeal turned out more original than your generic white-middle-class female protagonist. Thomas manages a nice set-up in the first chapter: “He was more interested in partying and working only when he needed money to fill the gas tank or treat a buckle bunny to a night on the town. Wendy was Porter’s polar opposite. She was a go-getter and a staylater at the job” and “As an only child and a daughter, she felt the weight of her parents’ high expectations of her. The constant pressure to climb the proverbial career ladder was overwhelming.” Add a romance-unusual profession for heroine, insurance adjuster, and a hero who transports cattle from rodeo to rodeo; add a mystery plot involving disappearing valuable cattle and you have a nice combination of narrative threads. When Wendy’s boss asks her to ride-along with Porter to unmask the cattle-rustling culprit, we have, in turn, a road romance. Continue reading

REVIEW: Margaret Brownley’s GUNPOWDER TEA, For What Ails You

Gunpowder TeaMiss Bates is a coffee drinker, the darker the better; and, with a cup, the more likely she’ll compose a post, or stay up late reading … a romance, of course.  Late in the evening, though, when the wind howls and snow hisses against the window panes, she makes a cuppa … and reads a romance novel.  The cuppa is often gunpowder green, its furled leaves popping (hence, gunpowder) to a pleasantly aromatic, mildly-flavored brew.  Miss Bates can say the same for Margaret Brownley’s historical inspirational romance novel, Gunpowder Tea.  Brownley’s romance doesn’t break any molds, or overwhelm.  In places, it brought Saturday-afternoon childhood memories watching old black-and-white Westerns on TV, benign-and-amusing-not-the-Injuns-are-evil kind (on the other hand, this is coloured by the fog of memory ’cause the portrayal of Native Americans, until Dances With Wolves, is a problematic one in the black-and-whites, to say the least).   Continue for more of Miss Bates’s thoughts